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Top centers in NHL 17 ranked by their faceoff ability

EA Sports’ award-winning hockey video game franchise returns in just a few weeks when “NHL 17” hits stores Tuesday, Sept. 13. Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues is the cover athlete, and he’s the second-highest-rated right winger in the game behind reigning Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane. Everyone looks for different skill sets, or rather playing styles, in their centers. Some prefer ones who can score, others want the centers to be assisting the wingers, and some want their center to be defensive. On each player card, you see a three letter code which indicates the player’s playing style. With centers there are four that occur throughout the top players, and another that some of the lesser centers possess.
 
NHL 17 is the 26th instalment in EA’s puck-slapping series, and the third edition on current-gen machines after the series launched for PS4 and Xbox One with NHL 15. New modes include the eight-team World Cup Of Hockey and Draft Champions – a fantasy spin-off of Ultimate Team. As well as the returning ‘HUT’, franchise mode gets revamped, with team owners and relocation now among its major features. On the AI side, improved physics and player intelligence are two major priorities of dev team EA Canada.   
 
So here are the top centers in the game, ranked by their faceoff ability:
Player Name Overall  Faceoff Skill  Poise Skill  Ranks
Patrice Bergeron 92 95 90 1
Jonathan Toews 89 89 95 2 
Ryan Getzlaf 89 89 903
Jordan Staal 87 88 90 4
Ryan Kesler 87 90 87 5
Paul Gaustad 79 90 85 6
Joe Thornton 88 90 85 6
Claude Giroux 88 88 85 8
Mikko Koivu 86 87 85 9
Anze Kopitar 90 82 90 9
Pavel Datsyuk 89 82 90 9
Nicklas Backstrom 88 84 88 9
Sidney Crosby 92 80 91 13
Tyler Seguin 90 86 85 13
Matt Duchene 89 86 85 13
Henrik Zetterberg 88 80 90 16
David Krejci 88 82 87 17
David Backes 87 84 84 18
Steven Stamkos 90 78 90 18
John Tavares 90 82 85 20
Henrik Sedin 87 80 87 20
Jason Spezza 87 82 85 20
Ryan O'Reilly 87 82 85 20
Martin Hanzal 86 87 80 20
Jeff Carter 88 81 85 25
Brandon Dubinksy 86 81 85 25
Sean Monahan 87 79 84 27
Brian Boyle 83 83 80 27
Ryan Johansen 88 81 80 29
Evgeny Kuznetsov 88 74 85 30
Tyler Johnson 86 78 80 31
Evgeni Malkin 90 72 85 32
Nick Bjugstad 86 76 80 33
Mika Zibanejad 86 79 75 34
Sean Couturier 86 77 75 35
Jack Eichel 87 77 75 35
Connor McDavid 88 75 75 37
Dylan Larkin 86 75 75 37
 
Whilst you will most likely want one of your centers to be a Sniper to boost your scoring, you will need high calibre faceoff winners, if not in all four lines, in at least three. The center is the man who wins you possession, and you can’t score without possession. A quick way to beef-up your faceoffs through the lines would be to invest in Paul Gaustad for Line 4, Mikko Koivu for Line 3, Ryan Kesler for Line 2 and Jordan Staal for Line 1. It would only cost a few thousand coins (three or four games worth of winnings) to get these four in and give you a huge advantage in the faceoff circle.
 
Then, eventually, you can upgrade to the faceoff gods like Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews and Ryan Getzlaf. On NHL 17, a player’s faceoff skill is determined by their poise and faceoff stats combined. Whilst a player like Evgeni Malkin may have an overall of 90, his faceoff ability is nowhere near that of Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, or even Brian Boyle. Whilst your skill in the duel will be the most influential factor to you winning in the faceoff circle, you will want the huge advantage that some players can give you.