The NHL Network recently released their top 20 NHL centers currently playing. There are a number of surprises, but perhaps the most head scratching of them all, came from the Kings spot on the list.
Top 20 NHL Centers
One such program recently ranked the top 20 centers currently in the league. Conor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers took home the top spot. After all, McDavid led the league in scoring for the second year in a row and is considered one the best players in the league.
What was surprising about the list was that the Los Angeles Kings’ Anze Kopitar was sixth. We certainly don’t want to be the sort of publication that screams East Coast Bias every time we don’t agree with some thing. However, that may be a possibility here.
Anze Kopitar’s Stellar Season
It’s quite astounding how a player who finished in the top three in the Hart Tropy, and who won the Selke Award, isn’t a top five center.
Maybe the network just doesn’t have televisions that go past St. Louis, or perhaps, more likely, Anze Kopitar remains is among the most underrated.
The Kings returned to the playoffs this past season and it there was little question as to who the best player was on the roster. Kopitar became the first Kings player to tally 90 points since Wayne Gretzky did it in 1994.
Also, with the loss of Jeff Carter early in the season due to injury, Kopitar carried a large load on offense. He was one of the league leaders when it came to percentage of goals that he accounted for either an assist or goal. Even then, that did not stop him from still being the best defensive center in the game.
Though Kopitar was recognized for his efforts with the top three finish in the Hart Trophy voting, it seems few in the league recognize how great he truly is.
Kopitar has emerged as a leader on his team and selflessly puts himself on the ice in all different situations. If the Kings’ center is not leading the offensive charge, he goes back checking on defense, quarterbacking the power play, or killing off penalties.
To leave Kopitar out of the top five in centers just further cements the bias towards West Coast hockey. The NHL needs to start recognizing his play because he will be remembered as one of their top stars for years to come.