August 29, 2008

Fantasy Hockey Pre-Draft Rankings: Top 10 Centers

As fantasy hockey season nears it is time to get one's draft plan in order. In an effort to help you all out with that, I will be breaking down the top 10 players at each position over the next few weeks. We will start today with the Center position. I will be ranking my top 10 centers for the coming fantasy season here. Each player's stats from the 2007-08 season are in parenthesis (GP-G-A-PTS-PIM).
  1. Sidney Crosby (53-24-48-72-39) Sid may no longer be "The Kid", but he is still arguably the best player in the NHL and should lead the league in scoring if he stays healthy. He will likely have the most talented wingers in his career this season (for the duration of an entire season) and his continued development and desire to win should put him at the top of the class for NHL centers.
  2. Vincent Lecavalier (81-40-52-92-89) I think Vinny is going to have a big year this season. Lecavalier is going to have plenty of offensive talent around him and the Lightning are going to have to try and put up a lot of goals every night to give their lackluster defense a fighting chance. Plus, if we learned anything from new Head Coach Barry Melrose's time in Los Angeles it is that he likes to give his stars special treatment, which should lead to plenty of offensive opportunities for Lecavalier.
  3. Evgeni Malkin (82-47-59-106-78) There is still an air of uncertainty surrounding Evgeni Malkin, and that is why he is "only" number three on this list. If I thought Geno was going to play most of the season at the level he played while Crosby was out last season then he may have been at the top of this list. As it is, I'm just not sure what to expect from Geno this year. He could end up with anywhere from 80 to 130 points this season and it would not really shock me.
  4. Jason Spezza (76-34-58-92-66) Looking past some of his post-season shortcomings (which do not apply here at all) makes ranking Spezza a lot easier. He has developed a rep as being injury prone which will probably cause him to slide a little in most drafts. At the end of the day though Spezza is one of the best young players in the NHL and centers arguably the best line in hockey. As long as he can keep his Games Missed total to single-digits Spezza is a nice addition to any fantasy roster and is worthy of an early second-round pick for anyone who didn't nab Crosby in the first round.
  5. Joe Thornton (82-29-67-96-59) You do not hear a lot about Joe Thornton these days, but he is still one of the best in the business and can be a cornerstone to a winning fantasy roster. Thornton will not be much help in the goal column, but he is money in all other categories and could easily be slotted ahead of Spezza on this list.
  6. Pavel Datsyuk (82-31-66-97-20) Datsyuk is another guy who compares quite favorably to Spezza and Thornton and is really the last World Class center on this list. The only real knock on Datsyuk is that he won't give you much in the way of PIMs, but his awesome +/- will go a long way towards balancing that out. The only question mark here is if the Wings will suffer a Stanley Cup hangover.
  7. Eric Staal (82-38-44-82-50) The next four guys are pretty close together in terms of production. Eric Staal gets the edge for a couple reasons. First, he is the biggest goal scoring threat of the four, and when push comes to shove goals are more valuable than assists, especially at the center position. The second big factor to me is that the Southeast Division looks to be built on offense this season. There should be a lot of high scoring games between all the Southeast rivals in 08-09 and that can only help the fantasy value of a guy like Staal.
  8. Ryan Getzlaf (77-24-58-82-94) Ryan Getzlaf may be the most well-rounded player on this list from a fantasy point of view. Of the ten players listed here it is no stretch to think that he could end up with the most PIM and the highest +/- by season's end. Things like that have to figure into your decision making process when trying to evaluate players who look to hold similar value at first glance. The Ducks may struggle as a team to find offense again this season, but Getzlaf should not be a victim of that.
  9. Mike Richards (73-28-47-75-76) Mike Richards has turned into the player the Flyers thought they were getting when they signed Daniel Briere and then some. Many people expect Richards to assume the captaincy in Philly this season, but he doesn't come across as the kind of guy who would let that impact his production in a negative way. Of the bottom five guys on this list, Richards may be the one with the biggest chance of cracking the top five by the end of the year. He definitely has 100-point potential.
  10. Derek Roy (78-32-49-81-46) Derek Roy was quietly one of hockey's hottest scorers over the second half of last season. While the Sabres still appear to be in rebuilding mode, Roy could prove to be a very valuable asset to fantasy owners and would be a nice addition to any player looking to pick up a center in the third or fourth round of their draft.
On a somewhat related note, I have a new post up at my usual home Taking One For The Team where I am looking for anyone who is interested in participating in my fantasy hockey league(s) and/or for people who want to be on my NHL 09 EASHL team. If either of those things interest you then you can get more info here. 'Til next time...

Chris Yarbrough the GFH Fantasy Guru for the 2008-09 season. You can read more from Chris on his own blogs, Taking One for the Team and The Flower Shop.

Ballhype: hype it up!

1 comment:

maxim61cg said...

fantasy hockey is back up on yahoo!