NHL Positional Rankings: Ranking the league's top 10 left wings
The left wings have some of the biggest game-breakers around with Artemi Panarin, Brad Marchand, Alex Ovechkin, Kyle Connor and Sebastian Aho.
They score goals, some of them set a physical tone and they are among the most dangerous finishers in the game all skating on the left side. There’s also more than a hint of grit and nastiness with Marchand, Matthew Tkachuk, David Perron and Max Pacioretty as guys that man the left wing position as well.
When looking for quality players, there are a ton of them on left wing starting with likely Hart Trophy top-5 candidate Artemi Panarin enjoying the best season of his NHL career during his first year with the Rangers.
But who are the Top 10 left wings in the NHL right now?
10. David Perron
One of the underlying reasons behind the St. Louis Blues sticking around this year without Vladimir Tarasenko, David Perron was an All-Star and continues to play that way all season.
Perron has 25 goals and 60 points in 70 games this season while playing a competitive, two-way game. He’s second in the NHL with nine game-winning goals this season as well and is on pace to finish close to 30 goals and 70 points.
9. Teuvo Teravainen
The 15 goals and 63 points in 68 games are pretty good numbers, but it’s clear the 25-year-old is one of the best playmakers out there right now.
He’s just outside of the NHL’s Top 10 with his 48 helpers this season and is part of a Hurricanes forward group that is varied, talented and very productive.
8. Max Pacioretty
The 32-year-old has 32 goals and 66 points in 71 games along with a plus-18 rating and has been excellent for the Golden Knights this season. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Pacioretty is the prototypical left winger with his size, strength and skill and should be up around 40 goals by the end of this season.
More importantly, Pacioretty has helped push the Golden Knights up to the top of the Pacific Division amidst their playoff run.
7. Matthew Tkachuk
It’s been an up and down season for the 6-foot-2, 200-pound power forward, but Tkachuk is still one of the premier left wings out there capable of scoring and getting things stirred up against opponents. Tkachuk is on pace for 27 goals and 72 points this season, but he’s also a minus-6, which alludes to the Flames' defensive struggles this season.
It’s not the 22-year-old’s best NHL season, but it’s also going to be key to his development as Tkachuk figures out exactly how to play his game and be effective for the Flames on a nightly basis.
6. Sebastian Aho
Aho certainly made some waves this summer when he signed an offer sheet with the Canadiens and it seemed like he got off to a slow start with the Hurricanes in the aftermath of that.
But the winger has picked up the slack in the last few months and is up to 38 goals and 66 points in 68 games along with a plus-10 rating in 19:25 of ice time per game. He’s coming off a two-goal, three-point performance in a win over the Red Wings and is helping lead the Canes toward a playoff spot.
5. Kyle Connor
The 23-year-old has a career-high 36 goals and 71 points in 70 games this season for the Jets and has become their go-to guy for goal-scoring this season. It’s quite a development for the speedy, skilled winger and shows just how far he’s come as one of the most accomplished players from a 2015 NHL draft that was loaded with talented players.
It seems a fait accompli that Connor will finish with over 40 goals this season and may be ready to move up this list a few spots if he can finish with a strong push.
4. Jonathan Huberdeau
Huberdeau has played a great deal of left wing for the Panthers this season rather than center and has been one of Florida’s best and most consistent players in something of a disappointing season. The 27-year-old is on pace for 27 goals and 93 points this season, is a plus player and is averaging 18:46 of ice time this season for the Panthers.
He’s a cut below the top guys, but is also a bit more of a playmaker than some of the other left wings on this list.
3. Alex Ovechkin
Say what you will about Ovie’s season, but 48 goals is 48 goals.
The 48 goals and 67 points in 68 games has the Capitals left winger as one of the most dangerous, lethal scorers in the NHL again this season. But he’s also a minus-12 on the season and clearly isn’t involved in much of the playmaking aside from finishing off passes headed his way for a blistering slapshot one-timer.
He’s still a game-breaking force, which earns him a spot near the top of the list at 34 years old.
2. Brad Marchand
Marchand probably won’t be a Hart Trophy finalist this season given the year that Panarin is having in New York, but he still deserves consideration as one of the best in the game based on the season he’s enjoying.
Marchand has 28 goals and 87 points in 70 games along with a plus-25 rating. He’s also got double the penalty minutes of anybody else who's in the top-20 in NHL scoring, so he’s got that going for him. Which is pretty nice.
1. Artemi Panarin
The Rangers left winger has been the No. 1 guy for a Blueshirts team that’s still hanging around for a playoff spot. Panarin should be a serious Hart Trophy candidate given his production and consistency with 32 goals and 94 points in 68 games.
Some other Rangers players, most notably Mika Zibanejad, have stepped up to help support him as of late, but for the first half of the year it was Panarin doing nearly all the heavy lifting. It’s just one season in, but he looks like one of the best NHL free agent signings ever given the way he’s performed right out of the gate.