Today, we’ll continue with #TheList’s Top 25 NHL Left Wingers, starting with #20. Missed this weekend’s post on #25-21? Catch up here. But now, let’s check out what players cracked #TheList’s Top 20, and what surprising team features features two of the next five:
20. David Perron, St. Louis Blues
A first round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, David Perron has spent his entire six-year career with the team that drafted him, the St. Louis Blues. As a 19-year old rookie in 2007-08, Perron played in 62 games for the Blues, scoring 13 goals and adding 14 assists. In the following season, Perron scored 15 times en route to a career-high 50 point season.
Injuries have rattled Perron as of late, as he played in just 67 games combined in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, providing the Blues with 49 points. This season, Perron has managed to stay healthy, but hasn’t been able to find the net effectively, producing just 25 points in 45 games. Perron had arguably his best season last year, so look for him to pick it back up in a full season for 2013-14, and watch as the Blues ride – or die – along with the success of Perron.
19. Michael Cammalleri, Calgary Flames
Despite his inconsistency, Michael Cammalleri has proved to be one of the most skilled left wingers in the NHL over the past few seasons. A second round draft pick in 2001 by Los Angeles, Cammalleri spent five seasons with the Kings. In 2006-07, Cammalleri scored 34 goals and 80 points for the Kings, both of which were career highs at the time. A season later, Cammalleri was traded to Calgary, where he set new career-highs in goals (39) and points (82) for the Flames.
Cammalleri became a household name during the playoffs for Montreal in 2010, as he was a point-per-game player, scoring 13 goals, 6 assists, and 19 points in the same amount of games for the Canadiens as they reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
Cammalleri was traded for the second time in his career in January 2012, this time from Montreal back to his former home in Calgary, where he’s played since. This season, Cammalleri leads a struggling Flames team in points, and has posted his best per-game numbers since 2009-10.
18. Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
The second overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, Gabriel Landeskog emerged onto the scene in Colorado and took the NHL by storm. In his rookie season, Landeskog played in all 82 games for the Avs, scoring 22 goals and adding 30 assists. Despite not making the playoffs, Landeskog was named the Calder Trophy winner for the NHL’s best rookie, as his 52 points was tied for the league lead amongst rookies (with 2011 first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins).
Landeskog has struggled this season, scoring just nine goals in 33 games for Colorado. It doesn’t help that the Avs are the worst team in the West, but Landeskog’s poor showing definitely may cause some concern for Colorado fans. With that said, the 20-year old had a bit of a sophomore slump this year, but expect him to fully bounce back for the 2013-14 campaign. With barely over 100 games in his NHL career, it’s hard to write off Landeskog for a poor showing in a locked out season, and I think he’ll definitely develop into at least a top-10 winger by age 22.
17. Loui Eriksson, Dallas Stars
When you think of the NHL’s top wingers, there’s a good chance Loui Eriksson is not one of the names you’d come up with. Yet, here we are, putting him down at number 17, and for a good reason:
Over the past three full seasons, only five NHL players have finished the season in the top-25 in points all three times. Any guesses? Sidney Crosby? Nope. Evgeni Malkin? Not quite. OK, OK, Alex Ovechkin? Nu uh.
I’ll stop teasing, so here they are: Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Anze Kopitar, Henrik Sedin, and Loui Eriksson. That’s right, the Dallas Stars’ Loui Eriksson. Now I’m not saying that Loui Eriksson is a top-5 player, but that’s a terrific class of five guys who consistently put up points, year in and year out, and Eriksson happens one of those guys. His 28 points in 45 games this season is nothing to write home about, but it’s always hard to judge a player’s performance in a shortened season like we have this year. Regardless, Loui Eriksson remains one of the top wingers in the NHL that easily slides under the radar for his consistent performance. And, sometimes, it’s those types of players that can wreck the most havoc on opposing teams.
16. P.A. Parenteau, Colorado Avalanche
Speaking of guys that don’t always get the credit they deserve, meet P.A. Parenteau. I was a huge fan of Parenteau during the past two seasons with the Islanders, and his journey West to Colorado hasn’t deterred him at all from becoming one of the NHL’s top players. He’s a bit up there in age (30), and it took him a while to finally get to the NHL, but Parenteau has emerged over the past three seasons like very few players have in the NHL, and is one of the NHL’s great passers of today.
In 2010-11 with the Isles, Parenteau notched 33 assists and 53 points in 81 games. The following season, he played 80 games and set a career-high in assists (49) and points (67). Now, in 2012-13, he’s on his best point-per-game ratio of his career, putting up 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists) in 45 games.
He’s gotten better each year over the past three seasons, so it will be interesting to see whether he plateaus out next year or continues to improve. Here’s an interesting fact, though: having played in five NHL seasons for three different teams (Blackhawks, Islanders, Avalanche), Parenteau has never played in an NHL playoff game. It would be great to see a guy with this kind of playmaking ability in the postseason to see what he can do when the pressure gets turned on.
Questions, comments, or concerns? We’d love to hear what you have to say! Tell us below.