The centers are often the most skilled player on a hockey team. Centers are also the leaders of a forward line. Centers have to be smart and must read and anticipate the opposing team. Centers are typically the best passers on the ice.
Centers take faceoffs, create offense, and play an important role in the defensive zone and the breakout. If there is a very good player on the opposing team, the top center may be tasked with shadowing the other team's star player.
Centers play a large role both offensively and defensively in ice hockey. They are largely responsible for monitoring center ice when the puck is in the attacking zone and defensive zone.
The center accomplishes the roles and responsibilities by constantly shifting and changing his position on the ice based on the location of the puck.
When in the attacking zone, centers typically have a fair amount of freedom to improvise. While centers typically position themselves in the middle of the ice, some tend to drift toward the boards and even behind the net creating offensive opportunities to score.
Like in the attacking zone, center ice is typically the center's primary area where he is stationed defensively.
A good center is determined by stats like Face-off Percentage (FO PCT), Goals (G), Assists (A), and Shots on Goal (S)
The following lists some of the top centers in the National Hockey League by team:
|Mario Lemieux||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Wayne Gretzky||Indianapolis Racers, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers|
|Steve Yzerman||Detroit Red Wings|
|Mark Messier||New York Rangers|
|Sidney Crosby||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Connor McDavid||Edmonton Oilers|
|Steven Stamkos||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Patrice Bergeron||Boston Bruins|