Yahoo! Sports came out with their list of the NHL’s Top 25 Centers heading into the 2015-'16 campaign. Anze Kopitar
is positioned at #7.
#11 in your programs, #1 in your hearts.
Kopitar has been a staple in the Kings’ lineup since he made his NHL debut in a Los Angeles uniform on October 6, 2006 – the year after Dean Lombardi drafted the Slovenian 11th overall in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
In his Rookie season, Kopitar was third in the Kings’ roster with 61 points. Following his first NHL season, Kopitar has led the Kings in scoring in each of the past eight years, eclipsing the 60-point mark each time with exception to the lockout-shortened 2012-’13 campaign.
Yahoo! Sports’ Sam McCraig recently came out with a list of the top 25 NHL players at each position heading into the 2015-’16 campaign.
“A two-way force with few peers.”
Kopitar has solidified himself as an extremely solid two-way player, consistently dependable in the defensive zone – and most notably among casual fans and viewers – the Kings’ offensive zone.
Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Quick shared his thoughts on his teammate earlier in the week in a piece he wrote for The Players’ Tribune:
“Kopi is, in my opinion, the best two-way center in the league. The first thing you notice with Kopitar is how incredibly smooth he is in all facets of the game. I’ve never seen a big guy be that effortless on skates. He makes it look easy, which is maybe why he’s underrated in a sense. You hear a lot about hustle and battle and speed when people talk about hockey, but NHL players will tell you, if they’re being honest, that you have to be smart about the moments when you go all-out. The guy you see out there chopping his skates 100 mph might look great for 30 seconds, but if he’s on the bench sucking air for the next five shifts, it does your team no good. In a 60 minute game, you have to conserve your energy by being sound positionally and then pick your spots to turn on the jets or else you’re going to be wasted by the third period. Anze is brilliant at this. His hockey I.Q. is off the charts.”
Kopitar is coming off of a 64-point season in which he scored 16 goals and registered 48 assists. He will be coming off of his first full off-season in six years when he joins the rest of the Kings’ roster for Training Camp in September.
You can see the complete list of Yahoo!’s Top 25 Centermen list heading into the 2015-’16 list HERE