In an era of hockey obsessed with puck control and dissected with puck-possession metrics, it stands to reason that winning a faceoff is a key component to gaining said puck. But flying in the face of that logic is the fact the past three Stanley Cup champions finished 13th, 28th and 15th in team faceoff efficiency. Go figure.
That goes to show you having a one-two center tandem at the top of your depth chart like Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin or Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom can go a long way towards moving the puck in a positive direction, even if they’re not the best on draws. In ranking each team’s crop of centers, Pittsburgh’s pair plus reliable bottom six and secondary options kept it at No. 1. Toronto’s top-three heavy pivots came in a close sec...
About the Author
Brian Costello joined The Hockey News in 1990 when the likes of Bruce Boudreau, Randy Carlyle and Joel Quenneville were players, not coaches. Costello covered major junior hockey for five seasons before getting called up to THN. He likes to focus his attention on pre- and post-NHL careers, following closely the progress of the draft, up-and-coming prospects and fancying himself a Hall of Fame expert.