Who is the Best Left Winger in Hockey?
As good as the Right Wingers are in the NHL, the Left Wingers are no slouches either. Here is the top 10 Left Wingers in the NHL
1. Markus Naslund – arguably one of the best scorers in the league. He has a wonderful shot, great hands and terrific hockey sense. Yeah everyone can harp on him not doing a whole lot in the playoffs but he is one of the league’s best players. On the rush he may be the most dangerous. His great speed can break teams apart. playing on perhaps the best line in hockey certainly helps the cause.
2. Ilya Kovalchuk – perhaps the most exciting player in the league. HIs game breaking speed can lift the crowd out of it’s seats. His wonderful moves can make the best defencemen look silly. He is brash, *****y and plays that way which i think is a good thing. he knows he can score, it’s all a matter of when. to go with speed, he has power, he his strong on his skates and with the puck.
3. Rick Nash – the ultimate sniper. So what he doesnt get tons of assists. He was a co-winner of the Rocket Richard trophy. He can play the power game using his size and strength to muscle off opponents. Will only get stronger as time passes. But has great wheels and goes to the net willingly. The kid is still young, but is only going to get better and perhaps will be a 50 goal man one day.
4. Patrik Elias – who says the Devils are too defensive. Elias is phenomenal. He has great hands, great vision and creativity. He can score at will or be a top setup man, He has great speed that makes him dangerous on the rush. he is awesome at turning defence to offence in no time. Best case scenario is that he recovers fully from Hep B. The league needs players like him especially in the new NHL with hopefully a more wide opened game.
5. Keith Tkachuk – one of the best power forwards in the game. Bloated contract make him an enemy to most but he is a terrific player. around the net he is one of the best. has good hands to score in close, and uses his size and strength to outmuscle opponents. good along the boards. when he is in a surly mood he is a better player. he is also consistent. 10 years of 30 or more goals.
6. Paul Kariya – Though his production has eroded, his skills have not. Still one of the fastest players in the game. as quick as he is on his skates, his hands are just as swift. wonderful hand/eye coordination. one of the game’s smartest players always reading the play well. durability and strength are always questionable for Kariya. too small to battle, to brittle to play a full year. but based on pure skill alone, he may be the best among the LWers and among the best in the league. he is a terrific player to watch and one who should flourish under the new rules.
7. Sergei Samsonov – Shifty, speedy smallish winger who could dominate under teh new rules. Samsonov is imaginative, creative and deceptive with the puck. Not every goal of his is a highlight reel goal, he doesnt have the fancy celebrations and isnt the biggest player around. but when you see him play, often he will have people scurrying for a replay and wondering how did he do that? his skills are just out of this world. one on one, he is ultra dangerous.
8. Alex Tanguay – often overshadowed by his bigger name teammates, Tanguay is a terrific player. He can play at top speed, has good hands. is one of the better one on one players around. he can be a finisher or set up man. being able to play multiple positions allows him to be in different situations. he should be a bit more selfish and shoot more.
9. Ladislav Nagy – one of the most underrated players in the game. He has great hands and wonderful puck skills. he has good imagination and good speed. though small, very willing to battle for the puck and make something happen physically. playing in Pheonix doesnt help his cause as he is virtually unknown. But he is a player that all teams would want. quietly goes about and produces whether on the scoreboard on getting his hands dirty.
10. Ryan Smyth – Though he may not be the most skilled, may not look pretty on the ice, may not make many moves that wow the fans he is the ultimate team player. Smyth personifies the OIlers. Great speed and heart of a lion. Captain Canada may not put up 40 goals a year but is capable of scoring alot through sheer determination and grit. His willingness to take the pain in front shows the kind of player he is. a player who will battle to the bitter end to win. what you see is what you get with Smyth. You see the battle scars, the tears in his eyes after a tough loss, the will to succeed, the love and passion for hte game. he is the ultimate hockey player.
HOnourable Mentions go to: Brendan Shanahan, Gary Roberts, Richard Zednik, Marco Sturm, Fred Modin, Simon Gagne, Eric Daze, Steve Sullivan
Here are the top 5 LWers of the next generation.
1. Alex Ovechkin – stardom written all over this kid. has size, speed and out of this world skill. the stuff he can do with the puck is unbelievable for someone who is a teenager. already one of the most skilled players around. momentum was lost due to lockout. the savior in Washington.
2. Martin Havlat – I know he is a natural RWer. But he can play all 3 forward positions and play them well. but this year will move to LW with Alfie and Heatley on the right side already. unbelievable hands, speed and puck skills. Needs to shed soft label.
3. Hendrik Zetterberg – can play all 3 forward positions. great wheels. can play checking role or be top scoring winger. great two way player. typical player from Sweden. Highly skilled, smart, fast and technically sound in every aspect.
4. Alexander Frolov – should make Kings one of the most exciting to watch with Bure, Demitra, JR and himself. Ultra strong on the puck, near impossible to knock off. Has good wheels but best at power game. Terrific stickhandler and can do amazing things with the puck. goes to the net and willing to pay price to score.
5. Ryan Malone – power type winger who could learn a ton playing with John Leclair. Has great size, decent mobility and a good shot. should be a very good power play guy parking in front of the net. not physical but will go to traffic areas.
Here are 5 LWers that all teams need to win.
1. Brendan Morrow – top cornerman who can score, check and agitate. Today’s John Tonelli.
2. Kirk Maltby – grind line member is the best at getting opponents off their game. wonderful big game player.
3. Ethan Moreau – very underrated. great size, great speed, can score, hit, fight, lead, muck, grind, block shots, whatever it takes to win.
4. Jay Pandolfo – top defensive left winger combines size with great wheels. excellent on PK.
5. Darcy Tucker – master agitator who needs to keep his emotions in check. great hockey sense.
As you can see, the NHL is stocked with left wingers. There is going to be plenty of debate from this list. I know I know I know I know I know already about Havlat and him being mostly a right winger. but this year he will likely see his share of shifts on the left side as in previous years. he has also lined up at centre as well. the guy is so good he can play everywhere. but from the looks of things he will line up opposite Alfredsson leading up a 2nd unit behind a line of Spezza, Heatley and Varada. I just chose the left side for him for this reason. Everyone hates Tkachuk but that doesnt make him a bad hockey player. Kariya was hurt last time out, but the year before that he was leading his team to Game 7 of the finals. And just because Nagy doesnt play in Philly, New York or Toronto doesnt make him a bad player. And you dont have to be fancy to make this list. Smyth is far from that but close to being one of the best. Opinions will vary, but that’s a good thing.