“There aren’t a lot of bona fide [No. 2 centers] but there are plenty of No. 3’s that are out there.”
That’s one NHL scout’s assessment of the UFA landscape for centermen this off-season. While the Pittsburgh Penguins are probably not in the market for a center, they could be if the Seattle Kraken plunder their roster for Jeff Carter or Teddy Blueger.
Our dear colleague in San Jose, Sheng Peng, pumped three NHL scouts for their take on 18 UFA centers. Under the condition of anonymity, the scouts gave us a taste of what their reports to their respective teams showed. Some of the centers grade very well.
Others, not as well as you’d think. That’s the value of getting real NHL scouting reports.
“A good third-line center,” another NHL scout opined, “you have to be able to take the other guy’s game away.”
The Scouts shared their findings on some of the top-tier UFA candidates for a 3C role. The full list of players we inquired about includes David Krejci, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Phillip Danault, Mikael Granlund, Alex Wennberg, Nick Foligno, Erik Haula, Tyler Bozak, Nick Bonino, Barclay Goodrow, Paul Stastny, Ryan Getzlaf, Carl Soderberg, Derick Brassard, Derek Stepan, Travis Zajac, Derek Ryan, and Brandon Sutter.
Today, we’re focusing on former Pittsburgh Penguins pivot Nick Bonino, Paul Stastny, often rumored Penguins trade target Eric Haula, Ryan Getzlaf, Tyler Bozak, and Barclay Goodrow.