Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy centers in our weekly segment: "Center Stage." From updated center rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy center expert all season long.
With the All-Star festivities behind us and fantasy hockey playoffs inching nearer for those of you in head-to-head leagues, it's time to get back into the swing of things with our weekly "Center Stage" feature that covers everything related to fantasy hockey centers.
And who better to lead with than Islanders center John Tavares, who was just announced earlier today as the No. 1 star for January. In fact, Tavares has been so unbelievably good lately that he is the only player we're going to talk about as our "Trending Upward" player. Usually we discuss three guys, but Tavares has been good enough to equal three players in January.
Tavares was drafted in Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues with an average pick of 55.5 coming into the season. He is currently rated as the 12th most valuable fantasy player, with Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux and Steven Stamkos being the only other centers rated higher. On the season his stat line looks like this: 22 G, 53 points (4th in NHL), plus-4, 14 PIMs, 16 PPP and 184 SOG (4th in NHL). His January was quite remarkable.