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Vulgar Statistics: The 2011-2012 NHL’s Best All Around Players – Centers


For no particular reason, the other day I decided to try and figure out who holds the title of the year’s best all around center.  Before you say Sidney Crosby, remember that being a good center means actually being on the ice.  While Crosby is without a doubt the best center in the league in terms of talent, he’s also hurt.  So I set out to find that mythical ideal center and in the fashion of this column decided that my quest would be best undertaken by ranking the top 50 scoring centers in a variety of categories and taking the sum.

So I asked myself, what are the things a good center needs to do?

  • Score goals, tally assists, and put up points – If you need an explanation for this…
  • Have a good +/- – While I realize it isn’t the best stat in the short term, it does filter out good and bad offensive and defensive players over a period of time.
  • Log a lot of icetime in general, and on special teams – Remember, this is a search for the best all around center…so they need to be good in every area.
  • Take a lot of faceoffs – because being good means you’re out on the ice when your team needs to win a key draw.
  • And win them – because Eric Staal’s league leading number of faceoffs taken means nothing if he’s going to win them at 46%.
  • Compile a good ratio of giveaways to takeaways – because good centers play smart.

Without further ado, the list that is too massive to ever fit on this page.  As I said, I took the top 50 centers in points, ranked them in the above categories, and then took the summation of that ranking.  One name stood out above the rest: Jonathan Toews.  Toews is literally bad at nothing.  His worst skill, power play icetime, was still 20th, and that’s less a function of him, and more a function of his coach, and the uber-talented players on his team that can make up an excellent second unit.

Most Surprising Name at the Top – Stephen Weiss.  Not so much for me because I follow hockey for a hobby, but for all the other people that are going wait…there are good hockey players in Florida?  Weiss is a guy I’ve wanted the Sabres to make a move on for a long time.  Florida probably isn’t hearing offers though.

Most Surprising Name at the Bottom – Vincent Lecavalier.  I think we all need to admit that Lecavalier is now a shadow of his former self and move on.

Least Surprising Name at the Bottom – All the young/rookie players (Adam, Wilson, Smith, Skinner (who I believe plays wing anyways), Seguin), and Derek Roy and Tim Connolly.  Because when you think “all around player,” you think…not of Derek Roy and Tim Connolly.

Final Thoughts:

This was fun, let’s do it for the other positions!  Stay tuned.



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