Your center, be they on the first line or fourth line, are always your second most important player on the ice – with the most important being your goaltender – so it is vital to have skilled players at center on each line. From goal scoring centers like Sidney Crosby to defensive centers like Patrice Bergeron, all centers offer something different, but which ones should you have in your team?
In this guide, we will show you how to execute faceoffs, who the best centers are, the best centers for faceoffs, and who contribute to the faceoff boosting synergy.
Everyone looks for different skill sets, or rather playing styles, in their centers. Some prefer ones who can score, others want the centers to be assisting the wingers, and some want their center to be defensive. On each player card, you see a three letter code which indicates the player’s playing style. With centers there are four that occur throughout the top players, and another that some of the lesser centers possess.
First is PLY or Playmaker, these will act in a way which benefits them getting the puck and moving it to a more desired scorer, as well as having some scoring ability themselves.
TWF or Two-way Forwards are your more defensive centers, ones who will position themselves well at both ends of the ice.
SNP or Snipers are the ones more primed to scoring goals and will get into space that puts them in better scoring positions.
PWF or Power Forwards work well all over the ice but peak in physicality.
GRN or Grinder is a non-existent class within the elite centers, but is on one of the better faceoff men, who you will read about later on in this guide. Grinders are all about defence and physicality.
Whilst you will most likely want one of your centers to be a Sniper to boost your scoring, you will need high calibre faceoff winners, if not in all four lines, in at least three. The center is the man who wins you possession, and you can’t score without possession.
On NHL 18, a player’s faceoff skill is determined by their poise and faceoff stats combined. Whilst a player like Evgeni Malkin may have an overall of 90, his faceoff ability is nowhere near that of Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, or even Brian Boyle. Whilst your skill in the duel will be the most influential factor to you winning in the faceoff circle, you will want the huge advantage that some players can give you.
So here are the top centers in the game, ranked by their faceoff ability.
A quick way to beef-up your faceoffs through the lines would be to invest in Paul Gaustad for Line 4, Mikko Koivu for Line 3, Ryan Kesler for Line 2 and Jordan Staal for Line 1. It would only cost a few thousand coins (three or four games worth of winnings) to get these four in and give you a huge advantage in the faceoff circle. Then, eventually, you can upgrade to the faceoff gods like Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews and Ryan Getzlaf.
The only synergy on NHL 18 Hockey Ultimate Team that boosts both faceoffs and poise is Faceoff Master (FM). Others like Passing Playmaker (PP) and Tape to Tape (TT) also boost poise, but only Faceoff Master boosts the faceoffs stat.
There aren’t any coaches cards that contribute to Faceoff Master, as they only contribute to team synergies, so if you want to unlock the added plus four to your team’s faceoffs and poise stats, you’ll need to account for four points worth of Faceoff Master players in your team.
As you would expect, those possessing the Faceoff Master synergy are mostly centers, but there are a few wingers who also help make up the numbers. Here’s a chart of the only players that you’d really consider having on NHL 17 HUT team who have the Faceoff Master (FM) synergy.
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