Ranking the Most Dangerous NHL Players on the Power Play in 2013-14
The best NHL scorers gather annually at the top of the power play scoring totals, and year over year it's a predictable list. The usual suspects are joined by a new name or two, but one thing remains the same: The cream of the NHL offensive crop dominates in the discipline.
The skill sets of each of these players vary, but there are some things all have in common: extreme creativity, a quick release or heavy shot and an exceptional ability to pass and take a pass in tight quarters with the man-advantage.
These are the difference makers, the impact players and the NHL's best snipers and assist leaders. Here are the most dangerous NHL players on the power play in 2013-14.
10. P. K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens
What He's Done This Year: (26GP, 2-9-11 in 2013-14) Subban's delivering on the power play and doing it with his usual flair. Among NHL defensemen, he ranks tied for second in points gained during a man-advantage. Subban is tied for first in power-play shots on goal this season, with 38 in 26 games.
What Makes Him Dangerous: Subban has several assets that make him difficult to defend, beginning with a cannon shot that is hard enough to intimidate and accurate enough to be a consistent weapon. Subban can also carry and pass the puck well, and is an intelligent distributor of the puck.
2013-14 Outlook: He's among the top group of offensive-defensemen in the entire NHL, and it is still very early in his NHL career. The Canadiens will be able to count on him for years into the future, and his shot will keep him on the No. 1 power play for a long time.
9. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Washington Capitals
What He's Done This Year: (26GP, 1-12-13 in 2013-14) Backstrom is considered a very dangerous playmaker and is delivering consistently this year.
What Makes Him Dangerous: Playing with Alexander Ovechkin on the power play must be a fun career. Backstrom's skill set is a perfect fit for the Russian sniper, as his sublime passing skills come into play every night. Backstrom is a calm player with a creative mind, and both are extremely useful on the Washington power play.
2013-14 Outlook: Backstrom is getting more time special teams time this season (about half a minute per game) and is on pace to pass last season's totals (48GP, 3-15-18) with ease. He's enjoying an exceptional start, due to good health and outstanding line mates—and that is a Capital advantage.
8. Patrick Kane, C, Chicago Blackhawks
What He's Done This Year: (27GP, 6-5-11 in 2013-14) on the power play, and when he gets on a roll good things often happen for the gifted player.
What Makes Him Dangerous: Kane has it all: an exceptional shot (featuring a very quick release), an outstanding ability to find read plays and wonderful passing ability. Kane's offense on the man-advantage often involves finding a seam and setting up a one-timer. His gift is that he can be the man on either end of the play.
2013-14 Outlook: He's an exceptional player at even strength, but extra room afforded on a power play means Kane can wheel and be creative in the offensive zone. It's a dangerous situation for the opposition and Kane appears to be in the zone this season. Kane has six goals on 23 power play shots this season.
7. Henrik Zetterberg, C, Detroit Red Wings
What He's Done This Year: (27GP, 1-10-11 in 2013-14) on the power play, Zetterberg leads the Red Wings in points in the discipline (he also led the club last year).
What Makes Him Dangerous: Zetterberg is a magician with the puck, an exceptional passer and is always in motion. He can take and make a pass at high speed and his play-making ability is breathtaking. Zetterberg's attention to the defensive side of the game sometimes obscures his offense, but this season it has been on full display.
2013-14 Outlook: Zetterberg is getting about 30 seconds more power play time this season, and the results are there. In the shortened season, the big Swede managed 23 points in 46 games and he's on a similar pace this year. Detroit needs his offense, and he's delivering with the man advantage.
6. Patrick Marleau, C, San Jose Sharks
What He's Done This Year: (25GP, 5-7-12 in 2013-14) and among the league leaders in power play shots on goal (25).
What Makes Him Dangerous: Marleau owns a deadly shot, and finds quiet ice in good scoring locations with frequency. He's been doing it for more than a decade, but opposition penalty-killers haven't been able to contain him at all. He scored his first power play goal in 1997-98 and continues to roll.
