The Stanley Cup Final ended more than a month ago and the 2015-16 NHL regular season is more than two months away. There’s not much going on out there. So, with great trepidation, we took on the task of ranking the top 25 NHL players at each position. We did this a couple of years ago and you, uh, totally agreed with every single player’s ranking and generally thought we did a wonderful job. You most certainly did not suggest we were hockey know-nothings who should never attempt such an undertaking again...
Here’s our projected ranking of the NHL’s top 25 right wingers in 2015-16. A couple of introductory thoughts: Right wing is where the goal-scorers live, from elite snipers such as Patrick Kane and Corey Perry to veterans Jarome Iginla and Joel Ward among the ‘Honorable Mentions.’ We think there’s 50-goal potential at the top of the rankings and 20- to 30-goal promise for everyone else. (Jaromir Jagr, we assume, will score his age.)
The NHL’s top 25 right wingers in 2015-16:
1. Patrick Kane, Chicago: Sublime skill, big heart, great hair. What more do you want?
2. Corey Perry, Anaheim: Ducks fans love their gritty sniper, everybody else hates the dirty so-and-so.
3. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis: The NHL’s next great goal-scorer?
4. Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia: Can he follow up his breakout year with another 80-point season?
5. Marian Hossa, Chicago: Everything you want in a hockey player.
6. Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh: Say what you want, he put a lot of pucks in the net with Tyler Bozak as his center. Now he has Crosby and Malkin setting him up.
7. Jordan Eberle, Edmonton: Hang on, Jordan, help is on the way.
8. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay: Finished third in the playoffs in goals (10) and points (22).
9. Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg: Power forward doesn’t get much recognition, but Jets fans know he’s a force driving to the net.
10. Wayne Simmonds: Philadelphia: Fast and tough with a 30-goal upside.
11. Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh: Year 2 with the Penguins should be even more productive for power winger with hands.
12. T.J. Oshie, Washington: The Caps finally get a guy who can score goals and also has some personality…
13. Kyle Okposo, NY Islanders: He is John Tavares’ right-hand man so you know he’s good.
14. Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles: A pure scorer who can still electrify and shares great chemistry with Kopitar. The only question, as usual, is his ability to avoid injury.
15. Radim Vrbata, Vancouver: Played like a third Sedin twin in his first season with the Canucks.
16. Gustav Nyquist, Detroit: His knack for finding open ice in the slot is superseded only by his knack for putting the puck in the net.
17. Bobby Ryan, Ottawa: He was a 30-goal man with Getzlaf and Perry but it looks like 20 is more realistic with the Sens.
18. Brendan Gallagher, Montreal: We’re required by law to use the following description: “Pesky, annoying Habs sparkplug.”
19. Cam Atkinson, Columbus: The Blue Jackets’ wingers are a faceless horde of good hockey players.
20. Nino Niederreiter, Minnesota: Physical along the boards with a scoring touch.
21. Mark Stone, Ottawa: The Senators rookie kept getting better and better in his first NHL season.
22. Jason Pominville, Minnesota: Your typical 20-goal, 60-point, plays-every-game kind of guy.
23. Michael Frolik, Calgary: The Flames paid a princely sum to land defensive buzzard.
24. Troy Brouwer, St. Louis: Twenty goals, 40 points, 100 percent.
25. Jaromir Jagr, Florida: What a specimen.
Honorable Mentions: Mats Zuccarello, NYR; Ryan Callahan, TB; Jarome Iginla, Col; Drew Stafford, Wpg; Justin Williams, Wsh; Jakob Silfverberg, Ana; Kevin Hayes, NYR; Joel Ward, SJ; Loui Eriksson, Bos; Chris Stewart, Ana; Alex Burrows, Van; Steve Downie, Ari; Jimmy Hayes, Bos.
NHL Top 25 rankings by position:
Top 25 NHL left wingers
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