NHL’s Top 10 Left Wingers for 2021-22: Midseason Update

Prior to the 2021-22 season beginning, I put lists together on the top 10 players for each position, as well as coaches. It goes without saying that it is a very tough list to do given how subjective it is, but nevertheless I am here to do it once again.

Related: NHL’s Top 10 Right Wingers for 2021-22: Midseason Update

With the 2021-22 season now half way through, there are some players who have lived up to their rankings, some who have dropped off, and some who have forced their way on with great play. With that being said, here are the top 10 left wingers for the first half of the season.

10. Kyle Connor

While the 2021-22 season has been a disappointing one for the Winnipeg Jets, the same cannot be said for Kyle Connor. The 25-year-old is having arguably the best season of his career to this point with 29 goals and 54 points through just 50 games, both of which lead his team by significant margins.

Kyle Connor Winnipeg Jets
Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Connor has been a very good winger for a number of years now, but has often been overshadowed by a team that has other offensive weapons in Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. With each of those two having down years by their standards, Connor is beginning to receive more attention throughout the league, and should continue getting talked about more moving forward.

9. Jake Guentzel

With both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin being out to start the season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, they needed players to step up, and Jake Guentzel has certainly done that. Though Crosby and Malkin have both since returned, Guentzel was and has continued to be extremely productive with 25 goals and 52 points through 46 games.

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe

Much like Connor, Guentzel is extremely underrated when it comes to discussions surrounding the games top wingers. Perhaps this season, one in which he is on pace to set new career highs, will help change that.

8. Gabriel Landeskog

The Colorado Avalanche had a tough decision to make this offseason when it came to either paying Gabriel Landeskog or letting him walk as a free agent, and based on his play this season they made the right decision in re-upping him. The 29-year-old does it all for the Avs, including not only at the offensive end of the ice, but in terms of his leadership and willingness to defend teammates at any and all times.

In just 42 games this season, Landeskog has 23 goals and 49 points. Though it took some time after being selected second overall back in 2011, he has truly turned into one of the games premier power forwards, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

7. Artemi Panarin

Though he started slow by his standards, Artemi Panarin has been fantastic as of late and is now up to 55 points in 45 games this season. The 30-year-old is the most talented player on what is a very skilled team, and is very capable of continuing this surge he is on right now for the remainder of the season.

Artemi Panarin New York Rangers
Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Some questioned the $81.5 million deal the Rangers gave Panarin during the 2019 offseason, but he has more than lived up to it to this point. Given that the team around him has improved so much in 2021-22, there will be additional pressure on him to deliver in the postseason once that time comes.

6. Chris Kreider

What a season it has been for Chris Kreider. The 30-year-old has always been a solid player, one that can be counted on for over 20 goals and 50-points in a season, but no one could have expected the 33 goals and 47 points he has in just 50 games this season.

The 33 goals are already a career high for Kreider, while the 47 points are just six shy of his career best 53 set back in 2016-17. Whether that production continues for the rest of the season remains to be seen, but it has already been a fantastic 2021-22 campaign for him regardless.

5. Brad Marchand

Early this season, it appeared Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins was trying to change his reputation. For years, despite his talent, he was thought by many first of a pest and a borderline dirty player. While he has been extremely productive while on the ice, he has sometimes caused frustration for his own fan base by making some selfish decisions that seem to put himself above the team.

That was the case again recently, as he was handed a six-game suspension for going after Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. He has since served his time and will return Thursday. The Bruins desperately need him to keep his emotions in check, as it is obvious with his 49 points through 39 games that they are a much better team when he is on the ice.

4. Kirill Kaprizov

Before making his NHL debut last season, the hockey world already knew just how much talent Kirill Kaprizov possessed. After lighting it up in the KHL for a number of years, he finally came overseas and joined the Minnesota Wild last season. He didn’t skip a beat in his rookie season, as he was able to win the Calder Trophy.

Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild Winter Classic
Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild Winter Classic (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The 24-year-old is proving last season was no fluke, as he has been even better in 2021-22 with 23 goals and 62 points in just 46 games. Even better is that he has helped turn the Wild into one of the best teams in the Western Conference.

3. Alex Ovechkin

 The ageless wonder continues to get it done, as Alex Ovechkin, at the age of 36, is currently fourth in the goal scoring race this season with 31. Normally he puts up bigger goal totals than assists, but that hasn’t been the case through 50 games this season as he has 31 helpers as well.

Though his play has slowed down recently compared to the surge he started the season at, he is still undeniably one of the games greatest talents. He should flirt with 50-goals by the time the 2021-22 season has wrapped up.

2. Johnny Gaudreau

There are several Calgary Flames who deserve credit for the team’s turnaround this season, none more so than Johnny Gaudreau. After two straight down years, the 28-year-old has been one of the best players in the entire NHL this season with 20 goals and 64 points in 49 games.

Gaudreau’s 64 points sit fourth in league scoring, and given the Flames turnaround there have been whispers lately about him creeping into the Hart Trophy discussion. He has picked a great time to have an outstanding season, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

1. Jonathan Huberdeau

The Florida Panthers are currently the leagues best offensive team, and leading the way for them is Jonathan Huberdeau. In 50 games played he has managed 70 points and trails Connor McDavid by just one for the league lead.

Jonathan Huberdeau Florida Panthers
Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Though it took far too many seasons, fans all across the league are finally beginning to realize just how dominant Huberdeau is. Hype around him could pick up even more if the Panthers are able to go on a deep playoff run this year, which certainly wouldn’t be surprising given how much talent is on their roster.