NHL 21: Top Faceoff Centers

Need to get your skaters on the puck more often? Grab one of the best faceoff centers in NHL 21 to bring you more success in the duel.

Faceoffs are an integral part of the sport of ice hockey, with possession-based strategies becoming fundamental to the top teams of the NHL.

In NHL 21, you’re given a diverse set of controls to win each faceoff. However, even if your technique isn’t the best in the circle, having one of the top faceoff centers in the game can help you to win more faceoffs.

Winning the puck regardless of which line you have on the ice is crucial to your success. So, here are the best faceoff centers in NHL 21, ranging from top-line forwards to reliable bottom-six pivots.

Choosing the best faceoff centers in NHL 21

In order to find the best faceoff centers in NHL 21, we narrowed down the search to forwards with attribute ratings of at least 85 faceoffs and 80 poise – calculating the average of the two to find each player’s faceoff score.

On this page, you can see each of the top-five faceoff centers featured, as well as a full list of all of the top faceoff centers in NHL 21 at the foot of the article.

Patrice Bergeron (Faceoff Score: 94.5)

Age: 35
Overall Rating: 91
Faceoffs/Poise: 94/95
Player Type: Two-Way Forward
Team: Boston Bruins
Shoots: Right
Best Attributes: 95 Poise, 95 Defensive Awareness, 95 Stick Checking

Now 35-years-old, Patrice Bergeron remains the prime example of a two-way center in the NHL. During the shortened 2019/20 campaign, the Canadian managed to score 31 goals to compliment his 15.27 shooting percentage and 57.9 faceoff percentage through 61 games.

During the Boston Bruins’ 13-game playoff run last season, the right-shot pivot won 56.1 per cent of his 321 faceoffs, and also laid down 15 hits, blocked 17 shots, and held a team-high +2 rating.  

In NHL 21, Bergeron ranks as the top faceoff center in the game by a narrow margin. His 95 poise and 94 faceoffs, however, are just a glimpse of the workhorse’s best attributes.

Being the complete two-way forward, the veteran comes in with 94 offensive awareness, 95 defensive awareness, 95 stick checking, 92 passing, 92 puck control, and 88 strength.

Jonathan Toews (Faceoff Score: 94.0)

Age: 32
Overall Rating: 87
Faceoffs/Poise: 93/95
Player Type: Two-Way Forward
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 95 Poise, 93 Stick Checking, 93 Defensive Awareness

Jonathan Toews has already featured in over 900 games for the Chicago Blackhawks, with his 815 points, +193 career regular season rating, and 56.9 faceoff win percentage proving that he’s been world-class since entering the league in 2007.

Already a three-time Stanley Cup-winning captain, Toews has plenty more to give at 32-years-old, but is presently a central component of the Blackhawks’ big rebuild. Even so, the Winnipeg-native managed to amass 60 points in 70 games last season.

Toews’ overall rating has taken a hit in recent editions of the EA Sports franchise, now sitting with an 87 overall rating. Still, his faceoffs ability remains very strong, thanks to his 93 faceoffs and 95 poise.

The former third-overall selection is a great contender away from the puck drop, too, as demonstrated by Toews’ 93 stick checking, 93 defensive awareness, 90 endurance, 89 durability, 87 strength, and 88 hand-eye.

Sidney Crosby (Faceoff Score: 93.0)

Age: 33
Overall Rating: 93
Faceoffs/Poise: 91/95
Player Type: Playmaker
Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 95 Stick Checking, 95 Passing, 95 Offensive Awareness

For the fifth time in his storied career, Sidney Crosby was forced to work his way back from a long-term injury in 2019/20, but still managed to rank third in points for the seventh-placed Pittsburgh Penguins.

Despite his injury troubles, Crosby continued to prove himself as one of the best centers in the NHL, scoring 47 points and holding a 55.6 faceoff win percentage through 41 games.

