Top Five Wingers Heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs
By: Joe Borek (@jjborek26)
1. Alex Ovechkin
The Great 8 is here to stay. What cannot be said about Ovechkin at this point? He is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer when he retires. He has collected the Hart Trophy (MVP) three times and the Rocket Richard Trophy (goal-scoring leader) a whopping nine. Ovie has surpassed 700 goals for his career and 1,200 points. He has 706 goals and 1,278 points to be exact, marking him as the only active player near the all-time goal record of 894. The Great One, Wayne Gretzky of course, set that record. Ovechkin had another outstanding season this year amassing 67 points with 48 goals and 19 apples to make up that total. He has shown no signs of slowing down. His CF% (Corsi for %) this year was 52.8, meaning the Capitals were possessing the puck more often than not when The Great 8 was on the ice. Whenever CF% is above 50% in general, that’s an excellent sign because it means the team posses the puck more than not with that player on the ice—moving on, on top of all that, Ovie is proven in the playoffs at an almost points per game pace. In 128 playoff games, Ovechkin has 126 points earning him the top spot on our list. Below, The Great 8 can be seen doing his thing in his 2020 highlight video.
2. Artemi Panarin
The 2015-16 Calder (Rookie of Year) winner Panarin aka the Bread Man, fully took off this year earning himself a Ted Lindsay Award (MVP voted by Players) nomination and a likely Hart Trophy nomination coming on Tuesday. He along with his teammate Mika Zibanejad carried the Rangers this season to their 79-point season. Panarin also did not miss a beat after who would be considered the heart and soul of the Rangers, Chris Kreider went down. On the season Panarin totaled 95 points with 32 goals and 63 assists proving to any doubters that were left, he’s a top playmaker and scorer in the league. Panarin on the season has a CF% of 51% with a +/- of 36 to go along with it. So the ofensive star is even playing above-average defense under coach Dave Quinn clearly earning him the second spot on our list heading into the playoffs.Below the Bread Man can be see memorizing defenses in his 2020 highlights.
3. David Pastrnak
Obviously this is contingent on if he can play since he was one of the players ruled unfit to play. However, Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said Saturdayon Pastrnak, “There’s probably a lot of conversation about it, speculation, rightfully so. When you don’t get answers, you’re going to speculate. So that’s where we’ve opened ourselves up to with the players. “So him coming out, you know, kind of putting a nail in that coffin that he tested positive because he didn’t, and so that’s good news for us. But at the same time, he’s not with our group so we’d like to have him back.” So with that being said that leads me to believe he will be back with the Bruins soon since it is not Coronavirus related. Therefore, the Bruins are getting the 2020 rocket Richard winner back in their lineup and that’s a huge bonus and must in order to compete for the Cup. Pastrnak aka Pasta is another name mentioned in the Hart trophy nominees conversation. Just like everyone else on the list he makes those around him so much better. Pastrnak is just over a points per game producer in the postseason with 43 points in 42 games, clearly earning him a top three spot on the list. Below he can be seen astounding defenses that are just never able to prevail.
4. Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane aka Showtime is another sure fire hall of famer at careers end. He in most people’s eyes is already the greatest American born player of all timewith 1,022 career points. If it is not him its likely, Mike Modano in mosts eyes with maybe some Chris Chelios people mixed in. All all time American greats. Kane had another impressive season this year amassing 84 points in 70 games for an up and down Blackhawks team. His CF% was only 49.1 but that’s because Chicago has an aging defense that does not hold onto the puck very well. His plus minus was a +8 even with that Corsi for percentage, proving Kane can also handle himself in his own end despite Chicago’s inconsistent defense. Kane like Ovechkin is at an almost points per game pace in his lengthy playoff career. In 127 playoff games Kane has amassed 123 total points clearly earning him the fourth spot on our list. Moreover, if Chicago has any chance of an upset Kane is going to have to continue to live up to his playoff reputation and there is no reason to thin he can’t do so. Below Kane can be seen taking it to opposing defenses in his 2020 highlights.
5. Mark Stone
A defensive wizard in Stone has already finished top two in the Selke an award usually reserved for Centers, three times in his career. Those three times were each of his last three season from 2017-2019 and he sure as heck should place top three for his efforts this season as well. Talk about a hot streak. Stone of course is not only a huge difference maker on defense but also offensively as well. He has 385 points in 449 career games and most of that was with downtrodden Ottawa. Stone has since taken his game to even another level since joining the Vegas Golden Knights becoming a mainstay on their PK and PP. This season Stone accumulated 63 points in 65 games. How bout that an almost points per game player that is that filthy at defense. They do not grow on trees so Stone is for sure a rare commodity clearly placing him in the top 5 wingers heading into the postseason. In 34 career playoff games Stone has 25 career points while having a CF% of 53.8. Below Stone can be seen dumfounding teams in his highlight video.