My look at the best left wingers in hockey. Where does Ovechkin rank? How about Sedin? Any surprises? Read on to find out.
I have a few general rules when it comes to building a team in a fantasy hockey keeper league. One of the more important ones is to not plan beyond a two or three year window. You are not building a real NHL club, and too often we place an emphasis on age, upside, and potential over proven veterans with gas still left in the tank. So using my general rule, take a look at your team(s). Can you realistically say you will have a shot at winning the league at some point within the next two or three seasons? If not, time to scrap the rebuild and start adding proven NHL talent.
Here are my past lists ranking the best left wingers in the NHL:
Keeping the above rule in mind, I have compiled a list of the top ten keeper league left wingers to own (assuming standard keeper league rules and scoring categories). Using the two or three season scope, I had to balance proven production with young players who are making a name for themselves in the NHL.
Clarifying what "standard categories" means, here is the league format that I am basing my selections on:
- 12 to 15 teams
- Start 4 C, 4 LW, 4 RW, 6 D, 2 G (5 Bench)
- G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP (power play points), GWG (game winning goals), Hits, SOG (shots on goal)
I put an emphasis on offensive categories. They are harder to find on draft day – it is much easier to scoop up a PIM/HITS type of player on the waiver wire than it is to get a player who fills the G/A/PPP categories nicely.
This was the first time that Alex Ovechkin wasn't at the top of my left winger list. He can easily play his way back up to the top, but his game has really fallen off over the past three or four years. There have been many reasons for that (more on Ovechkin below) – team dynamic, compete level (an overused term, I know), expectations with a big money contract, and other non-hockey related distractions, to name a few.
Heck, Ovechkin may find himself on the right winger list next year (he has been playing primarily on the right side under head coach Adam Oates).
Anyway, enough talking about the artist formerly known as the best left-winger in hockey – let's get to the list.
And one final note – this isn't the be-all, end-all of lists. I watch a lot of hockey, but many of my readers see these guys on a more frequent basis than I do (especially if it is for a team that you follow closely). I am always open to feedback, ideas, suggestions, and thoughts. I did my best to slot players into the correct positions, but in some cases, I had to make a judgement call.
1. Zach Parise – Min