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Posted - 01/27/2011 :  14:18:43  Reply with Quote
To most hockey fans, David Steckel is best known (at least most recently) as the player who collided with Sidney Crosby a few weeks ago, rendering Crosby dazed and concussed.

Steckell should be better known for something else he does on the ice, and something he does better than anyone else in the NHL. And that's winning faceoffs. Steckel currently sits in top spot in the NHL with a faceoff winning percentage of 64.6%, which is very close to Yanic Perrault's best season where he had a faceoff winning percentage of 65.2%.

Perrault was a master at winning faceoffs, where he was the top guy in the league for an incredible seven years in a row. (2000-01 - 2006-07.) He averaged 62.7% over that time, never dipping below 60% over seven seasons.

Steckel established himself in his first full season in the NHL (2006-07), where he finished 7th overall in winning faceoffs (56.3%), and he has improved each year since. He was 5th overall in 2008-09 (57.9%) and 2nd overall in 2009-10 (59.2%).

He may not take as many faceoffs as most centremen, but this has more to do with Washington's depth chart than anything else. If it's late in the game and Washington is clinging to a lead, Steckel is their guy. (By the way, Eric Staal is currently leading the league in number of faceoffs taken at 1069, but his winning percentage is 45.7%.)

While Steckel's prowess in the faceoff circle is indisputable, there's certainly some doubt about Steckel's effectiveness as an offensive player. He has good size (6'5" - 217 lbs.), but he's averaged only 16 points a season the past three seasons, and with 9 points so far this season, he's on pace for another 16 point season.
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