Top-5 wingers in the Western Conference?
August 9, 2017, 11:36 AM ET [117 Comments]
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In this edition of the hotstove, we rank the top-5 wingers in the Western Conference.
1. Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)
Tarasenko has the power, speed, and skill combination teams dream about and is one of the most dynamic players in the league. As good as he is, I think he may still have another gear.
2. Blake Wheeler (WPG)
Wheeler is one of the NHL's most underrated stars. He consistently piles up points at a high-end rate, plays in all situations, drives possession, and gets little talk despite that. He may not be as flashy as a guy like Kane, but he's a far more well-rounded player.
3. Patrick Kane (CHI)
I don't think Kane is great without the puck, and he has benefited from sheltered zone starts, but it's pretty hard to argue with 195 points over the last two seasons.
4. Jamie Benn (DAL)
Benn is the total package. He's physical, he has a big shot, he scores goals in bunches, and he's a very effective playmaker. By his standards, 2016-17 was a down year but I have no doubt he'll bounce back.
5. Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)
He's extremely skilled and tough to contain because of his speed and elusiveness, which leads to a lot of magical plays. Like Benn, his counting totals weren't as good as expected in 16-17 but he is a good bet to bounce back.
Honorable mentions: Filip Forsbergand Patrik Laine. Forsberg is only 22 and has averaged 30 goals and 62 points over the last three seasons while posting remarkably good possession numbers. Laine's defensive game needs work but he is just 19 and already one of the best pure goal scorers in the NHL.
The best wingers in the Western Conference:
1. Blake Wheeler - Between 60-80 points for six straight years, never misses a game, guarantee between 20-30 goals, tons of 5v5 points.
2. Patrick Kane - Art Ross winner, consistent scoring, one of the best players in the league.
3. Patrik Laine - he probably doesn't deserve to be this high, but his potential is insane and I'd probably want him as the corner stone of my franchise over anyone on this list.
4. Nino Niederreiter - Elite defense and scores at a 5v5 clip worthy of any first line. Signed to arguably the best team-friendly contract in the NHL.
5. Vladimir Tarasenko - One of the most exciting players to watch. I would not argue against ranking him higher. All these guys are so awesome that you could probably rank them in whatever order you wanted, and you could even put in Jamie Benn or Johnny Gaudreau and I wouldn't much care.
Well, this is group seems far more interesting to me than the Eastern Conference because I know them better. That being said you will probably see a very obvious bias.
#1 Patrick Kane- There might be players people prefer more than Kane but he's been at the top for too long to ignore. Consistently consistent and such a pain to play against.
#2 Vladimir Tarasenko- Guy is an elite scorer who led the western wingers in goals.
#3 Blake Wheeler- what does Wheeler have to do to get some respect from across the league? He's missed 5 games in the last 6 years too not scoring less than 60 points.
#4 Nik Ehlers- coming off his sophomore season he was second for points for LW behind Benn- given his age that's impressive.
#5 Patrik Laine- sure it's full homer mode here but that rookie season on a team that has as many challenges as the Jets was incredible. Laine showed more talent than most gave him credit for and blew past all expectations as an 18-year-old.