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2009-10 NHL Center Rankings

By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In the final installment of our 2009-10 hockey awards we evaluate the center position.

He's been a top-three fantasy player since he arrived in Pittsburgh and this year was no different for our 2009-10 TSN Fantasy Center of the Year - Sidney Crosby. Picked No.3 behind winger Alex Ovechkin and Penguins teammate Evgeni Malkin in most drafts, Crosby outplayed Malkin this season. Then in a battle between Crosby and Ovechkin's center, Nicklas Backstrom, Crosby barely edged him for the big prize. Crosby finished the season with 109 points, the fourth time in five years that he has cracked the century mark.

In a piece about the NBA a couple of days ago, I mentioned the phrase "out of sight, out of mind." That's what made Dallas center Brad Richards this year's "Best Bargain Award" winner. He was coming off a 56-game, 48-point season in 2008-09 mainly due to wrist and hand injuries and because of that nobody paid attention to him on Draft Day. That was a mistake. As an 18th-round selection (ADP 210), Richards easily surpassed all expectations and finished the year as the seventh-leading scorer (91 points). Throw in 40 power play points and 284 shots and you have a very valuable commodity.

Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk had posted 97 points in each of his last two seasons and much was expected in 2009-10 as a No.10 overall pick. Unfortunately, he didn't deliver, dropping in all six fantasy categories and "earning" this year's "Most Disappointing Award."

2010 Center Ranking

Rank..Player.............Team....G....A..+/-..PIM..PPP...SOG...ADP

1)....Sidney Crosby.......PIT...51...58...15...71...34...298.....3

2)....Nicklas Backstrom...WAS...33...68...37...50...37...222....22

3)....Henrik Sedin........VAN...29...83...35...48...27...166....86

4)....Steven Stamkos.......TB...51...44...-2...38...41...297....89

5)....Brad Richards.......DAL...24...67..-12...14...40...284...210

6)....Patrick Marleau......SJ...44...39...21...22...25...274....42

7)....Evgeni Malkin.......PIT...28...49...-6..100...28...268.....2

8)....Anze Kopitar.........LA...34...47....6...16...38...259....76

9)....Ryan Kesler.........VAN...25...50....1..104...26...214...207

10)...Joe Thornton.........SJ...20...69...17...54...29...141....41

11)...Eric Staal..........CAR...29...41....4...68...23...277....25

12)...Henrik Zetterberg...DET...23...47...12...26...22...309....12

13)...Mike Richards.......PHI...31...31...-2...79...31...237....27

14)...Jonathan Toews......CHI...25...43...22...47...22...202....35

15)...Jeff Carter.........PHI...33...28....2...38...22...319.....7

16)...Mikko Koivu.........MIN...22...49...-2...50...28...246...111

17)...Vincent Lecavalier...TB...24...46..-16...63...25...295....20

18)...Paul Stastny........COL...20...59....2...50...25...199...200

19)...Tomas Plekanec......MON...25...45....5...50...24...216...209

20)...Derek Roy...........BUF...26...43....9...48...25...215....63

06/08 14:59:38 ET


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