I have a few general rules when it comes to building a team in a fantasy hockey keeper league. One of the more important ones is to not plan beyond a two or three year window. You are not building a real NHL club, and too often fantasy hockey poolies place an emphasis on youth and prospects over proven veterans with gas still left in the tank. So using my general rule, take a look at your team(s). Can you realistically say you will have a shot at winning the league at some point within the next two or three seasons? If not, time to scrap the rebuild and start adding proven NHL talent.
Keeping my rule in mind, I have compiled a list of the top 10 keeper league centers to own (assuming standard keeper league rules and scoring categories). Using the two or three season scope, I had to balance proven production with young players on the verge of breaking out. I hope you enjoy!
From a pure talent standpoint, center ice is the deepest position in fantasy hockey. Ryan Ma's latest article does a fantastic job comparing production among the best players at each position. If you didn't check it out a few days ago, make sure you do now! Compiling a list of the 10 best keeper league centers to own was incredibly tough. After the top six, it was wide open. There are both veterans and rookies who didn't make the list this time around, but could very easily slide into the top 10 with a strong 2010-11.
1. Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
Contract: $8.7 million/season, signed through 2012-13
Pittsburgh failed to get a scorer for Crosby to play with last summer, so he decided to become one. He scored 51 goals and recorded 109 points playing with the likes of Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz. Imagine how he'll do if/when Pittsburgh develops or acquires an elite winger for him to play with? Crosby may never hit his upside if he is continually stuck with third line talent on the wings. My three year upside assumes that Pittsburgh is able to add a sidekick for Crosby at some point during that time.
One year upside: 115
Three year upside: 130
2. Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh Penguins