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Scott Pianowski

Shuffle Up and Deal: Sorting through the centers

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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Tonight we take an audit of every fantasy-viable center skating in North America. The stats to this point are merely an audition; this list is what I'd use for a new draft that starts right now. Bring your intelligent disagreement to the comments, we'll fleece it out together. (Anyone carrying center eligibility in the Yahoo! game was considered for this exercise, and Y! default scoring is assumed.)

1. Sidney Crosby(notes)
2. Henrik Sedin(notes)
3. Evgeni Malkin(notes)
4. Patrick Marleau(notes)
5. Nicklas Backstrom(notes)
6. Jeff Carter(notes)
7. Joe Thornton(notes)
8. Mike Richards(notes)
9. Eric Staal(notes)
10. Ryan Getzlaf(notes)
11. Pavel Datsyuk(notes)
12. Tim Connolly(notes)
13. Jonathan Toews(notes)
14. Steven Stamkos(notes)
15. Anze Kopitar(notes)
16. Henrik Zetterberg(notes)

Comments: No knife fights over the guys at the 2-4 slots, you could rank them in any order and it wouldn't look out of place. Marleau probably won't be in this area next year but sometimes you have to ride the wave of a career year and not question it. … I was tempted to go even lower on the Red Wings, especially Zetterberg. Not that this team can't rally now that key people are healthy, but Zetterberg for the last year and a half has been just another really good offensive player, not quite a dominant one. …The Buffalo sporting community could use a break (sorry about Chan Gailey). With that in mind, here's hoping Connolly can stay healthy and continue his growth into stardom. … It's a hell of a time to be a Chicago hockey fan; set their Stanley Cup over/under for the new decade at 1.5.

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17. Vincent Lecavalier(notes)
18. Ryan Kesler(notes)
19. Marc Savard(notes)
20. Danny Briere(notes)
21. Brad Richards(notes)
22. Brooks Laich(notes)
23. Olli Jokinen(notes)
24. Nathan Horton(notes)
25. Patrik Elias(notes)
26. Mikko Koivu(notes)
27. Paul Stastny(notes)
28. Jordan Staal(notes)
29. Travis Zajac(notes)
30. Mike Fisher(notes)
31. R.J. Umberger(notes)
32. Patrick Sharp(notes)

Comments: Looks like Fisher is over the engagement blues, or more specifically, he's back to producing now that some key teammates are healthy. … Another big-shot year for Richards but the puck goes in so infrequently. His shooting percentage has been below 10 percent the last six seasons. … Sharp is one of those guys who will always be more valuable to his real-life club than he is to the fantasy public. … Stastny's old man is the answer to one of my favorite hockey trivia nuggets; let's play Jeopardy, what's the question?

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33. Derek Roy(notes)
34. Joe Pavelski(notes)
35. John Tavares(notes)
36. Alex Steen(notes)
37. Nik Antropov(notes)
38. Tomas Plekanec(notes)
39. Patrice Bergeron(notes)
40. Antoine Vermette(notes)
41. David Krejci(notes)
42. Brandon Dubinsky(notes)
43. Jochen Hecht(notes)
44. Matt Cullen(notes)
45. Scott Gomez(notes)
46. Matt Duchene(notes)
47. Mike Ribeiro(notes)
48. Rich Peverley(notes)
49. Steve Ott(notes)
50. Daymond Langkow(notes)
51. Stephen Weiss(notes)
52. Chris Drury(notes)

Comments: Untimely injuries have stepped in the way of Bergeron becoming a star, but at some point you have to shrug and admit that health is a skill to some extent. … Antropov's having a sneaky season but no one wants to see what happens to this offense if Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) leaves. … Tavares' production has fallen off of late but he's had a shot spike in January, a positive sign. … Every time I get a chance to watch Steen, he does something to impress. … Hey, didn't you used to be Chris Drury?

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53. Matt Stajan(notes)
54. Andy McDonald(notes)
55. Jarret Stoll(notes)
56. Michael Frolik(notes)
57. Jason Arnott(notes)
58. Steven Reinprecht(notes)
59. Rob Schremp(notes)
60. Josh Bailey(notes)
61. Zenon Konopka(notes)
62. Brendan Morrison(notes)
63. Saku Koivu(notes)
64. Shawn Horcoff(notes)
65. Eric Belanger(notes)
66. Sam Gagner(notes)
67. T.J. Oshie(notes)

That's how I see them right now, let's get a look at your clipboard.

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