Earlier this month the NHL Network began its reveal of the top players at every position, starting with the best defensemen in the league. In their estimation, Victor Hedman was the top name this year, something our readership predicted in 2019 when they disagreed with the network’s choice. The network then moved on to wingers, listing Artemi Panarin as the very best after his third-place Hart Trophy finish.
Just like defensemen, we asked our readers to select the best wingers in the NHL and you came up with a slightly different order. Panarin is safely near the top, but he hasn’t quite managed to leapfrog a recent Stanley Cup winner. Our PHR community-voted Top 20 Wingers list currently looks like this:
- Nikita Kucherov (693 votes)
- Alex Ovechkin (641 votes)
- David Pastrnak (573 votes)
- Artemi Panarin (561 votes)
- Patrick Kane (542 votes)
- Brad Marchand (473 votes)
- Mikko Rantanen (347 votes)
- Mitch Marner (337 votes)
- Taylor Hall (325 votes)
- Patrik Laine (312 votes)
- Mark Stone (304 votes)
- Matthew Tkachuk (298 votes)
- Gabriel Landeskog (295 votes)
- Vladimir Tarasenko (287 votes)
- Andrei Svechnikov (255 votes)
- Blake Wheeler (229 votes)
- Jonathan Huberdeau (225 votes)
- Johnny Gaudreau (223 votes)
- Claude Giroux (205 votes)
- Filip Forsberg (167 votes)
Over the weekend, the network released its ranking of the best centers in the league, which also happens to usually include the debate of who is the best overall player. Centers can impact the game much more than those who line up on the wing and have been the faces of the NHL for decades (rightly or wrongly).
This year is no different, with Connor McDavid leading the way once again. Though he failed to reach the 100-point mark for the first time since his rookie season and watched a teammate take home the Art Ross, Ted Lindsay and Hart, McDavid is still overwhelmingly considered the most dangerous offensive player in the NHL. His blinding speed and brilliant puck skills are something to behold and have turned Edmonton Oilers games into must-watch events since he debuted in 2015-16.
But, perhaps, McDavid has a rival. No, not his teammate Leon Draisaitl who received all of the hardware this season, but Nathan MacKinnon, who seems to be coming up more and more in discussions of who the best player in the NHL is. MacKinnon comes in second on the network’s list, edging out Draisaitl and Sidney Crosby, who is still relevant as ever after recording his 15th straight point-per-game season.
The rest of the list is like reading the All-Star rosters, but perhaps some special attention should be paid to Brayden Point, who continues his climb every year. Point now sits at ninth, but don’t be surprised if he climbs even further up the list in years to come. He’ll have to settle for the bigger trophy his playoff-leading 14 goals helped earn the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Just like the other polls, we want the PHR community to let us know who the best centers in the world are. Unlike the last poll, however, we’ll ask you to select 10 names because of the smaller pool of talent. Make sure to leave a comment below on who you think deserves to be recognized or your thoughts on how the winger poll ended. We’ve included many names that could be considered, but if you think we’ve missed someone important (which we undoubtedly have) make sure to leave his name below.
[Mobile users click here to vote]
There will always be some crossover with wingers and centers, but we’ve done our best to match what the NHL Network seems to have used. For instance, Leon Draisaitl, though appearing in the winger list last year, is now be listed in the center vote.