The winger position isn’t the most popular in the NHL, but it’s played by some of the league’s most interesting players. From sharpshooters to elite playmakers, a wide variety of players can take up space on the flank.
Even if the protection isn’t always there, it doesn’t really matter when a player can find the back of the grid from a BB shot or find a teammate wide open on an open backdoor. In addition, six of the top ten scorers from last season in the NHL are wingers, but only two of them made it into this ranking.
Today the wingers will get the attention and respect they deserve. Here are the top 10 NHL wingers as the 2022/23 season approaches:
10. Jason Robertson | DV | Dallas Stars
Robertson has a much smaller sample size than some of the other players on this list and some of the other players vying for the No. 10 spot, but he has earned his spot. In the 2020-21 season, Robertson was a revelation for the Stars, taking his game to the next level last year. He scored 41 goals and made 38 assists. When Robertson was on the ice in a five-on-five game, Dallas controlled 58.23% of expected goals, according to the Natural Stat Trick. I don’t think it would be a huge success to compare Robertson to Matthew Tkachuk.
9. Nikita Kucherov RV | Tampa Bay Lightning
Injuries are the only thing keeping Kucherov from being much higher on this list. He missed the entire 2020/21 regular season with an injury and played in just 47 games last season. Despite all this wasted time, there’s no denying what Kucherov brings to the table when he’s healthy. To start with, his fatal shot alone makes him a valuable player for the Lightning, both on the powerplay and in five-on-five. He led the NHL in assists in 2018/19 and the last time he had under 36 assists was in 2013/14 when he was a rookie. What Kucherov lacked in the regular season over the last couple of seasons, he made up for in playoff heroism. In every Stanley Cup Lightning season in a row, Kucherov led the league in points. In the 2022 postseason, his 27 points finished fourth.
8. Jonathan Huberdeau | DV | Calgary Flames
There are some fair criticisms of how much Huberdeau is giving up in the defensive zone. However, its offensive firepower can more than make up for its shortcomings in defense. In the 2021/22 season, Huberdeau tied for second in the NHL with 115 points and led the league with 85 assists. Huberdeau is a great playmaker and one of the best at finding teammates in dangerous areas. After placing first in the top five in Hart Trophy voting last season, Huberdeau will now lead the revitalized Calgary Flames after their major offseason makeover.
7. David Pastrnak | RV | Boston Bruins
One of only two Bruins on this list, Pastrnak is the first finisher on the team’s top line. With the exception of the shortened 2020/21 season, Pastrnak has scored at least 34 goals in every season since 2016/17. Last year, Pastrnak scored 40 goals in 72 games played and his shooting percentage was still 1.2 points lower than his career average of 14.0%. On top of that, according to the Natural Stat Trick, his 15.64 expected goals were the best for the entire Bruins team. Of course, Pastrnak is not just a good shooter. He has assisted over 40 three times in his career and finished the 2021/22 season with 37 assists. At 26, Pastrnak has yet to torment opposing goalkeepers throughout his career.
6. Brad Marchand | DV | Boston Bruins
Every year we wonder when Brad Marchand will take a step back, and every year he ranks among the best players in the NHL. Like clockwork, Marchand is eclipsing or approaching the 30-goal mark, adding 40 to 60 assists. To top it off,…