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Top 5 Fantasy Hockey Centers For 2013

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After 113 days of scouring the net trying to find KHL highlights, fantasy hockey fans can finally take solace in the fact that the season is just over a week away. The NHL lockout was a painstaking process that took much longer than originally expected and left many fantasy leagues close to disbanding out of pure boredom.

Regardless of how long it may have taken, we finally have the NHL back and that is all that matters. It does leave many fantasy owners in dire need of rankings and cheat sheets to help prepare for their upcoming drafts, so here is a breakdown of some of the best centers in fantasy.

The center spot was once thought to be merely a position that would rack up assists and add the occasional goal. However, over the last decade centers have become the most dangerous scorers in the game and seem to hit the 40-goal plateau like it was nothing.

The Pittsburgh Penguins appear to have a monopoly on the center position in fantasy leagues, as both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will certainly be top-tier selections. Not many team are lucky enough to have an All-Star center, but to own two just seems downright unfair.

However, there are still some other talented centers that made the list. To help you during your drafts this week, here are the top five fantasy hockey centers for the shortened 2013 season:

Honorable Mention: 10. Henrik Zetterberg ( Detroit Red Wings) 9. Jonathan Toews ( Chicago Blackhawks) 8. Eric Staal ( Carolina Hurricanes) 7. Anze Kopitar ( Los Angeles Kings) 6. John Tavares ( New York Islanders)

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5. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

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Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks - Sedin is the best assist man in the game right now. He has averaged 75 assists per season over his last three years and can utterly dominate the assist category for fantasy owners. However, Sedin has seen his point totals drop each of the past three seasons. He went from 112 points in 2009 to a much more meager 81 points last season, but even with the decline he is still one of the best options in the game, just not the top-3 option he was a couple years ago.

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4. Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators

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Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators - Last season was Spezza’s first time playing at least 80 games since 2008, so his jump in fantasy production certainly did not come out of nowhere. Spezza scored 34 goals last season and added 50 assists, which was his best all-around season since 2007. Spezza is finally taking control of the Sens again, so expect the center to have another stellar fantasy season in 2013.

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3. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

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Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins - Crosby has averaged a jaw-dropping 1.4 points a game over his illustrious seven–year career. However, his recent concussion problems surround him with controversy again this fantasy season. Sid the Kid may finally be back on his feet this season, but the team will surely be conservative with him in the foreseeable future. Crosby will still be an elite fantasy center to grab this year, but it will certainly come with some risk.

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2. Steve Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

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Steve Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning - Stamkos has amazingly racked up 90 points in three consecutive seasons and has become one of the new faces at the center position. He also has not missed a single game in three straight years, which is unthinkable for a hockey player nowadays. He may not be the elite scorer that Malkin is, but Stamkos will easily put 90 points again in 2013.

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1. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

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Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins - In his first season out of Sidney Crosby’s shadow Malkin exploded. He finished the year with an NHL best 109 points, along with scoring 50 goals and 59 helpers. Malkin also was tearing it up in the KHL during the extended lockout, as he racked up 23 goals, 42 assists, and a league-high1.57 points per contest. Malkin is the premier player in hockey right now, so naturally he is the best fantasy hockey option as well.