Top 5 Forward Duos in the NHL

Finding the right line combinations is key to any hockey team’s success, and it can often take several seasons to find the perfect trio. Once the right one is in place, two players will usually develop stronger chemistry because of their complementary playing styles. There have been some stand-out duos in the NHL so far this season, but these five are at the top of the list.

5. Edmonton Oilers – Connor McDavid and Evander Kane 

At 26 years of age, Connor McDavid is an NHL superstar. He was drafted by the Oilers first overall in 2015 and has been a point-per-game player ever since. He had a career-high of 153 points last season. He’s won the Hart Trophy three times, awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player. His speed and playmaking ability make him the Oilers’ most valuable offensive weapon.

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The Oilers signed Evander Kane on Jan. 27, 2022, and he quickly became an asset to the top line. Last season, a wrist injury sidelined him for a chunk of the year, but the Oilers are excited to get him back out on the ice. He has great chemistry with McDavid, and he pays attention to the details of the game. He also brings a big, physical presence to the top line that complements his linemates perfectly.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning – Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov

The Tampa Bay Lightning made an early exit from the playoffs last season losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. However, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov are determined to keep the Lightning among the NHL’s most elite. Kucherov remained one of the team’s top scorers racking up 113 points last year. He also came in second in the league in assists with 83. During the 2018-19 season, he earned the Hart Memorial Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award. He has a career total of 276 goals and 729 points.

Brayden Point Tampa Bay Lightning
Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Point became a breakout star for the Lightning during the 2017-18 season. Last season, he played in 82 games and scored 51 goals and had a total of 95 points. He has been steadily improving his offensive and defensive game, and it appears both he and Kucherov will be healthy heading into October. The Lightning have a dangerous one-two punch in the pair, and are fully planning to chase another Stanley Cup Championship.

3. Pittsburgh Penguins – Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel 

Last year, the Pittsburgh Penguins missed the postseason for the first time in over a decade and a half. However, captain Sidney Crosby is coming off his 18th season and playing some of the best hockey of his career. He just recorded his 11th 30-goal season and had a total of 93 points last year. He has taken his team to four Stanley Cup Finals and won three championships.

Crosby is an all-time great, and Jake Guentzel complements him perfectly. Guentzel is a smart player who is not afraid to put himself in harm’s way to score goals. He is extremely competitive, and the Penguins will need him to continue playing at a high level this year if they plan to make it back to the playoffs. Crosby and Guentzel seem to play better under pressure and in traffic. They are known for their give-and-go plays beneath the goal line and have the ability to create separation better than any other duo in the league.

2. Colorado Avalanche – Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen

The Colorado Avalanche did not repeat as Stanley Cup champions last year, however, Nathan MacKinnon fully plans to chase another championship this season. The Avalanche struggled with injuries throughout last season and never were able to find a good rhythm. Despite this, Colorado still managed to put up 109 points on the year. MacKinnon ended the season with 42 goals and 69 assists for a total of 111 points. He was the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft and has since been a driving force for the Avalanche. He is about to begin his 11th season in the league and has so far had five 30-goal seasons. He has the ability to dominate all aspects of the offensive game and will now finish out his career in Colorado.

Related: Edmonton Oilers with 100-Point Seasons

Mikko Rantanen may not be as flashy as MacKinnon, however, he is a strong, dependable forward. At 6’4 and 215 pounds, the right winger is a strong skater and has the ability to make plays out of thin air. Last season he played in all 82 regular season games and scored 55 goals and had a total of 105 points. He has a dangerous shot, and could very well have another 50-goal season.

1. Vegas Golden Knights – Mark Stone and Chandler Stephenson

The Vegas Golden Knights are the reigning Stanley Cup Champions and Chandler Stephenson played a huge part in that. Stephenson has been a powerhouse in Vegas since he joined the team in December 2019. He finished last season with a career-high of 65 points as well as a 58.09 win percentage in faceoffs. His speed and puck-handling skills make him a dangerous weapon.

There is no denying that Mark Stone is a cornerstone in Vegas. Unfortunately, Stone has been battling with injuries for the last two years. Last season, he had his second back surgery in less than a year and missed the last three months of the regular season. He made it back in time for the playoffs and had 24 points in 22 playoff games. He has an uncanny ability to read plays and always be a step ahead. If he can stay healthy this year, there is a chance the Golden Knights will repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

In today’s NHL getting to the net and scoring goals is more difficult than ever. The players on this list are not only goal scorers but also excel in all areas of offense, which is why they are fixtures on the top line.