Ranking the 10 Best Power-Play Forwards in the NHL in 2014-15

Allan Mitchell@@Lowetide_Featured ColumnistNovember 28, 2014

Ranking the 10 Best Power-Play Forwards in the NHL in 2014-15

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    NHL teams are so defensively aware at even strength that performance on the power play has exceptional value in today's game. A consistent power play can make an enormous difference to an NHL club.

    One of the most important things about a power play is elite-level skill. The names are predictable—most are among the best players in the game and are also exceptional at even strength.

    Here are the 10 best forwards with the man advantage in the NHL today.

10. Logan Couture, C, San Jose Sharks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Team Numbers: The San Jose Sharks rank No. 6 in power-play efficiency this year. 

    The Individual Numbers: Logan Couture is in a tie for No. 12 overall this season in power-play points. He and Joe Pavelski are now outscoring Sharks veterans despite being employed equally, signalling a changing of the guard in San Jose.

    What Makes Him So Good?: Couture is a creative player, but his calling card offensively is a very good and accurate shot. He's already approaching his power-play totals from one year ago.

9. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Washington Capitals

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Team Numbers: The Washington Capitals possess the No. 2 power play in the NHL so far this season. 

    The Individual Numbers: Nicklas Backstrom is among the top passers in the game and ranks No. 2 in power-play assists this year. This doesn't come as news. He led the league in power-play points one year ago.

    What Makes Him So Good?: Backstrom is a stunning passer and is highly creative. It helps that Alex Ovechkin is on the other end of his passes, but he's elite-level in his own right.

8. John Tavares, C, New York Islanders

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Team Numbers: The New York Islanders have the No. 10 power play in 2014-15. They have the No. 4 power play at home this season. 

    The Individual Numbers: John Tavares ranks in a tie for No. 12 overall in power-play points this year.

    What Makes Him So Good?: Tavares is emerging as one of the best young players of his generation. He brings creativity, a quick release and great anticipation to the power play.

7. Ryan Johansen, C, Columbus Blue Jackets

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Team Numbers: The Columbus Blue Jackets are enjoying a strong season with the man advantage in 2014-15. They currently rank No. 5 in power-play efficiency. 

    The Individual Numbers: Ryan Johansen is in a tie for No. 6 overall in power-play scoring this year. His performance has been one of the few bright spots.

    What Makes Him So Good?: Johansen is an intelligent center with great passing skills and impressive size. His ability to occupy space and move the play creatively is his big power-play asset.

6. Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago Blackhawks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Team Numbers: The Chicago Blackhawks have the No. 9 power play in the NHL this season.

    The Individual Numbers: Patrick Kane ranks in a tie for No. 6 overall in individual power-play points. He is Chicago's main weapon in this area and is an impact forward with the man advantage.

    What Makes Him So Good?: Kane is an elite passer and skater and is very difficult to defend one-on-one. He may have the softest hands in the game and is at the peak of his powers at this time.

5. Claude Giroux, C, Philadelphia Flyers

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    The Team Numbers: The Philadelphia Flyers have one of the NHL's most efficient power plays. The club ranks No. 7 overall and third in home power-play percentage. 

    The Individual Numbers: Claude Giroux is an impact player with the man advantage and ranked No. 4 last season in power-play points. This year, he's back again, delivering more goals and just as effective.

    What Makes Him So Good?: Giroux has a massive impact on Philadelphia's offense because of his passing and creativity. His ability to see plays developing and to find the right man at the right moment are key elements to his success.

4. Alex Ovechkin, RW, Washington Capitals

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    The Team Numbers: The Washington Capitals are the No. 2 power-play team in the NHL this season. They own the league's best power play on the road. 

    The Individual Numbers: Alexander Ovechkin is the most dominant power-play scorer of his generation. He's led the league in power-play goals three times and has scored 157 goals in his career with the man advantage.

    What Makes Him So Good?: Ovechkin has a very hard shot and one of the quickest releases in the NHL. His prowess in this area is devastating and makes him a lock for the Hall of Fame when he retires.

3. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    The Team Numbers: The Pittsburgh Penguins are a devastating offensive club, and they are most dominant on the power play. The club is running away with the power-play efficiency rating so far this season. 

    The Individual Numbers: Evgeni Malkin has been an impact player at this discipline for his entire career. This year, he leads all players in power-play goals.

    What Makes Him So Good?: Malkin's size and strength are a major advantage, and his shot is heavy and accurate. He also has exceptional passing skills, which allow him to create offense for others.

2. Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay Lightning.

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    The Team Numbers: The Tampa Bay Lightning have one of the NHL's best power plays, ranking No. 3 currently. They are especially dangerous at home, where they cash in about three times in 10 opportunities. 

    The Individual Numbers: Steven Stamkos is a terrific trigger man and is tied for No. 2 overall this season in power-play goals.

    What Makes Him So Good?: There are two things that make Stamkos formidable on the power play. He has a knack for finding soft places in the opposition's defense, and his release is extremely quick and accurate. If he stays healthy, Stamkos is a lock for one of the best snipers of his generation.

1. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    The Team Numbers: The Pittsburgh Penguins enjoy the No. 1 power play in the NHL. They have scored more than any other NHL team with the man advantage and lead the league in goals scored with a two-man advantage.

    The Individual Numbers: Sidney Crosby leads the NHL in power-play points and has always been exceptional with the other team down a man. His best power-play career numbers came early, but he's surged again in the last 18 months.

    What Makes Him So Good?: Crosby is the best player in the game and possesses exceptional passing and shooting skills. He's very creative and plays with outstanding linemates in Pittsburgh.

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