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NHL 17 Hockey Ultimate Team: Best centers and faceoff guide

Find the best overall NHL 17 HUT centers, for faceoffs and boosting synergy along with learning how to win faceoffs. 


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.

Faceoffs tutorial

In the short video below, how to perform the various types of faceoff on your controller is shown. Personally, I find the most success in lining up backhanded (which the video will show), as it tends to defeat the more commonly used forehand in an even duel.

Best centers

USA Canada World Cup of Hockey Crosby Stepan NHL 17 HUT faceoffs

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. 

So here’s a breakdown of the highest rated centers on NHL 17 Hockey Ultimate Team, per their respective playing styles.

Playmakers (PLY): Sidney Crosby (92), Evgeni Malkin (90), Tyler Seguin (90), Pavel Datsyuk (89), Matt Duchene (89), David Krejci (88), Joe Thornton (88), Henrik Zetterberg (88), Nicklas Backstrom (88), Claude Grioux (88), Ryan Johansen (88), Evgeny Kuznetsov (88), Connor McDavid (88), Henrik Sedin (87), Jason Spezza (87), Jack Eichel (87).

Two-way forwards (TWF): Anze Kopitar (90), Jonathan Toews (89), Patrice Bergeron (88), Jordan Staal (87), Ryan Kesler (87), Ryan O’Reilly (87), Sean Monahan (87).

Snipers (SNP): Steven Stamkos (90), John Tavares (90), Jeff Carter (88).

Power forwards (PWF): Ryan Getzlaf (89), David Backes (87).

Best faceoff centers

Mikko Koivu Finland faceoff NHL 17

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 17, 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.

Player NameOverallFaceoff SkillPoise SkillRanking
Patrice Bergeron9295901
Jonathan Toews8989952
Ryan Getzlaf8989903
Jordan Staal8788904
Ryan Kesler8790875
Paul Gaustad7990856
Joe Thornton8890856
Claude Giroux8888858
Mikko Koivu8687859
Anze Kopitar9082909
Pavel Datsyuk8982909
Nicklas Backstrom8884889
Sidney Crosby92809113
Tyler Seguin90868513
Matt Duchene89868513
Henrik Zetterberg88809016
David Krejci88828717
David Backes87848418
Steven Stamkos90789018
John Tavares90828520
Henrik Sedin87808720
Jason Spezza87828520
Ryan O’Reilly87828520
Martin Hanzal86878020
Jeff Carter88818525
Brandon Dubinksy86818525
Sean Monahan87798427
Brian Boyle83838027
Ryan Johansen88818029
Evgeny Kuznetsov88748530
Tyler Johnson86788031
Evgeni Malkin90728532
Nick Bjugstad86768033
Mika Zibanejad86797534
Sean Couturier86777535
Jack Eichel87777535
Connor McDavid88757537
Dylan Larkin86757537

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.

Boosting Synergy

NHL 17 HUT faceoffs

The only synergy on NHL 17 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.

Player NamePositionOverallFaceoff SkillPoise Skill
Jordan StaalCenter878890
Mikko KoivuCenter868785
Sean MonahanCenter877984
Carl SoderbergCenter857880
Tyler BozakCenter858380
Peter HollandCenter837575
Travis ZajacCenter858380
Gregory CampbellCenter828485
Tomas PlekanecCenter858185
Mike FisherCenter858185
Mark LetusuCenter838575
Brad RichardsonCenter847980
Matt StajanCenter798080
Josh BaileyLeft Wing84
Richard PanikRight Wing83
Vernon FiddlerRight Wing82
Patrik BerglundRight Wing85
Tommy WingelsRight Wing82

So, two of the cheap options highlighted earlier – Mikko Koivu and Jordan Staal – contribute half of the quota to increasing to whole team’s faceoff and poise stats as well. When you unlock the Faceoff Master, Jordan Staal rises to a 92 in faceoffs and a 94 in poise – making him a very strong option in any line-up.

We hope this guide helped you with your NHL 17 Hockey Ultimate Team, let us know if you have any other tips in the comments below.

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NHL 17 Hockey Ultimate Team: Best centers and faceoff guide

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