The Top 15 Left Wingers in the National Hockey League
I have decided to do a top 15 players list for each position. The entire player's career will be looked at with more emphasis put on how they have played in the last two or three years.
Now that the NHL entry draft and Free Agent frenzy are behind us, the next three months are the most painful time of year for hockey fans around the world. I mean, what better time to do this then now, right?
1. Alexander Ovechkin
2008-09 Stats: 79 GP 56 G 54 A 110 P
Career Stats: 324 GP 219 G 201 A 420 P
The easiest choice to make at any position, no left winger even comes close to the talent level of Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin has proved himself to be the best goal scorer in the game since his arrival in Washington for the season after the lock out.
Not only that, but Ovechkin has rejuvenated and given hope to an entire fan base and is most definitely the fan favorite down in Washington. With seven major trophies in the last two years and many other accolades, Ovechkin continues to be consistent year-after-year.
His play-off performance this year was incredible and something all fans can marvel at, as he managed 21 points (11 goals) in just 14 games and led the Capitals to within one game of the Eastern Conference Finals.
2. Zach Parise
2008-09 Stats: 82 GP 45 G 49 A 94 P
Career Stats: 326 GP 122 G 131 A 253 P
After having two fine seasons prior to the 2008-09 season, Parise burst onto the scene with an incredible year that saw him come close to topping the century mark as a 24-year-old.
Generously listed at 5-11, Parise is small but makes up for it with his good speed and shiftiness. He is a great two-way player and should be a force to be reckoned with for many years.
3. Ilya Kovalchuk
2008-09 Stats: 79 GP 43 G 48 A 91 P
Career Stats: 545 GP 297 G 260 A 557 P
Another feared Russian sniper, Kovalchuk has scored at least 40 goals in his last five seasons, breaking the 50 goal plateau two of those times. He has a very quick release and a cannon of a shot from the point.
Kovalchuk is a free agent at the end of this season and he will be the most coveted player on the market. Atlanta will try their best to sign him to an extension, but Kovalchuk is getting fed up with all of the losing seasons he has endured during his NHL career.
4. Rick Nash
2008-09 Stats: 78 GP 40 G 39 A 79 P
Career Stats: 441 GP 194 G 161 A 355 P
Rick Nash has improved immensely over his NHL career and can now be considered a two-way threat. Always a great goal scorer, critics questioned Nash's defensive effort during the early stages of his career and he has definitely gotten a lot better.
Nash finally led Columbus to their first ever play-off birth and just recently signed a long term extension to remain with the team for a very long time and to hopefully bring a championship to Columbus.
5. Daniel Sedin
2008-09 Stats: 82 GP 31 G 51 A 82 P
Career Stats: 642 GP 179 G 283 A 462 P
One half of the best duo in the game, Daniel Sedin is the goal scorer, while his twin brother Henrik is the passer. Daniel has remained very consistent over the years and finally shook off his play-off demon with a good performance this time around.
Daniel has also missed very little action, proving that he has great durability and will not be pushed around by bigger players. Daniel and Henrik can cycle the puck all shift long if they have to, making it look easy as their opponent struggles to gain possession of the puck.
6. Alexander Semin
2008-09 Stats: 62 GP 34 G 45 A 79 P
Career Stats: 254 GP 108 G 108 A 216 P
Semin went on a tear this year and had one of the best point per game averages in the league at 1.29. If not for missing 20 games, he was on pace for more then 40 goals and a 100 point season.
Not flashy like Ovechkin, Semin has a great shot and one of the quickest releases in the league. He has learned to distribute the puck a lot better during his four seasons in Washington and is only 25 years of age.
7. Patrik Elias
2008-09 Stats: 77 GP 31 G 47 P 78 P
Career Stats: 822 GP 295 G 411 A 706 P
After a very disappointing performance in 2007-08, Elias managed to turn it around and showed the hockey world he still has what it takes to be a top line player.
He has eight career 20 goal seasons, with three other seasons falling just short of the plateau. He has helped lead the New Jersey Devils to two Cups during his NHL career.
8. Simon Gagne
2008-09 Stats: 79 GP 34 G 40 A 74 P
Career Stats: 606 GP 242 G 242 A 484 P
Many people wondered if Gagne was ever going to recover from a nasty concussion he received last year. Well, he definitely silenced those people who thought he would never be the same player.
Gagne played a solid two-way game, playing on the penalty kill and power play. He nearly scored at a point per game clip and he only missed four games all season.
9. Dany Heatley
2008-09 Stats: 82 GP 39 G 33 A 72 P
Career Stats: 507 GP 260 G 283 A 543 P
Dany Heatley is not very fast, nor is he very good defensively, but his amazing shot and ability to be in the right place at the right time makes him one of the most feared snipers in the league.
This is evidenced by the fact that Heatley just missed out on his sixth 40 goal season in just seven full years in the National Hockey League. Unfortunately, he is a head case and have may have to suck it up and play for Ottawa.
10. Michael Cammalleri
2008-09 Stats: 81 GP 39 G 43 A 82 P
Career Stats: 364 GP 132 G 155 A 287 P
After a disappointing season in Los Angeles last year, Cammalleri got a change in scenery and flourished while playing with Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla.
Cammalleri proved he is a true goal scorer with his 39 goals and he hopes to bring his talent to Montreal to help the Canadiens win their first cup since 1993.
11. Thomas Vanek
2008-09 Stats: 73 GP 40 G 24 A 64 P
Career Stats: 318 GP 144 G 116 A 260 P
After Buffalo matched Edmonton's offer sheet to Thomas Vanek, he has evolved into an elite goal scorer with 36 or more goals in each of his last three seasons.
Vanek has also started to play the penalty kill and has improved a lot in his own zone, making him one of the top wingers in the game.
12. Dustin Brown
2008-09 Stats: 80 GP 24 G 29 A 53 P
Career Stats: 349 GP 89 G 103 A 192 P
Dustin Brown is the captain of a very young Los Angeles Kings squad and he is just 24 years of age himself, proving that he is a great leader. Brown can score goals and will stick up for his teammates.
Brown has the potential to lead the Los Angeles Kings to the championship within the next five years due to the amount of young talent his team currently possesses.
13. David Booth
2008-09 Stats: 72 GP 31 G 29 A 60 P
Career Stats: 193 GP 56 G 54 A 110 P
One of the most underrated players in the league, Booth is slowly emerging as a threat to score 30 goals for every season that he plays. He is becoming one of the leaders on a inexperienced Florida Panthers team as well.
14. Ray Whitney
2008-09 Stats: 82 GP 24 G 53 A 77 P
Career Stats: 992 GP 303 G 508 A 811 P
Another very underrated player, Whitney is one of the few veterans on this list, as proven by the fact that he will reach the 1000 game plateau in his eighth game next season.
Whitney is a very consistent player and helped lead Carolina to a Stanley Cup in his first year there and helped greatly during the Hurricanes lengthy run this season.
15. Brenden Morrow
2008 -09 Stats: 18 GP 5 G 10 A 15 P
Career Stats: 591 GP 173 G 216 A 389 P
Morrow is the fearless leader of the Dallas Stars. He can score goals, hit his opponents into next week, and play solid defense. Unfortunately, his season ended prematurely with the knee surgery he had in November 2008.
Also, Morrow set the record for most hits in a game against the Vancouver Canucks during the Stars lengthy post-season run in the 2008 play-offs.