It’s the time of year when prognostications are made and rankings are put together and we here at The Hockey News are no different.
In the Sept. 27 edition of THN magazine, senior writer Ken Campbell ranks the top 20 players at each position. With a few exceptions, the usual suspects fall where you’d expect them to at the top of the lists. But there are some interesting slots with players higher or lower than many might believe at first blush.
Campbell talked to people in the know around the NHL - some of whom were gracious enough to push their own players down the lists - and injected his own learned opinion to reach the final rankings. We thought there were some interesting selections on the right side, so we’re offering you a sneak peek.
These are THN.com’s top 10 NHL right wingers:
Burrows, 29, has evolved into the best agitating 30-goal scorer in recent memory. The perfect complement to the Sedins, he’s fast, defensively responsible and will go to the dirty areas of the ice, where the twins usually are, too.
At 6-foot-3, 206 pounds with an attitude, Perry is one of the best young power forwards in the game. He’s just 25 and plays with some other bruisers in Anaheim and five years into his career, he’s already scored 27 or more goals three times and topped 70 points twice.
The old warhorse can still get it done. The Sens captain is the third-highest scoring Swede in NHL history and the best player in Ottawa’s modern era. For all his offensive chops, ‘Alfie’ is also defensively responsible, something a few of his Sens teammates could take to heart.
‘Iggy,’ 33, is getting a little (just a little) long in the tooth. The most consistent power forward of the 2000s has been criticized some in recent seasons for his play - as have all the Flames - which is why he’s further down the list than some might expect.
You like goals? Heatley can deliver. There are few better snipers in the league and arguably none on this list. Heatley has averaged 44 goals per season since the lockout and the 29-year-old isn’t likely to slow down soon with Joe Thornton feeding him the puck.
Semin, 26, possesses preternatural talent with silky moves and a Joe Sakic-like wrist shot. He’s had some of the best point-per-game averages of the past two seasons and some pretty impressive plus-minus ratings to boot. If he decides to go to the net more, he’ll be higher on the list next year.
Hossa is deceptive in that, if you only look at his stats, you’d think he’s a one-dimensional player - a guy who scores and that’s about all. But Hossa, 31, is a bull in a china shop out there; he goes hard all the time in both ends of the ice. He uses his body and strong skating to dominate down low.
There are few players in the league who have the blazing speed of Gaborik, or who can control and shoot the puck at such high speed. The only two times he’s failed to hit the 30-goal mark when playing 48 games or more were his rookie and 2003-04 seasons. He’s as dynamic as anyone in the league not named Crosby or Ovechkin; he just needs to put together a string of healthy seasons.
The second oldest of our Top 10 at 35, St-Louis has been as consistent as any right winger since 2003-04. Last year he showed that, when given someone to play with, he could still be a high-end producer, finishing sixth in league scoring. No one takes a loss harder than St-Louis and few have had to work as hard or prove themselves as often as the 5-foot-9 dynamo.
Already a Stanley Cup champion, Kane broke into the NHL’s top 10 in scoring last season with a 30-goal, 88-point campaign as a 21-year-old. As Campbell wrote, “to vault himself into the top two or three (in scoring), he’ll have to find a way to get the puck into the back of the net more often.” Kane has the skill and the will on the ice to do so; he just needs some time. Remember, he’s the baby on this list.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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