In today’s tight-checking NHL, not many wingers attack defenses with explosive goal-scoring ability.
Those special players can score on the rush, blast big shots off the wing and finish around the net. They are dangerous at even strength and on the power play.
Here are the Top 10 goal-scoring wingers in the game today
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals: It took him a while, but he finally bought into switching sides and adhering to the Adam Oates system. He scored 24 goals in his final 23 games to finish with 32 goals in 48 games. That translates to a 55-goal pace over an 82-game season. He averaged 4.58 shots per game, way up from 3.88 the year before. But he scored half of his goals on the Capitals power play, which ranked No. 1 in the NHL. That could be hard to duplicate this year.
Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers: He was involved in 40.7 percent of his team’s goals last season, the third highest percentage in the league. He has 25 power-play goals since arriving in the league and 25 game-winning goals. In 171 NHL games he has put 547 shots on goals. But he missed 38 games to injuries the previous two seasons.
Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs: He is a classic skate-and-shoot winger. His 155 goals during the last five seasons ranks ninth in the NHL for that period. His 135 points during the last two seasons ranks fifth. On the down side, he is minus-47 for the last four seasons. Fans can debate whether he was the price Toronto paid to get him, but he is one of the steadiest scorers in the game.
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild: His five seasons of 30-plus goals earned him his monstrous contract in Minnesota. He wasn’t awesome for the Wild – 18 goals in 48 assists – but the addition of Jason Pominville to the top line could make him a 40-goal threat again.
Rick Nash, New York Rangers: His stock dipped after he scored just one goal in 12 playoff games last spring, but his 0.95 points-per-game average last season was the second best in his career. His plus-16 rating was his best in seven seasons. This two-time 40-goal scorer could flourish this season for new coach Alain Vigneault.
Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks: His 10 goals in 23 playoff games reminded everybody he is still an elite scorer. He struggled with a shoulder injury last season and scored just six times in 28 games. But the previous two seasons he scored 37 goals. He scored at least 25 goals in his previous five full seasons. His 160 goals since 2007-2008 ranks 21st.
Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens: He followed his breakout 33-goal season with 15 goals on 163 shots on goal in 44 games last season. Pacioretty has 449 shots on goal in 123 games and his 104 points over that time ranks 27th in the league. He is a busy young man.
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks: He is on the downward arc of his career. His season point totals have fallen From 104 in 2010-11 to 67 points in 72 games and 40 points in 47 games the last twos seasons. But he has scored 30 or more goals four times in his career.
Matt Moulson, New York Islanders: Life is good playing on John Tavares’ wing. He has scored 113 goals in the last four seasons, 13th-most in the league. Two seasons back he scored 36 goals, including 14 on the power play.
Marian Gaborik, Columbus Blue Jackets: Every other year, between injuries and slumps, he puts up numbers. Last season was a down year: just nine goals in 35 games for the Rangers and just three goals in 12 games for the Blue Jackets. But he had a couple of 40-goal seasons in New York and another in Minnesota. He remains one of the game's most-skilled players and he should be the focal point of the Columbus attack.
Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres: Since 2005-05, he has scored 250 goals – eighth most during that span. He is in the walk year of his contract and he could move along to a contender before the trade deadline. He has every motivation to deliver another 30-goal season.