Ranking the 10 Best Power-Play Forwards in the NHL in 2015-16

Steve Macfarlane@@MacfarlaneHKYFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2015

Ranking the 10 Best Power-Play Forwards in the NHL in 2015-16

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    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Spoiler alert: Alexander Ovechkin is not among the 10 best power-play forwards in the NHL in 2015-16. At least not so far.

    The Washington Capitals captain and sniper isn't even in the top 50 in power-play points this season with three goals and five points on the man advantage. Not your typical numbers for a guy who actually leads the league in shots on goal during the power play.

    That shooting percentage will surely climb as the year goes on. But for now, there are plenty of others having great success on the power play at the moment.

    The 10 best will follow in this slideshow, ranked based on their contributions in goals and assists, but also earning bonus points for things like winning faceoffs or playing out of position.

    In the end, though, it's a thin line that separates these top-end players who excel at scoring goals and putting up points in any situation—but especially when the ice opens up in front of them while enjoying that man advantage.

    All stats via NHL.com

10. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    By the numbers: Six goals, two assists, eight points, 27 shots on goal, 12 missed shots, two takeaways

    Why he's special: Steven Stamkos is just outside the top 10 in power-play scoring so far this season but is tied for second in goal scoring and sixth in shots on goal. He is even higher in shots taken if you include the ones he has directed wide of the net.

    He is still among the most deadly shooters on the man advantage and it's that big shot and elite release that gets him ranked ahead of guys who have more power-play points than Stamkos, including Joe Pavelski, Ryan O'Reilly and Corey Perry. 

9. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: Six goals, three assists, nine points, 30 shots on goal, nine missed shots

    Why he's special: Evgeni Malkin leads a stacked Pittsburgh Penguins group that includes Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel with six goals on the man advantage this season. He is tied for second in power-play goals and sits tied for eighth in scoring among the forward group. Malkin is also tied for third in shots on goal.

    Malkin is a big-bodied puck protector with agility and vision. When he's motivated, he is next to impossible to steal the puck from, which becomes even more difficult to defend when killing a penalty.

8. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    By the numbers: Three goals, seven assists, 10 points, nine shots on goal, six missed shots, 62 faceoff wins

    Why he's special: Henrik Sedin has a sixth sense when it comes to putting the puck on a string and finding the holes in the opposition's defending strategy. He's tied for second in power-play helpers and is a big part of a strong possession game with his ability to win faceoffs while enjoying the extra skater.

    You'll find his brother a little further up this list but Daniel is ranked higher because he is more prolific as a scorer and might fare better if the two were ever separated. Still, Henrik is at 35 a tremendous passer and able to create openings on the cycle or the rush.

7. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

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    Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: Three goals, seven assists, 10 points, 16 shots, 74 faceoff wins

    Why he's special: No player has more faceoff victories on the power play this season than Claude Giroux, and only the Buffalo Sabres' Ryan O'Reilly has a better winning percentage among those who take draws most frequently on the man advantage. Giroux has half of his offensive production on the power play and is among the best setup men in the business.

    The small but supremely slick playmaker can take advantage of a little extra space in a fraction of a second and make the kind of move that will draw defenders out of position and allow him to either find a perfect outlet for a pass or a little space the goaltender isn't protecting for the shot.

6. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals

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    By the numbers: One goal, eight assists, nine points, four shots, 21 faceoff wins

    Why he's special: Nicklas Backstrom has played the fewest games among the top 10 on this list but is tied for the most assists on the man advantage this season. He's also tied for eighth in power-play scoring despite the fact his big triggerman, Alex Ovechkin, has just three goals with the unit so far. Others on the Washington Capitals are benefiting from his incredible passing skills.

    He may be the slickest and most underrated passer in the NHL. Even though goalies and defensemen cheat knowing Backstrom is likely to pass first, they can't defend his laser offerings and prevent the scoring chance from taking place in front of them.

5. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

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    Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: Five goals, six assists, 11 points, 30 shots on goal, nine missed shots

    Why he's special: Daniel Sedin is still one of the most electrifying offensive weapons in the NHL and is tied for second in scoring on the power play this season. He's tied for third in shots on goal and doesn't miss the net often. He is tied for fifth in power-play goals and has a unique knack for finding open ice for twin brother Henrik to find him.

    Although the brothers at times seem telepathic, Daniel is always able to find open ice and get into prime shooting position while working off the boards down low and would no doubt be successful on any team.

4. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: Eight goals, two assists, 10 points, 17 shots on goal, 29 faceoffs won

    Why he's special: Jamie Benn is a big body and practically immovable in front of the net, which is why he scores so frequently on the power play. His determination and competitiveness on the ice might be unrivaled by the others on this list. He'd be higher if he had more assists. He is tied for the league lead in goals on the man advantage and doesn't need to shoot a ton to capitalize. He also contributes to important faceoffs.

3. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    By the numbers: Five goals, eight assists, 13 points, 17 shots on goal

    Why he's special: Patrice Bergeron is one of the more well-rounded scorers on this list. He makes the most of his scoring chances despite not shooting a great deal, but also has a knack for setting up his more physical teammates. He is tied for the lead in power-play points this season. He also takes the majority of draws for the team on the man advantage.

    He's known as a solid defensive forward but is graced with quick hands and great hockey intelligence that makes him deadly on the attack.

2. Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: Three goals, eight assists, 11 points, 34 shots on goal, 16 shots missed

    Why he's special: Only Alex Ovechkin has managed to put more pucks on opposing goalies on the power play this season. Tyler Seguin plays as the fourth forward on the Dallas Stars' potent top unit and uses his big slap shot from the blue line to set up guys like Jamie Benn in front of the net. He is tied for the lead in helpers on the man advantage, which is a testament to his superior passing skills and vision as well as the rebounds his heavy shot creates.

1. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    By the numbers: Eight goals, five assists, 13 points, 26 shots on goal, seven missed shots

    Why he's special: Patrick Kane does it all. He can score with the best of them and is tied with Jamie Benn for the lead in power-play goals this season. He is also the co-leader in points on the man advantage. What sets him apart from the rest is the fact he plays the point on the power play to perfection—a spot that is often too much for a forward to take on because skating skills have to be top-notch for mobility.