NHL Top 10: Who are the league's best left wings right now?
The left wing position continues to be one of high quality for the NHL.
Names like Draisaitl, Panarin, Marchand and Ovechkin dot the top of the list and head a group that’s got equal parts size, strength and explosive skill for many of the players included in the top-10.
There’s also some outstanding up-and-comers with Kyle Connor and Matthew Tkachuk still aged 23-and-under and honing their game while guys like Draisaitl, Panarin and Marchand are at the very height of their games right now.
Here are the top-10 left wings right now at the NHL level:
10. Matthew Tkachuk
As much as it pains me to put him on this list given the way he turtled against Zack Kassian last week, there is no denying the talent that the Calgary power forward possesses at this early juncture in his career.
The 22-year-old is on pace for 26 goals and 65 points this season, but can be even better given his talent level and given the size, strength and skill package that he brings to the ice.
Maybe he’ll get it as soon as he begins understanding things like accountability on the ice for his actions as well.
9. Sebastian Aho
While he’s not having his best season in Carolina, Aho is still an excellent, dangerous player who's on pace to top 40 goals and 70 points for the Hurricanes this season.
He’s well-beyond the offer sheet with the Montreal Canadiens that happened over the summer at this point and has been super-dangerous on the penalty kill as well with three shorthanded goals this season.
The scary part is that Aho can probably be even better than he’s been to this point for a Carolina team that’s been pretty strong this year.
8. Max Pacioretty
Somehow Pacioretty has a shooting percentage under 10 percent right now, but still has 20 goals and 45 points in 49 games while really catching fire over the last month or two.
The 31-year-old has most definitely evolved into a key member of the Golden Knights attack since joining up in Vegas and is on pace for a strong 33 goals and 75 points.
Given the talent level with guys like Pacioretty, Mark Stone and others on the Vegas roster, it’s time for a little more from this group of players.
7. Kyle Connor
The 23-year-old Connor is on pace for 42 goals and 82 points this season for the Winnipeg Jets and has parlayed his speed, skill and scoring ability into being arguably the most dangerous weapon on the Jets.
He’s averaging 20:32 of ice time and has six game-winning goals for Winnipeg as well this year and is just another member of that 2015 first-round class that was overstuffed with talent.
The even plus/minus isn’t so bad either for a Winnipeg team that’s had some ups and downs this season.
6. Alex Ovechkin
The 34-year-old Ovechkin is still on pace for 49 goals this season and somehow has managed just 22 penalty minutes in 47 games.
He’s also a minus-13 and has just 16 assists this season, so it isn’t the best that Ovie has brought to the table in his career. Still, he’s just as dangerous as ever on the power play and he’ll be his old self when the bell rings for the playoffs to begin.
Ovechkin is making the smart play and skipping NHL All-Star Weekend so he can rest and recharge while leading the Capitals to what looks like it will be the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
5. David Perron
The 31-year-old is having the best season of his NHL career and will be an All-Star during the game in St. Louis later this month.
He’s also one of the big reasons that the Blues are still at the top of the NHL heap despite the loss of Vladimir Tarasenko. He has 20 goals and 46 points in 47 games and plays with the kind of sandpaper that just about everybody on the Blues roster seems to have in their hockey DNA.
He might not be young or flashy, but Perron is extremely effective.
4. Jonathan Huberdeau
The 26-year-old Huberdeau is showing that last season’s 30 goals and 90 plus points weren’t a fluke for the Panthers as he sits in the NHL’s top-10 in points with 18 goals and 61 points in 45 games.
He’s on pace for 33 goals and 111 points and stands as one of the most underrated players on this entire list given his ability to provide offense, play solid two-way hockey and be one of the young leaders on the Panthers.
3. Brad Marchand
The Bruins agitator has slumped a bit over the last month when it comes to scoring goals, but he’s still on pace for 34 goals and 108 points this year.
He has only two goals since the beginning of December, however, and has had too many nights as of late where he’s not even getting his shots on net.
It’s still pretty impressive that the third-ranked left winger in the entire NHL is also now the proud owner of arguably the worst shootout attempt in the history of the NHL.
2. Artemi Panarin
The New York Rangers left winger has been a one-man offensive machine for the Blueshirts in his first year there and is one of the rare big ticket free agents who is living up to the contract he signed.
The 28-year-old Panarin is on pace for career-highs of 47 goals and 122 points, is a plus-23 and has only 15 of his points on the power play this season.
He’s also the single-biggest reason that New York has a winning record this year, so the Russian has become the toast of the town on Broadway.
1. Leon Draisaitl
The Oilers left winger has 27 goals and 73 points in 48 games and is on pace for another whopper of a season with 46 goals and 125 points.
He’s teamed up with Connor McDavid to be a dynamite 1-2 combo on a super top line for the Oilers this season, but he’s also already an awful minus-15 for this season. Given that nearly half of his offensive production has come on the power play, that makes him a pretty big liability during even strength play for Edmonton this season.
But there’s no denying his offensive explosiveness.