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Fantasy face-off wins draft guide for 2018-19

Crosby arguably top center in specific format; O'Reilly brings specialty to Blues; Duchene late-round commodity

by Brett Amadon / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com identifies 15 forwards worth targeting in fantasy hockey leagues that count face-off wins, a customizable category in Yahoo. These players, in addition to their upside in other categories, have performed well in face-off efficiency and volume. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy.

NOTE: All face-off percentages are minimum 250 attempts, unless otherwise noted.

 

ELITE OPTIONS

Patrice Bergeron, BOS - The Boston Bruins center ranked eighth in NHL at 57.3 percent last season, 12th in wins (784) despite only playing in 64 games because of injury and has led the NHL in percentage twice (2012-13, 2014-15).

Sidney Crosby, PIT - The Pittsburgh Penguins center bounced back last season (53.02 percent) compared to 2016-17 (48.17 percent, second lowest of NHL career). He ranked second in face-off attempts (1,935) and wins (1,026) and has been extremely consistent over the years; since 2009-10, he ranks third in face-off attempts (13,133) and fifth in wins (6,869).

Claude Giroux, C/LW, PHI - The Philadelphia Flyers forward moved to wing last season but still took 1,088 face-offs and was fourth in NHL (58.6 percent, career high). He has won 54.7 percent of his career face-offs and at least 600 every season since 2011-12.

Anze Kopitar, LAK - The Los Angeles Kings center won 54.1 percent of his face-offs last season, ranked third in NHL in face-off attempts (1,816) and wins (983) and has won at least 52 percent of his face-offs in each of the past seven seasons.

Tyler Seguin, DAL - The Dallas Stars center won 54.86 percent of his face-offs last season and finished 12th in attempts (1,440) and 11th in wins (790), nearly doubling his face-off total from the previous season (786).

 

BARGAINS

Aleksander Barkov, FLA - The Florida Panthers center ranked fifth in face-off attempts (1,697) and wins (908), and his percentage was over 50 percent (53.51) for the first time in his five NHL seasons.

Leon Draisaitl, C/RW, EDM - The Edmonton Oilers forward took a big step in face-offs last season, finishing 12th in win percentage (56.1) after ranking 87th (48.97) in 2016-17. He played on the Oilers' second line but led them in face-off attempts (1,198).

Sean Monahan, CGY - The Calgary Flames center had his third consecutive season winning at least 50 percent (50.39) of his face-offs. He led Calgary in face-off attempts while shorthanded (230) and was second to teammate Mikael Backlund in power-play face-offs (87).

Ryan O'Reilly, STL - He finished second in the NHL with a career-best face-off win percentage (59.98) and was first in attempts and wins with the Buffalo Sabres last season. He joins the St. Louis Blues, where he can be the No. 1 center on a line with elite right wing Vladimir Tarasenko. O'Reilly ranks seventh among active players in face-off percentage (55.1) since entering the NHL in 2009-10.

Vincent Trocheck, FLA - The Panthers center had a career-best face-off win percentage (54.09) last season and ranked sixth in NHL in face-off attempts (1,577; won 853). Has increased his win percentage in each of his five NHL seasons and gives the Florida one of the best center duos in the League.

 

LATE ROUNDS

Matt Duchene, OTT - The Ottawa Senators center had a 52.9 face-off percentage last season after leading the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche in 2016-17 (62.57). He ranked fourth in 2015-16 (57.92), indicating he could be among the League leaders again with Ottawa over a full season.

Ryan Johansen, NSH - The Nashville Predators center won an NHL career-high 55.44 percent of face-offs last season. In his two full seasons with Nashville, Johansen ranks 11th in the NHL in wins (1613) and has a 55.0 percentage.

Paul Stastny, VGK - The Vegas Golden Knights center ranked 10th in NHL in face-off attempts (1,515) and eighth in wins (832). He has won at least 54 percent of his face-offs since 2013-14, and his win percentage (55.4) since 2011-12 ranks eighth among active players (min. 2,000 attempts).

Eric Staal, MIN - The Minnesota Wild center ranked second on the team in face-offs (1,115) behind Mikko Koivu (1,575). His career face-off win percentage is only 47.9, but he has shown improvement since 2011-12 (51.7).

Jonathan Toews, CHI - The Chicago Blackhawks center won 57.95 percent of his face-offs last season, seventh in the NHL. His career percentage is 56.9, and he's ranked among the top 10 in six of the past seven seasons.

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