While ‘The Next One’ takes the crown, Crosby is one of the highest-rated centers in NHL 21: it just so happens that his strongest attribute ratings include his 91 faceoffs and 95 poise.

Unlike most of the top faceoff centers, the Penguins captain is a playmaker. So, along with his superb defensive ratings, Crosby is also an excellent player to have around the goal, as shown by his 95 passing, 94 puck control, 94 deking, 94 hand-eye, 93 wrist shot accuracy, and 91 slap shot accuracy.

Ryan O’Reilly (Faceoff Score: 92.5)

Age: 29
Overall Rating: 89
Faceoffs/Poise: 95/90
Player Type: Two-Way Forward
Team: St. Louis Blues
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 95 Discipline, 95 Faceoffs, 93 Defensive Awareness

Ryan O’Reilly has firmly established himself as one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL, while also having a knack for making goal-scoring plays. Last season, he led the St. Louis Blues with 61 points in 71 games.

Where the Stanley Cup winner is at his most dominant, however, is in the faceoff circle. Still only 29-years-old, O’Reilly won 56.6 per cent of his 1,556 faceoffs in the regular season and held a 62.7 faceoff win percentage in the playoffs.

Of the top faceoff centers in NHL 21, the Clinton-born forward boasts the highest pure faceoffs rating at 95, which is joined by his lofty 90 poise.

In defence is where O’Reilly shines, with his 93 defensive awareness, 89 shot blocking, 93 stick checking, 89 strength, 86 body checking, and 95 discipline putting him up there with some of the game’s best blueliners.

Anže Kopitar (Faceoff Score: 90.0)

Age: 33
Overall Rating: 90
Faceoffs/Poise: 90/90
Player Type: Two-Way Forward
Team: Los Angeles Kings
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 93 Stick Checking, 92 Defensive Awareness, 92 Slap Shot Power

With two Stanley Cup trophies to his name already, Anže Kopitar is presently in the middle of a rebuild with the Los Angeles Kings.

Now, the veteran’s focus will turn to helping nurture the already-mighty Quinton Byfield, leading by example if he emulates his team-best effort of last season – which included 62 points, a 15.56 shooting percentage, 56 blocked shots, and a 55.2 faceoff win percentage.

Tied with Claude Giroux for his 90.0 faceoff score, Kopitar ranks higher as a top faceoff center thanks to his 90 overall rating to Giroux’s 88 overall rating.

Despite being one of the best faceoff centers in NHL 21, the Slovenian’s 90 faceoffs and 90 poise aren’t his highest-rated attributes. Instead, it’s his 91 passing, 91 puck control, 92 defensive awareness, 93 stick checking, 92 slap shot power, and 92 wrist shot power that show Kopitar’s strengths.

All of the top faceoff centers in NHL 21

In the table below, you can see all of the best faceoff centers in NHL 21, sorted by their faceoff score. Each forward classed as a top faceoff center has attribute ratings of at least 80 poise and 85 faceoffs.

