We have already headlined some of the league’s best offensive talents, and the list was a highly talented one, but that doesn’t cover everything. This time, we’re here to cover the league’s best scoring weapons on the left side of the ice. Here are the NHL’s top 20 left wingers.
20. Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets
Connor just completed his first full season in the NHL, during which he amassed 31 goals and 57 points. This speedy youngster had the privilege of playing with some extremely talented forwards, but that doesn’t take away from the skill he has shown. Don’t be surprised to see his point totals increase yet again this year, as he is still only 21 years old.
19. Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes
Clayton Keller took the league by storm during the 2017-18 season, specifically early on. He isn’t the biggest player, but his knowledge of the players around him and ability to read plays make him an extremely promising young gun. His 65-point season made him one of the favorites to win the Calder Trophy, a prize he might have won had it not been for the incredible play of Mathew Barzal.
18. Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins
Playing with the best players in the world has the tendency to boost a player’s stats and playing ability. Jake Guentzel is a great example of this, having played alongside Sidney Crosby for a few seasons now. The young winger has flourished and become a well-known name around the league. This year was a bit of a down season for Guentzel, as he scored only 48 points, but expect to see him jump closer to the mid 50 to 60-point ranks this upcoming season.
17. Ilya Kovalchuk, Los Angeles Kings
Ilya Kovalchuk is finally making his long-awaited return to the NHL after a five-year stint in the KHL. He will look to ignite a flame in the Kings’ offense, which always seems to be under scrutiny for not being quite good enough. During the 2017-18 season with SKA, he scored 63 points in 53 games and will look to carry that production back to North American ice.
16. Max Pacioretty, Vegas Golden Knights
In his first season with his new team, Max Pacioretty will look to return to form after a down year last season with the Canadiens that saw him score just 17 goals and amass a total of 37 points in 64 games. Everybody in the league knows the true skill that Pacioretty possesses, and it would be to no one’s surprise if he returned to the 60-point mark this season with the Knights.
15. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers
In his first full NHL season since coming into the league in 2012-13, Jonathan Huberdeau showed everyone what he is truly capable of. Playing on one of the most underappreciated first lines in hockey, Huberdeau totaled 27 goals and 69 points. His all-around ability makes him an ever-present force on the ice, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Florida climb into the playoffs sooner rather than later if Huberdeau continues to put up solid numbers.
14. Evander Kane, San Jose Sharks
Evander Kane seems to have finally found his home in San Jose. After being traded from Buffalo to San Jose, he tallied 14 points in 17 regular season games, and five points in nine playoff games. The speedy winger has an edge to his game that draws a lot of attention to him when he is on the ice, leaving plenty of space for his linemates to do some serious damage.
13. Mike Hoffman, Florida Panthers
Mike Hoffman has found himself on a new team after dealing with some pretty serious drama in Ottawa. The left-handed sniper can now expect to play alongside Vincent Trocheck and Nick Bjugstad in what has the potential to be one of the best second lines in the entire NHL. Hoffman has the speed and shot to put up great numbers, and could do just that this season with the Panthers.
12. James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers
James van Riemsdyk is one of the best players in opposing teams’ creases in the entire league. His 217-pound, 6′ 3″ frame allows him to dominate defenders in the offensive zone, and he makes his money deflecting in shots and banging home rebounds. He is constantly hovering around the 30-goal mark and will look to do the same in Philadelphia on a team full of offensive firepower.
11. Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
Landeskog plays a style of hockey pretty similar to van Riemsdyk, with a bit more speed and high-end skill. He was a huge reason behind the Avalanche’s incredible comeback this year after a pitiful 2016-17 season. This time around, Landeskog tallied 62 points in 78 regular season games, and seven points in six playoff games against Nashville.
10. Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg Jets
Nikolaj Ehlers is one of Winnipeg’s many young, talented forwards. His game is all about speed. He can burn up and down the ice with some of the best in the league; his scoring totals prove that. He totaled 64 and 60 points in his last two seasons, respectively, and at only 22 years of age, his production isn’t going to stop any time soon. With the talent of the team around him, Ehlers doesn’t always get the attention he deserves, but he is a truly special player, nevertheless.
9. Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights
Marchessault has really burst onto the scene these past two seasons. In 2016-17, he scored 30 goals with Florida before joining Vegas for the 2017-18 campaign, where he reached 27 goals and 75 points, propelling Vegas to the top of the Pacific Division. He also had a fantastic playoffs, scoring 21 points in 20 games, despite losing in the Stanley Cup Final to Washington. His shot is one of the most underrated in the league, and his goal-scoring totals prove he could be one of the best very soon.
8. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
Filip Forsberg has been one of the many stars of the Nashville Predators since his first full season in 2014-15. He is good for just about 60 points every year, and his all-around offensive ability makes him a constant threat, whether it be to thread the needle on the powerplay or release a lethal one-timer on an odd-man rush. Next season could be a huge one for him, as he totaled 64 points this season, but only in 67 games. If he can keep up this production pace, he could push for a point-per-game type of season, and make Nashville that much more dangerous.
7. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Johnny Hockey has been something to watch since his days at Boston College. As an undersized player, he uses his speed and agility to find space on the ice and make some absolutely incredible plays. He has a skill set eerily similar to that of Patrick Kane, and his team always benefits from him being on the ice. With the addition of James Neal to his already dangerous line, look for Gaudreau to improve on last year’s career-high numbers, where he had an impressive 60 assists and 24 goals.
6. Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets
After only one season with the team, Artemi Panarin has become the Blue Jackets biggest weapon. He has fantastic playmaking ability, as well as an absolutely lethal wrist shot. When he was on in the playoffs, the Capitals had a truly tough time limiting his chances, and he had fantastic games in the first round (specifically in Games 1 and 2). Should he stay with Columbus, they will be lucky enough to have a truly talented, point-per-game level player at their disposal, and will have a tough time missing the playoffs.
5. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Giroux, a long-time center for the Flyers, has made the transition to playing left wing, and alongside linemates Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny, had an absolutely incredible season that saw him score 102 points. He is the most well-rounded player on this list and is extremely responsible in his own zone, as well as showing some truly remarkable offensive skills.
4. Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils
Taylor Hall has always been one of the more talented players in the NHL but never seemed to have the talent surrounding him to make his team successful. Last season, he took matters into his own hands and dominated just about every game he played in New Jersey. He had 93 points in 76 games, as well as six points in five playoff games. His stellar play also brought him home the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player. His top-end speed makes him a threat whenever he is on the ice.
3. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Jamie Benn has been the face of the Dallas Stars for quite some time now. He is one of the more unique players in the league, possessing some incredible offensive talents for a player as big as he is. He is also just as good of a leader as he is a player and doesn’t seem to let the heat of the moment get to him very often. Being partnered with linemates Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, there aren’t many teams that can slow down the production of this big, powerful winger.
2. Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Marchand has been one of the least popular players in the league for a while now, but even his skeptics cannot deny the skill he possesses. He is incredibly fast and can make plays out of tight spots, making people wonder how he got the puck away from two or three opposing players. He plays on arguably the best line in the NHL, so you can never be sure whether he is going to take a shot or make a pass over to one of his linemates. His numbers last season were truly special, matching his 2016-17 season’s total of 85 points, but this time in only 65 games.
1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
This selection comes as a surprise to nobody. Alex Ovechkin has elevated his game, going from one of the best goal-scorers of his era, to arguably one of the best goal-scorers of all-time. In his thirteenth NHL season, Ovechkin notched 49 goals and 87 points, as well as finally capturing that elusive Stanley Cup. The big Russian forward has a monster of a shot and is a threat from anywhere in the offensive zone. Even at 32 years of age, Ovi has at least a few more seasons to put up big numbers, as teams still struggle to stop him from the left circle on the power play, and he is still this year’s number one left winger.
Featured image: The Associated Press