Very rarely do we mostly agree. I could nit pick but quite frankly I'm just gonna go with it.... Well other than this nuke lol.
Ummmm.... Actually the stats nerds are starting to argue with that too. Crosby has been declining you know. He is obviously still hella good though.
2,3,4 are not centers, they are wingers.
And even Marchand there is 31.
Which kind of defeats what you want to prove there.
There is also more to playing than points. Bergeron is not a points guy. But he's a guy you still want on the dot when it counts and his line is highly successful because of him.
It's not a question of when a player peeks. Its a question of are they still better not at peek than everyone else around them.
Crosby is well past his peek, everyone knows that. But a past peek Crosby is still better than what 29 or 28 teams have at center.
Then you consider he's still playing the best competition. He'll easily be able to whip the snot out of a 3C at this point in his career. So you can say he can probably play till he's 35-36 all be it in smaller roles as a 3C at some point.
I think there are a few things that make a player last longer. Size, like thornton, Chara or Jagr. It's just a huge natural advantage with their athleticism. I would have loved a 34 year old Chara on a team, and so would you. At 40+ it's a bit different but that's unreal age for a hockey player. Hand eye co-ordination. That's how you end up with a Crosby or Bergeron. Lastly speed. Which applies to all players. This is the factor that usually drives great players out. They no longer have the legs. They slide down playing slower players till eventually they can't even keep up with them. Which is why a player like Chara is basically done. Thornton plays a 3C role now, and eventually Crosby and Bergeron will be doing the same.
But at their age that's all those players have to work on, every off season. They can get a little lighter, extend it out. You can hold your speed until your mid 30s. There is all kind of evidence to that. There is video of a 38 year old ochocinco running 4.4 40 yard dashes.
The last is of course luck, to avoid injury.
The point being if you are simply a superior athlete in those areas you are going to remain successful beyond a replacement. The problem is there are few players who really are. You have to be extremely gifted to be that way. Most simply are not. They have to work for it and eventually the work isn't enough.