NameFaceoff ScoreOverallShootsPlayer TypeAgeTeamBest Attributes
Patrice Bergeron94.591RightTwo-Way Forward35Boston Bruins95 Defensive Awareness, 95 Poise, 95 Stick Checking
Jonathan Toews94.087LeftTwo-Way Forward32Chicago Blackhawks95 Poise, 93 Faceoffs, 93 Stick Checking
Sidney Crosby93.093LeftPlaymaker33Pittsburgh Penguins95 Poise, 95 Passing, 95 Stick Checking
Ryan O’Reilly92.589LeftTwo-Way Forward29St. Louis Blues95 Faceoffs, 95 Discipline, 93 Stick Checking
Anže Kopitar90.090LeftTwo-Way Forward33Los Angeles Kings93 Stick Checking, 92 Defensive Awareness, 92 Slap Shot Power
Claude Giroux90.088RightPlaymaker32Philadelphia Flyers94 Passing, 94 Puck Control, 93 Deking
Aleksander Barkov88.590LeftTwo-Way Forward25Florida Panthers94 Puck Control, 93 Passing, 93 Offensive Awareness
Jordan Staal88.083LeftTwo-Way Forward32Carolina Hurricanes91 Faceoffs, 90 Defensive Awareness, 90 Balance
Sean Couturier87.588LeftTwo-Way Forward27Philadelphia Flyers92 Defensive Awareness, 91 Stick Checking, 91 Endurance
Bo Horvat87.586LeftTwo-Way Forward25Vancouver Canucks91 Stick Checking, 90 Faceoffs, 89 Endurance
Ryan Getzlaf87.585RightPower Forward35Anaheim Ducks92 Strength, 92 Balance, 90 Poise
Travis Zajac87.080RightTwo-Way Forward35New Jersey Devils94 Faceoffs, 89 Endurance, 86 Agility
Dylan Larkin86.588LeftPlaymaker24Detroit Red Wings94 Acceleration, 93 Speed, 92 Offensive Awareness
Nazem Kadri86.585LeftTwo-Way Forward29Colorado Avalanche90 Aggressiveness, 88 Deking, 88 Speed
John Tavares86.089LeftSniper29Toronto Maple Leafs93 Deking, 93 Passing, 93 Puck Control
Matt Duchene86.087LeftPlaymaker29Nashville Predators94 Speed, 93 Acceleration, 93 Agility
Mikko Koivu86.083LeftTwo-Way Forward37Columbus Blue Jackets89 Balance, 89 Strength, 88 Endurance
Tyler Seguin85.589RightPlaymaker28Dallas Stars94 Passing, 93 Deking, 93 Puck Control
Paul Stastny85.583LeftPlaymaker34Winnipeg Jets90 Discipline, 89 Stick Checking, 88 Passing
J.T. Miller85.086LeftTwo-Way Forward27Vancouver Canucks89 Stick Checking, 89 Offensive Awareness, 88 Passing
Phillip Danault85.084LeftTwo-Way Forward27Montreal Canadiens90 Faceoffs, 89 Defensive Awareness, 88 Stick Checking
Adam Lowry85.080LeftTwo-Way Forward27Winnipeg Jets90 Faceoffs, 89 Body Checking, 89 Strength
Jason Spezza83.580RightPlaymaker37Toronto Maple Leafs88 Durability, 87 Faceoffs, 87 Strength
Luke Glendening83.579RightTwo-Way Forward31Detroit Red Wings88 Speed, 87 Stick Checking, 87 Faceoffs
Brad Richardson83.578LeftTwo-Way Forward35Nashville Predators88 Stick Checking, 87 Faceoffs, 86 Endurance
Derek Ryan83.080RightPlaymaker33Calgary Flames89 Durability, 88 Deking, 87 Speed
Jay Beagle83.079RightTwo-Way Forward34Vancouver Canucks90 Discipline, 87 Stick Checking, 87 Strength
Brandon Dubinsky82.579LeftTwo-Way Forward34Columbus Blue Jackets88 Aggressiveness, 88 Body Checking, 87 Balance

If you want to be more dominant in the duel, acquire a couple of the top faceoff centers in NHL 21 to play on your lines.

Want to learn more about playing NHL 21?

NHL 21: Complete Controls Guide (Goalie, Faceoffs, Offense, and Defense) for PS4 and Xbox One

NHL 21: Complete Deke Guide, Tutorial, and Tips

NHL 21: Best and Worst Teams to Use and Rebuild

NHL 21: How to Fight and Win

NHL 21 Ratings: Best Enforcers

NHL 21 Draft: Best Prospects and Top Draft Steals 2021

NHL 21 Draft: Best Prospects and Top Draft Steals 2022

NHL 21 Franchise Mode: Best Young Players

NHL 21: Top Centers

NHL 21: All Team Ratings

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Ben Chopping

Will give almost any game a chance, particularly those that include wildlife, monsters, or prehistoric creatures of any kind.

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