The 15 Most Successful Wingers That Have Played on the "Wrong Side" of the Ice
Washington Capitals Coach Adam Oates has indicated he doesn't like playing his forwards on the "off-wing," i.e. a left-handed shot playing the right wing or a right-handed shot playing the left wing.
He has moved Alex Ovechkin, a right-handed shot, exclusively to the right wing in part due to this preference. Oates has also made sure Ovechkin's linemates fit this criteria as often as possible.
Yet throughout NHL history, there have been many successful wingers who thrived while playing on the off-wing. Some players feel it gives them an advantage when cutting across the middle with the puck.
Here is a look at the 15 best off-wingers in NHL history. Feel free to mention anybody I missed who you feel belongs on this list.
15. Stephane Richer
Richer was a left-handed shot playing the right wing but that didn't stop him from having a very successful NHL career.
Richer had a pair of 50 goal seasons with the Canadiens and finished his NHL career with 421 goals and 819 points in 1,054 games. He had one of the hardest shots in the NHL during his playing career which lasted from 1985-2002.
He also won two Stanley Cups, one with the Habs in 1986 and one with New Jersey in 1995.
14. Ilya Kovalchuk
Ilya Kovalchuk is a right-handed shot but he's played both left and right wing over the course of his NHL career.
The Russian sniper won the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2004 and has been named to two postseason All Star teams. He also has a pair of 52 goal seasons.
In 809 career NHL games, Kovalchuk has scored 416 goals and accumulated 811 points.
13. Martin St. Louis
Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis is a left-handed shot who plays the right wing.
Although he was never drafted and stands only 5'8" tall, St. Louis has become one of the NHL's best passers.
He won the Art Ross Trophy as the league's top point getter in 2004 while leading the Lightning to their first and only Stanley Cup title. He also won the Hart Trophy as league MVP that same season.
St. Louis has been named to four postseason All Star teams and has been the primary set-up man for stars like Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos.
In 961 career NHL games, St. Louis has scored 330 goals and accumulated 891 points.
12. Steve Larmer
Steve Larmer played in 884 consecutive games with the Chicago Blackhawks, giving him the third longest consecutive games streak in NHL history. But it wasn't just the number of consecutive games Larmer played in, but how well he played in them that made him special.
The Peterborough, Ontario, native was a left-handed shot playing right wing and he had five seasons with 40 or more goals.
Larmer won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie and won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994.
He finished his NHL career with 441 goals and 1,012 points in 1,006 NHL games.
11. Brian Bellows
The Minnesota North Stars made Brian Bellows the second overall pick in the 1982 NHL Draft and the St. Catharines, Ontario, native lived up to his advanced billing.
Bellows was a left-handed shot playing right wing. He had four seasons of 40 or more goals including a career-best 55 goals and 99 points in 1989-90 and finished his career with 485 goals and 1,022 points in 1,188 games.
Bellows won the Stanley Cup in 1993 with the Montreal Canadiens. He scored 40 goals that season and added 15 points in 18 playoff games for the Habs.
10. Marian Hossa
Slovak star Marian Hossa is a left-handed shot but has seen extensive time on both wings during his productive NHL career.
In 1,006 career NHL games, Hossa has scored 430 goals and accumulated 927 points.
Hossa had the distinction of playing in the Stanley Cup Final three consecutive years with three different teams. He lost the first two before finally winning his first title with the Blackhawks in 2010.
Hossa has three seasons of 40 or more goals and was the only player in Atlanta Thrashers history to score 100 points in a season. At 34, he remains a very productive goal scorer.
9. Peter Bondra
Peter Bondra was a left-handed shot playing right wing during his 16-year NHL career.
The talented Slovak scored a career-best 52 goals in both 1995-96 and 1997-98. He finished his NHL career with 503 goals and 892 points in 1,081 games.
Bondra was one of the most popular players in Washington Capitals history and was selected to play in five NHL All-Star Games.
8. Dit Clapper
Hall of Famer Dit Clapper was a right-handed shot who played left wing and defense during his career with the Boston Bruins.
