Evaluating top UFA Centers and why you don’t want Bozak
Unfortunately I didn’t have as much time this week as I had hoped to do a full evaluation of unrestricted free agent centers like I did for wingers but it is free agent day and there was some big news regarding centers yesterday with the buy out of Grabovski so I thought I’d throw a little something together where I look at some offensive statistics of some of the top centers available. Let me start off by presenting you with the summary table.
The numbers above are 5v5 numbers over the past 3 seasons and the players are sorted by Pts/60. I threw in Lecavalier because he was a UFA for a brief period of time and is at more or less the same level as the others. I included Bozak to highlight just how much he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the group.
- G/60 = Goals per 60 minutes of ice time.
- A/60 = Assists per 60 minutes of ice time
- Pts/60 = Points per 60 minutes of ice time.
- IPP = Individual Points Percentage, or the percentage of goals scored while on ice that the player had a point on.
- GF20-TMGF20 = How much better are his team mates on-ice goal stats when playing with him than without.
- FF20-TMFF20 = How much better are his team mates on-ice shot generation when playing with him than without.
- OZBias = OZ Starts*2 + NZStarts and gives an indication of the players usage.
List sorted by G/60: Grabovski, Lecavalier, Filppula, Weiss, Ribeiro, Roy, Bozak
List sorted by A/60: Ribeiro, Filppula, Lecavalier, Roy, Grabovski, Weiss, Bozak
List sorted by Pts/60: Ribeiro, Filppula, Lecavalier, Grabovski, Roy, Weiss, Bozak
List sorted by IPP: Ribeiro, Filppula, Lecavalier, Roy, Weiss, Grabovski, Bozak
List sorted by GF20-TMGF20: Grabovski, Lecavalier, Filppula, Ribeiro, Weiss, Roy, Bozak
List sorted by FF20-TMFF20: Grabovski, Roy, Lecavalier, Bozak, Ribeiro, Weiss, Filppula
Some comments on each player:
Mike Ribeiro: Easily the best play maker of the group and is most consistently involved in the play.
Valterri Filppula: Better goal scorer than Ribeiro but not as good as a play maker as Ribeiro but better than the rest.
Vincent Lecavalier: Similar to Filppula in value but better at the possession game.
Mikhail Grabovski: Not a great play maker but a good finisher and good at driving shot generation indicating he is probably good at puck retrieval.
Derek Roy: Kind of a poor mans Ribeiro but much less valuable.
Stephen Weiss: More of a poor mans Lecavalier. Easily had the worst line mates of the group and might do better in a different situation.
Tyler Bozak: Weak at goal scoring, bad at play making, not involved in the play and a drag on his team mates goal production. Not anywhere close to the same league as the others (and maybe be better suited for a different league too).
For me, Ribeiro is probably the best of the group in terms of pure offense because of his elite play making ability. Grabovski and Lecavalier are a little more balanced with better scoring and puck retrieval skills while Filppula is pretty solid all round as well and has the flexibility of being used as either a center or a winger (which is valuable if locking in long-term). It’s difficult to compare Weiss to the rest because he simply hasn’t had near as good of line mates but it is probably safe to say he’d be a bit of a step down from Grabovski, Lecavalier or Filppula. Roy, on the other hand, would definitely be a step back but still a decent consolation prize if on a lower priced contract with shorter term. Definitely not anything more than a #2 center though.
As for Bozak, well, you simply don’t want him on your team. Maybe not at any price no matter what the bargain basement price is. I have tried and tried but I just can’t find any redeeming qualities for him outside of his ability to win face offs which has limited value. There simply is no reason why you would want to play him on any of your top 3 lines. None.
Being a Leaf fan and unable to keep Grabovski, my preference would be Ribeiro or Filppula but might be willing to take a chance on Weiss if the contract was right. Ribeiro’s play making skills with the Leafs wingers should be a good combination and Filppula is a good all round player who could shift to wing down if needed. Weiss seems like a solid 2-way player who might be able to step up his game with better line mates which he’d get with the Leafs. If they sign Bozak, I am not sure what I’ll do. It’ll be a sad day.