Free washer | Is Nick Suzuki a number one center?

Is Nick Suzuki a number one center? For many, the Canadian center would be relegated to the second position on a majority of teams. Is this really the case?

We have tracked the performance of the 32 number one centers in the National Hockey League so far. For the sake of clarity, we’ve prorated their production to an 82-game season.

There will obviously always be line changes during a season. We tried to be faithful to long-term trends. The situation is unclear in Arizona, for example, with Nick Schmaltz being bounced from center to wing this season. Jack McBain currently occupies this position, but we chose Schmaltz over him due to his longevity at this position and better offensive output.

Marco Rossi is ahead of Joel Eriksson-Ek in the pecking order in Minnesota right now, as is Leo Carlsson ahead of Mason MacTavish in Anaheim, but we chose Eriksson-Ek and MacTavish for the same reasons.

  • 1- Nathan MacKinnon, 28 years old, Colorado, 137 points
  • 2- Connor McDavid, 27 years old, Edmonton, 127 points
  • 3- Jack Hughes, 22 years old, New Jersey, 115 points
  • 4- Elias Pettersson, 25 years old, Vancouver, 107 points
  • 5- Auston Matthews, 26 years old, Toronto, 103 points
  • 6- Sebastian Aho, 26 years old, Caroline, 98 points
  • 7- Brayden Point, 27, Tampa Bay, 89 points
  • 7- Aleksander Barkov, 28 years old, Florida, 89 points
  • 7- Sidney Crosby, 36 years old, Pittsburgh, 89 points
  • 10- Robert Thomas, 24 years old, St. Louis, 87 points
  • 11- Dylan Larkin, 27 years old, Detroit, 88 points
  • 12- Jack Eichel, 27 years old, Vegas, 86 points
  • 13- Tim Stützle, 22 years old, Ottawa, 82 points
  • 14- Mark Scheifele, 30 years old, Winnipeg, 80 points
  • 14- Roope Hintz, 27, Dallas, 80 points
  • 16- Mika Zibanejad, 30 years old, NY Rangers, 79 points
  • 17- Bo Horvat, 28 years old, NY Islanders, 75 points
  • 18- Nick Suzuki, 24 years old, Montreal, 74 points
  • 19- Charlie Coyle, 31, Boston, 71 points
  • 20- Anze Kopitar, 36 years old, Los Angeles, 70 points
  • 21- Connor Bedard, 18, Chicago, 69 points
  • 21- Nazem Kadri, 33, Calgary, 69 points
  • 23- Ryan O’Reilly, 33, Nashville, 68 points
  • 24- Joel Eriksson-Ek, 27, Minnesota, 65 points
  • 25- Mason McTavish, 21, Anaheim, 59 points
  • 25- Jared McCann, 27, Seattle, 59 points
  • 25- Tage Thompson, 26, Buffalo, 59 points
  • 26- Tomas Hertl, 30 years old, San Jose, 58 points
  • 27- Dylan Strome, 26, Washington, 56 points
  • 28- Sean Couturier, 31 years old, Philadelphia, 54 points
  • 31- Nick Schmaltz, 27, Arizona, 53 points
  • 32- Boone Jenner, 30, Columbus, 42 points

The findings? At this rate, only five will reach the mark of 100 points or more: MacKinnon, McDavid, Hughes, Pettersson and Matthews.

The average age of the NHL’s number one centers is 26 years old. Seven of the top eight scorers are aged 26 to 28, with the exception of Jack Hughes. There are only six number one centers under the age of 25: Jack Hughes, Robert Thomas, Tim Stützle, Nick Suzuki, Connor Bedard and Mason MacTavish.

Suzuki is on pace for a career-high 74 points after seasons of 61 and 66 points. Since mid-January however, he has produced at a higher rate, 13 points in 12 games. This performance gives hope for a season of 75 points.

No Canadian center has scored 75 points since Saku Koivu in 2007. No Canadian center has scored more than 75 points since Vincent Damphousse… in 1997.

Suzuki is obviously still far from elite centers in terms of offensive production. But he is not among the worst despite his young age. He is in the middle of the pack, with Mark Scheifele, Roope Hintz, Mika Zibanejad, Bo Horvat, Anze Kopitar and Charlie Coyle, all older than him in fact.

This young man obtained from the Vegas Golden Knights for Max Pacioretty is not yet a dominant number one center – will he one day? –, but it would be wrong to claim that he does not represent a number one center. Kirby Dach’s return to health next year could help better balance the attack.

Successful baptism for Elias Lindholm


Elias Lindholm

In his first game with the Canucks, Elias Lindholm, acquired from the Calgary Flames last week for Andrei Kuzmenko, a first-round pick and two prospects, scored two goals on Tuesday and Vancouver beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3- 2.

Lindholm, a career center, played center for compatriot Elias Pettersson. JT Miller and Brock Boeser formed the other offensive pair. “There are too many good players here, that made my job easy,” he commented to journalists after the match.

Head coach Rick Tocchet obviously saw something other than his goals. “Did you notice his blocked shot at the end? When we watch the game again on video tomorrow, we’ll see all his smart plays. He had an incredible match. »


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