For the second consecutive year, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been ranked as the second and third best centermen in the NHL, according to NHL Network’s Top 20 Centers Right Now listing.
NHL Network’s Tony Luftman, E.J. Hradek and Mike Johnson counted down the best centers based on player performance over the past several seasons, with an emphasis on the 2017-2018 season. The ranking also weighted players’ projected performance in the 2018-2019 season, taking into account those returning from injury and expectant breakout seasons from young players.
Here’s what the folks on NHL Network had to say about Pittsburgh’s two-headed monster:
On last night’s countdown, Hradek said of Crosby, “Sidney Crosby does everything. That’s why it’s hard to put him behind anybody, because you want him in all facets of the game. …Face-offs, he started his career he wasn’t very good, he worked at it, now he’s one of the best face-off men in the National Hockey League. He took the second most face-offs in the league last year and he won a good share of them.”
On Malkin, Johnson added, “He is as talented as any player there is in the league and he plays with Sidney Crosby so some people might want to criticize [him], but we start looking at points per 60 [minutes], yeah, he’s first. He’s number one in the league, he’s just so, so good. …The most talented player I’ve ever been on the ice with.”
NHL Network’s Top 20 Centers Right Now, 1-20:
1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
4. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
5. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
6. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
7. Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets
8. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
9. Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
10. John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs
11. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
12. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals
13. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
14. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
15. Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
16. Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders
17. William Karlsson, Vegas Golden Knights
18. Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers
19. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
20. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
Throughout the 2018 offseason, NHL Network will be ranking the top players across the National Hockey League in five countdown series, starting with its lists of the best position players: Top 20 Centers Right Now, Top 20 Defensemen Right Now, Top 20 Wings Right Now and Top 10 Goalies Right Now. The player rankings will culminate with NHL Network’s five-part series Top 50 Players Right Now, beginning Sunday, September 2.
Following the completion of each show, viewers are encouraged to visit NHL.com/TopPlayers for videos on the latest rankings and submit a list for the next position by voting on NHL Network’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages using #NHLTopPlayers. All #NHLTopPlayers votes are incorporated into an overall fan-generated countdown in each episode.
The schedule for NHL Network’s countdown series is listed below:
NHL Network Countdown Series
|Sunday, August 12||Top 20 Defensemen Right Now||7:00 p.m.|
|Sunday, August 19||Top 20 Wings Right Now||7:00 p.m.|
|Sunday, August 26||Top 10 Goalies Right Now||7:00 p.m.|
|Sunday, September 2||Top 50 Players Right Now: 50-41||7:00 p.m.|
|Sunday, September 9||Top 50 Players Right Now: 40-31||7:00 p.m.|
|Sunday, September 16||Top 50 Players Right Now: 30-21||7:00 p.m.|
|Sunday, September 23||Top 50 Players Right Now: 20-11||7:00 p.m.|
|Sunday, September 30||Top 50 Players Right Now: 10-1||7:00 p.m.|
Another year, another list that highlights the greatness of both Sid and Geno.