Clapper was named to six postseason All Star teams, five times as a wing and once as a defenseman. He also played on three Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Bruins.
In 1929-30, Clapper scored 41 goals, then the third highest total in NHL history.
Towards the end of his career, he served as player/coach of the Bruins.
Clapper was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947.
7. Mark Recchi
Mark Recchi was a right-handed shot who played the left wing and it served him well during his 22-year NHL career.
Recchi played on three Stanley Cup winners, one early in his career with Pittsburgh in 1991 and then again in 2006 with Carolina and 2011 with the Boston Bruins.
His best offensive season came in 1992-93 with the Flyers when Recchi scored 53 goals and 123 points. The point total is the Flyers all-time franchise record for a single season.
Recchi finished his career with 577 goals and 1,533 points in 1,652 games.
6. Alexander Mogilny
Alexander Mogilny was a left-handed right wing who became a prolific scorer during his NHL career with Buffalo, Vancouver, Toronto, and New Jersey.
In 1992-93, the high-scoring Russian led the NHL with 76 goals. Over the course of his career, Mogilny had eight seasons with at least 30 goals including two of 50 or more.
Mogilny won the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2000 and was named to a pair of postseason All Star Teams.
He finished his NHL career with 473 goals and 1,032 points in 990 career games.
5. Yvan Cournoyer
Yvan Cournoyer was a left-handed shot playing the right wing and took his speed and talent all the way to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Cournoyer's biggest asset was his speed and he was nicknamed "The Roadrunner."
He started his career as a power play specialist and eventually became a first line player and captain of the Canadiens.
He won 10 Stanley Cups as a player with Montreal during his 15-year NHL career.
Cournoyer finished his career with 428 goals and 863 points in 968 NHL games. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.
4. Pavel Bure
Pavel Bure was a left-handed shot on the right wing and one of the most dangerous goal scorers of his era.
"The Russian Rocket" led the NHL in goals scored three times during his NHL career which saw him play for the Canucks, Panthers and Rangers.
Bure had five seasons of 50 or more goals including back-to-back seasons with 60 goals for the Canucks in 1992-93 and 1993-94. He was a major reason that Vancouver reached the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.
Bure was named to three postseason All Star teams and played in seven NHL All-Star Games. He was named MVP of the 2000 contest.
In 702 career NHL games, "The Russian Rocket" scored 437 goals and 779 points.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.
3. Dave Andreychuk
Dave Andreychuk was a right-handed shot playing left wing. He holds the NHL's all-time record for power play goals in a career with 274.
The Hamilton, Ontario, native played 23 seasons in the NHL with the Sabres, Maple Leafs, Devils, Bruins, Avalanche, and Lightning.
He won the Stanley Cup in his 22nd NHL season with Tampa Bay in 2004.
In 1,639 career NHL games, Andreychuk scored 640 goals and accumulated 1,338 points.
2. Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr shoots left but plays the right wing. The arrangement has worked out pretty well for him over the course of his NHL career.
Jagr's trophy case is full. He has won two Stanley Cups, five Art Ross Trophies, one Hart Trophy and been named to eight postseason All Star teams.
The high-scoring Czech has six seasons of 40 or more goals in the NHL including a career-high 62 goals and 149 points back in 1995-96.
In his career, Jagr has scored 676 goals and 1,674 points in 1,374 NHL games. He will certainly be inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame once he finally decides to retire.
1. Maurice "Rocket" Richard
Maurice "Rocket" Richard was a left-handed shot playing on the right wing.
Richard was the first player ever to score 50 goals in a season and he was the NHL's all-time leading goal scorer at the time he retired in 1960.
Richard won eight Stanley Cups during his playing career including five in a row from 1956-1960. He also proved to be clutch, scoring six overtime game winners back in the days before there was regular season overtimes.
"The Rocket" scored 544 goals and 965 points in his 978 game NHL career and is considered one of the greatest goal scorers of all-time. The NHL's leading goal scorer takes home the Rocket Richard Trophy each year in his honor.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame immediately after his retirement as the NHL waived the traditional three-year waiting period.