McDavid, then who? The NHL’s best centers right now, according to players and execs


There’s a reason the top 10 centers are the final list we publish in the NHL Positional Rankings.

It’s the most star-studded group of players in any of these lists. One could do a top 30 of only NHL centers and still have significant snubs.

So imagine how many there are when the list is limited to the 10 best centers.

Just to calm your fears: Connor McDavid did, in fact, make the cut.

Welcome to the final results from the 2024 NHL Positional Rankings, a unique way to determine the best of the best. Some surveys ask players for their rankings. Others poll executives. The NHL Positional Rankings combine both opinions into one definitive list that blends on-ice savvy with boardroom thinking.

Here’s how it worked: Surveys were conducted over the past month. Respondents were asked to rank their current top 10 players at center, winger, defenseman and goaltender based on a predetermined list of the top 30-40 players at each position. Players ranked on each ballot were given a numerical score — No. 1 earned 10 points, No. 2 got 9 points and so on.

Ten NHL players were surveyed — four from the Eastern Conference, six from the Western Conference. They range from NHL award nominees to veteran role players. To balance that perspective, we surveyed 10 people from the hockey operations departments of NHL teams — six from the East, four from the West — including two coaches and three general managers.

Combined, their insights led to rankings that go behind fan conjecture and media narratives to reveal the best of the best, according to those inside the NHL.

Stats are collected from sites such as Natural Stat Trick, Hockey Reference and Evolving Hockey.

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