2013-14 Outlook: Marleau is finding the range more often than last season (48GP, 6-8-14 a year ago) and is getting a push with the man advantage (his playing time has increased almost a minute over 2012-13). Opposition defense seems unable to stop him this season, so we should expect him to post a terrific number this year.
5. John Tavares, C, New York Islanders
What He's Done This Year: (26GP, 2-10-12 in 2013-14) on the power play, Tavares is coming into his own as an offensive player.
What Makes Him Dangerous: Tavares is an emerging talent in terms of the power play, but gets his power from terrific passing ability and offensive creativity. He's more of an offensive quarterback than a shooter, but he has a great shot and will no doubt find the range as his career moves along.
2013-14 Outlook: His power-play time has increased by about 30 seconds this season, and his totals so far suggest he'll surpass last season (48GP, 9-7-16) well before the midway point of this season. Tavares is still a young player and should have many years in this role for the Islanders.
4. Erik Karlsson, D, Ottawa Senators
What He's Done This Year: (26GP, 1-11-12) so far this season, Karlsson leads all NHL defensemen in power play points in 2013-14.
What Makes Him Dangerous: He's an elite-talent passer, the best defenseman in many, many years at passing the puck and hitting a man on the fly. Karlsson also has an incredible imagination with the man advantage; some of the goals he's setting up are highlight of the year material. Erik Karlsson is a stunning talent, possibly a generational talent if he can stay healthy.
2013-14 Outlook: Karlsson leads the league's defensemen in power play time-on-ice, and that's likely to continue for a long, long time. Karlsson's elite puck-handling and passing abilities are made for open spaces and the freedom of the power play. If he can remain healthy, Karlsson may approach some all-time records for defensemen on the power play.
3. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins
What He's Done This Year: (27GP, 4-10-14 in 2013-14) in about four-and-a-half minutes a night on the power play.
What Makes Him Dangerous: Sidney Crosby is the best hockey player of his generation, and his power-play tools are endless. He's fast, smart and can muscle his way through NHL defensemen while maintaining possession of the puck. A wonderful passer, he's a great shooter with tremendous accuracy. A dominant NHL player in all disciplines, he has a goal-scorer's hunger on the power play.
2013-14 Outlook: He was 36GP, 3-14-17 last season and is on a faster pace this year; in fact, Crosby could hit 40 power play points for the first time since 2008-09. Crosby's health is the key, and if he can dress for 75 or more games this year the numbers should be staggering in 2013-14.
2. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh Penguins
What He's Done This Year: (27GP, 2-12-14 in 2013-14) and a one-man wrecking crew most nights for Pittsburgh.
What Makes Him Dangerous: The craziest thing in the entire NHL is Crosby and Malkin on the same team. Malkin is a strong bull of a man gifted with soft hands and a nose for the net seen once in a generation. His strongest asset on the power play is his ability to be dangerous as a passer and shooter, and it's on display consistently with the Penguins.
2013-14 Outlook: Malkin posted 40 or more points on the power play in each of his first three seasons in the NHL, and he could threaten that number again this season. He was 31GP, 4-14-18 last season and is on the same pace this season, showing just how dominant he's been over his career.
1. Alexander Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals
What He's Done This Year: (24GP, 8-7-15 in 2013-14) and Ovechkin's 36 power play shots lead NHL forwards and his point total is also league-best this season.
What Makes Him Dangerous: Ovechkin will shoot the puck from anywhere, and his shot is hard and accurate. His quick release adds to the degree of difficulty, as does his size and aggressiveness around the net. Ovechkin is a load at even strength, but on the power play he's the most dangerous man in the NHL.
2013-14 Outlook: Ovechkin has scored 15 or more power-play goals in a season five times, and this season he's on pace to score 25 in a season (which would be the highest total since Teemu Selanne scored 25 in 2006-07). Ovechkin is a dominant offensive player in his element on the man advantage.