NHL Positional Rankings: Ranking the league's top 10 centers right now
So who is the NHL’s best player? Is it Connor McDavid, or is it his left wing Leon Draisaitl? The argument may go on all season and there really is no right or wrong answer, but there’s no question that McDavid is at the top of the center heap in the NHL right now. He’s on pace for over 50 goals and 150 points, and his efforts combined with those of Draisaitl have finally elevated the Oilers from the doldrums of the last few seasons and instead has pushed them toward the top of the Pacific Division. Guys like Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews and Aleksander Barkov are great in their own right, but they are not in the generational class of a guy like McDavid at his tender young age.
Meanwhile older, veteran two-way types like Patrice Bergeron and Anze Kopitar still rank among the league’s best, though they're less inclined to put up ridiculous video game numbers while paying attention to the small details that have helped them win Stanley Cups.
Either way, there are some excellent, quality centers out there in the NHL right now as attested to by the names of this list.
10. Anze Kopitar
Kopitar kicks off our Top 10 list right now. The four-time All-Star has seven goals and 22 points in 21 games as a 200-foot player who's routinely in the conversation for the Selke Trophy.
9. Evgeny Kuznetsov
Ten goals and 22 points along with a plus-7 for the main setup guy with the Capitals, speaking to a pretty good trigger man making it happen for a resurgent Washington crew.
8. William Karlsson
The top Vegas center has eight goals and 23 points in 23 games, including four shorthanded points this season. So watch out for Karlsson on the penalty kill, everybody.
7. Patrice Bergeron
The 16-year vet is still a point-per-game player, with 19 points in 19 games along with his suffocating defense, and was still trucking along as the best center on the NHL’s best line until he suffered a lower body injury last weekend.
6. Jack Eichel
Eichel is right up there with 25 points in 21 games and has done a great job of leading Buffalo off to a pretty good start this season relatively speaking, and has been generating tons of offense with 76 shots on net so far this season.
5. Elias Pettersson
The second-year Canucks center has 17 assists in 22 games and has been a prolific playmaker for Vancouver after a slow start to the season.
4. Aleksander Barkov
Barkov has the offense with the seven goals and 27 points and he’s got the two-way play while still remaining out of the negative plus/minus despite some real Florida struggles defensively this season.
3. Auston Matthews
14 goals, 27 points and a plus-7 rating in 23 games are impressive numbers across the board, but it still feels like there is something missing with Matthews and the Maple Leafs this season.
2. Nathan MacKinnon
The Hart Trophy-level center dominates on one of the best lines in the NHL with 31 points in 21 games this season. Amazingly, MacKinnon has also only committed one minor penalty thus far this season.