The NHL Network recently put out it’s top 20 forwards and, depending on who you ask, there was a major name missing from the list. Our main man and rising star in the hockey blogosphere, Zach Laing, helped us out with the list:
*But before I get to that, I wrote a post about the Oilers adding Jiri Hudler the other day as a possible no.3 centre. It wasn’t until later did I realize that he took only a handful of draws last year. In fact, he hasn’t played centre for some time now. I will take only partial blame as the site’s I visited listed him as a centre. My bad! But the Oilers WILL be looking for a third line centre be it Brandon Pirri or someone else.*
— zach laing (@zjlaing) August 8, 2016
Have you guessed who’s missing yet? None other than Taylor Hall, one of the best LWers in the league… Or I thought he was according to the rhetoric in Oil Country. Sure takes the shine off of Hall a bit. And don’t try to tell me, “Oh that just goes to show what the people working at the NHL Network know.” or that there’s an Eastern bias because Johnny Hockey is right up there at #15 and last I checked, Calgary didn’t make the playoffs last year either.
Anyways, this isn’t a shit on Hall post, I just wanted to point out the obvious and toss out a top 20 list of my own.
So I reckon we’ll just go with results from last season and who I think will have the most impact on their team’s success going into the 2016 season.
- Sidney Crosby – Best all-round player and captain in the game today.
- Patrick Kane – Filthy mitts, likes to grab… (Stay classy Beer…)
- Steven Stamkos – Rounding into form as the league’s most elite sniper.
- Connor McDavid – Does things no other player can at top speed and plays in Edmonton no less.
- Jamie Benn – Best LW in the league and toughest too.
- Alexander Ovechkin – Possibly the best goal scorer or all-time.
- Evgeni Malkin – Can take over games at the drop of a dime. Don’t get him angry either.
- Tyler Seguin – At least one of the guys Chiarelli traded makes the list.
- Jonathan Toews – Might not get you the points on the scoresheet but your team will be a winner.
- Patrice Bergeon – If Crosby is the best all-round, Bergeron is the 2nd best. Elite 200ft game.
- Anze Kopitar – Would probably put up more points if he wasn’t in LA. But those Stanleys…
- Vladimir Tarasenko – Snipe City folks. Not many can pot ’em like Tank.
- John Tavares – This guy will drag your team out of the mud on his back and take the pay cut.
- Blake Wheeler – The blend of size, speed, and creativity… He’ll be a force in 2016 with Laine.
- Evgeni Kuznetsov – He may very well usurp Niklas Backstrom for no.1 centre in WAS in 2016.
- Johnny Gaudreau – Best “little guy” since Martin St.Louis.
- Joe Pavelski – Is there a better shot tipper in the league?
- Filip Forsberg – Will take it to the next level with Subban in town.
- Artemi Panarin – Absolutely pains me to put this guy in here after he robbed McDavid of the Calder.
- Alexander Barkov – Panthers are on the rise and he’s a major part of that.
Close but no cigar: Nikita Kucherov, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews, Jaromir Jagr, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Claude Giroux, Niklas Backstrom, Taylor Hall, Joe Thornton, Brad Marchand, and Mark Stone.
I took some value away from the older guys like Thornton and Jagr because I’m not exactly sure if they’ll keep up their pace, especially in Jagr’s case. Jumbo Joe could very well put up another 80+ points in 2016 though. Best apple tree in the league quite possibly.
McDavid is the only player worthy of being on that list from the Oilers and I would’ve liked to have put him higher but it’s really hard to argue with the NHL’s reigning scoring champ, Conn Smythe winner, and a two-time Rocket Richard winner. But here’s to hoping he’s all of those in the near future!
And one more thing to consider with 97, if he is to have the individual success that we all think or hope he’s going to have, it’s going to take the help of his teammates. Nuge, Ebs, Yak, and Looch; Drai, Pulju, Big Rig, and Pou. They’re all going to have to do their jobs so that McDavid doesn’t have to. OK/AL (Klefbom/Larsson) are going to need to stay healthy and on top of their game too. And don’t forget Cambot 5000 will need to be Curtis Joseph 2.0 as well.
This team has a long ways to go but it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life, for me… And I’m feeling good!
Who would you have in your top 20? Let us know in the comments below!