NHL Power Rankings: Top 25 Centers Entering 2017-18

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Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images /
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Who are the best centers in the NHL? Here’s a list of the top 25 entering the 2017-18 season.

The NHL is the greatest hockey league in the world. But let’s face it, in everything, someone is better than someone else. Everyone has a different opinion of who the best centers in the league are. That’s because people tend to have differing qualifications for what makes a great center. Everyone has their favorite center and are fully convinced the center in question is elite.

However, not everyone can be a top 25 center. There’s only room for 25 centers on that exclusive list. Even if only one center per team made the list, that still leaves six teams unrepresented. Entering the 2017-18 season, 25 centers have separated themselves from everyone else.

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This list is not just about who was great for one season. Past seasons will be taken into consideration as well. Longer sample sizes will generally get the nod over shorter ones, though if a shorter one is more impressive, exceptions will be made.

Qualifications for this list are as follows. I took scoring into consideration. Goals were weighed more heavily than assists because goals are more meaningful than assists. Points per game matter too because players can’t control injuries. Possession numbers matter a lot as well. There’s more to being a center than just putting up points. Being strong defensively matters a lot too.

Before the list begins, let’s take a look at some of the honorable mentions. Mikael Granlund of the Minnesota Wild was left off the list for the same reason. Ditto with Alex Galchenyuk. But if the quartet were centers, they would have been on my list, no question. Sean Monahan and Claude Giroux were the last true centers left off the list and it broke my heart to leave them off. Vincent Trocheck and Sean Couturier were darn close as well.