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The Top 100 Centres in the NHL

August 4, 2022, 12:36 PM ET [254 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

The centre line has been an issue for the Habs for so long that’s it’s almost become a running joke at this point. For a while there, Habs thought they were good to go with Danault, Suzuki, Kotkaniemi and Evans but that core was blown up by an offseason from hell. Now, it looks like the Canadiens will be going with Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach, Christian Dvorak and Jake Evans for this season and some people seem to be rather optimistic about that cohort.

On his Sick Podcast yesterday, former TSN 690 host Tony Marinaro discussed the result of a few surveys put out by EP Rinkside Hockey including one ranking the top 100 centres in the league. According to these results, the Canadiens have 3 centres in this list. Nick Suzuki comes in at 32, Kirby Dach at 67 and Christian Dvorak at 72. To be honest, I believe that assessment is overly optimistic.

I think Suzuki being 32nd overall is about right since he’s yet to take his game to the next level that would make him a “real” first line centre. He still has work to do to play a consistent game that would allow him to be always efficient at both end of the ice. Last year, his offensive game benefited greatly by Marty St-Louis’ arrival but that came at the expense of his defensive game.

Dach at 67 is a big reach for me. Yes, the potential is there, if you look at the scouting report from his draft year, you can kind of see it, but his body of work since then doesn’t quite back it up. His development has been hindered by both injuries and the fact that the Hawks haven’t exactly been a safe heaven to play in lately, but the player has got to be held accountable at some point. It’s time for Dach to prove himself and until he does, he’s not deserving of that rank.

Finally, Dvorak did play a lot better in the tail end of last season but I’m not sure that will be sustainable in time. At the risk of repeating myself, he was acquired as a panic band-aid after losing both Danault and KK and it shows. Perhaps some stability with the coaching this season will allow him to be his best self, but until then I think some of the guys below him on the list deserve to be ahead.

As always when this type of exercise is conducted, you can be sure that a lot of Canadiens’ fans took part in that survey and fans aren’t exactly always impartial, still it’s interesting to see what people think.

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