Editorials

NHL Power Rankings: Top 50 Forwards, Nos. 24-1

By Colin Likas
Jan 2, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) reacts after being named the first star of the game against the New York Islanders at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) reacts after being named the first star of the game against the New York Islanders at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 15, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (not pictured) during the second period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports /

Tarasenko is one of my personal-favorite forwards despite playing for St. Louis. The Russian has come out as a ridiculous force in the offensive end the last two seasons, requiring every team’s best defenders to shut him down. He sees the ice like few others do and has a snipe that’s pretty close to unstoppable. He also has a nice bit of size that can serve him well in driving to the net, either to score himself or dish the puck off for a teammate’s easy tap-in.. Right wing. . Vladimir Tarasenko. 12. team. 99

Evgeny Kuznetsov. 11. team. 19. Kuznetsov exploded onto the NHL scene last season on a team filled with talent. The 24-year-old turned into one of the best puck dishers in the league, finishing with 57 assists in 77 games. He also crushed in possession with a 53.1 percent Corsi-for mark last season. Kuznetsov is extremely talented with the puck and a frightening piece with how quickly he went from bit player to top-six forward last season.. Center.

. Evgeni Malkin. 10. team. 92. Despite injury issues throughout his NHL career, Malkin has proved to be one of the most unpredictable forwards in the offensive end. He’s maxed out at 113 points in a season and has cleared 100 three times. He produced at better than a point per game last season and can eat up a lot of minutes. He struggles at the dot, but his offensive prowess far outweighs that and makes him a player any team would want.. Center

team. 106. He’s produced at close to or better than a point-per-game average in all of his NHL seasons. He wins a lot of faceoffs (51.1 percent for his career), takes a lot of shots (250 last season) and isn’t in the penalty box a lot. Tavares is a guy you can build a team around, as he has a potent shot but also enough size to produce from the home plate area of the ice.. Center. . John Tavares. 9

. Tyler Seguin. 8. team. 119. The Bruins will also regret dumping Seguin so quickly. The Stars now have a 24-year-old who hasn’t even reached his prime, who has surpassed 72 points each of the last three seasons, who wins a fair number of faceoffs and who makes pretty much anyone around him better. He’s not afraid to use his size to get to the tough areas of the ice, and he also has a shot on par with the league’s best.. Center

148. Won’t be long before Edmonton gives up on McDavid, too. But while the team has him, it has one of the league’s best. He legitimately could’ve won the Calder Trophy despite playing half a season. He posted 48 points in just 45 games and carried the puck at a 53.5 percent rate. He sees the ice really well and can make passes few others can, and he also has a nice amount of size to make him difficult to stop below the goal line.. Center. . Connor McDavid. 7. team

Jamie Benn. 6. team. 119. You can see how good Benn is when you notice Seguin has been injured for parts of the last two seasons and Benn just never stopped producing. He led the league in points last season, topped that total by two points last season and surpassed 40 goals last season. There are few guys who are as difficult to stop and as potent between the circles as Benn.. Left wing.

5. team. 23. There’s a reason Stamkos Watch never ended last season. He may not be the best at the dot, but he’s among the league’s best at everything else. He ‘s hit 60 goals in a season once, and 43 or more three other times. He has nice size, he has nice speed and he has a dirty snipe. He’s absolutely lethal on the powerplay and protects the puck well, too. There’s pretty much nothing the guy can’t do, and he’s essentially a captain for life in the NHL.. Center. . Steven Stamkos

70. The constant Selke Trophy finalist is the best in the league at what he does in being a defensive forward. He posted his highest point total last season (68) since 2006-07 and is in the midst of his prime at age 31. He’s lethal in all three aspects of the game, he wins an incredible number of faceoffs (58.3 percent for his career) and flips the ice in an insane way (57.2 career Corsi-for with 54.6 percent of his career zone starts coming in the defensive end). He’s also made guys like Brad Marchand look like offensive dynamos. Why wouldn’t you want Bergeron?. Center. . Patrice Bergeron. 4. team

Ovi sometimes gets a bad wrap for not getting back on defense, but man is this guy an offensive stud. Ovechkin has led the league each of the last four seasons in goals, posting 50 or more each of the last three seasons and at least 50 in seven NHL seasons. He’s surpassed 100 points four times, he has a huge physique that makes him hard to take the puck from and he can snipe the puck with the best of them. He’ll go down as one of the best offensive players in league history.. Left wing. . Alexander Ovechkin. 3. team. 19

94. At least you know what you’re getting when you face Ovechkin. That’s not even remotely the case with Kane, who’s the most unpredictable forward in the league. He became the first American-born player to win the Hart Trophy this season, surpassed 100 points last season for the first time and is just 27 years old. He’s entering his prime and could easily produce 100 or more points the next several seasons. He makes everyone around him insanely better (Panarin, a prime example) and has actually improved on the defensive end and backcheck in recent years.. Right wing. . Patrick Kane. 2. team

1. team. 92. Crosby is the best player in the league until further notice, despite the injury issues he’s dealt with. He’s surpassed 100 points five times and has been in the running for some major award in each of his NHL seasons. He’s not the biggest player, but he still finds a way to make it near impossible to take the puck off his stick. He can score from pretty much anywhere on the ice and constantly has his head up, making him a lethal offensive presence. He’s also won 52.6 percent of his career faceoffs, making him double trouble. Many people are bothered by Crosby, but he’s the all-around best NHL forward right now.. Center. . Sidney Crosby

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