Ranking NHL Teams By Forwards

*This article was originally written by Eugene Helfrick

Unlike goaltenders and defensemen, the forwards are usually the heartbeat of every franchise. Whether scoring hundreds of points, backchecking hard enough to win awards, or winning important faceoffs to gain possession in the dying minutes of a game, there’s nothing forwards can’t do to help the team nightly.

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Ultimately, this is one of the most controversial rankings since many may feel their team is unjustifiably ranked lower than they should be. Obviously, this could be true if there is a significant drop-off in point production from the top line to the bottom. Realistically, the top teams in the league get wins and advance in the playoffs thanks to contributions from everyone in the lineup, not just one or two players.

How These Rankings Came Together

Considering that nobody has played a game yet in 2023-24, we had to use statistics from 2022-23 and rank these skaters based on their age, points, and shots, which indicates their abilities to generate scoring chances. Furthermore, before anyone gets upset about why this was the chosen category to determine their rankings, this is how we came to this decision.

Realistically, every team runs a power play unit, but not everyone gets to play on the special teams, so how is it fair to rank every skater based on that statistic? Moreover, we can’t base team rankings on faceoff wins because not every forward takes draws. Finally, we couldn’t keep the plus/minus ratings as a determining factor due to how many points these players tend to rack up on special teams.

Related: The Best NHL Forwards Ever: A Lineup For the Ages

Ultimately, shots are critical to the game because if you don’t take shots, the puck will never be near the net, and there will be no scoring chances. Of course, people will think these rankings make no sense, but if you look at the statistics, some of the best offensive teams have the most shots, and vice versa for the bottom teams.

Overall, we used projected lineups available at DailyFaceoff.com as a guideline. Furthermore, many players changed teams during the offseason, so their statistics from 2022-23 apply to their new club’s totals, even though they were not part of the group last year. So, for example, when discussing the New Jersey Devils, their combined point totals jumped with the addition of Tyler Toffoli.

Considering these are just projections, there is no right or wrong answer, so if you disagree with our rankings, please let us know in the comments. Enjoy.

32 – Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin75294Evgeny Kuznetsov55172Tom Wilson2282
Sonny Milano3380Nicklas Backstrom2159T.J. Oshie35126
Joe Snively316Dylan Strome65154Anthony Mantha27119
Aliaksei Protas1583Nic Dowd2562Nicolas Aube-Kubel1267
Max Pacioretty316

Average age: 26.4 / Total Points: 467 / Total Shots: 1706

The Washington Capitals are just five seasons removed from winning the Stanley Cup in 2018; however, the team hasn’t advanced out of the first round since and didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season. As the second-oldest group of forwards in the league, the team scored the fifth-fewest points last year while managing just the third-fewest shots.

Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Outside of Alex Oveckin’s chase of the goal record, the Capitals should consider getting younger and more productive. Ultimately, their window as a contender is almost shut, so the team needs to plan for the next generation when their captain decides to retire.

Related: Wayne Gretzky, Alex Ovechkin and the Goalies They Scored On

31 – Chicago Blackhawks

Taylor Hall36150Connor Bedard00Lukas Reichel1542
Andreas Athanasiou 40175Tyler Johnson32125Taylor Raddysh37129
Philipp Kurashev25116Jason Dickinson30114Colin Blackwell1053
Nick Foligno2671Ryan Donato27122Corey Perry25116
Cole Guttman626Mackenzie Entwistle1050Boris Katchouk1658

Average age: 27.8 / Total Points: 335 / Total Shots: 1357

After winning the NHL Draft Lottery and selecting generational star Connor Bedard with the top pick, the Chicago Blackhawks should see a slight improvement in the next rankings. Unfortunately, it will be another long season in the Windy City since the team employed the lowest-scoring forwards in the league. Although some personnel changes have occurred, these moves were not drastic enough to turn them into a contender for a playoff spot. Even with Bedard joining the ranks, the Blackhawks remain one of the older lineups.

30 – San Jose Sharks

Alex Barabanov47120Tomas Hertl63183Luke Kunin1358
Mike Hoffman34148Logan Couture67198Anthony Duclair943
Filip Zadina751Mikael Grandlund41121Fabian Zetterlund23118
Oskar Lindblom1575Nico Sturm26119Kevin Labanc33129
William Eklund318Givani Smith430

Average age: 27.3 / Total Points: 385 / Total Shots: 1411

After decades of being a serious contender in the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks are in a complete rebuild. Once they traded away Timo Meier and Erik Karlsson, the only players left in the lineup with more than 50 points were Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl. The forwards remain one of the league’s lowest-scoring units (29th) and don’t create many scoring opportunities with the 27th-ranked shots on goal. Considering everyone knows the Sharks will continue to restructure their lineup for the future, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they dropped down in future rankings.

29 – Nashville Predators

Filip Forsberg42157Ryan O’Reilly30102Gustav Nyquist27102
Denis Gurianov17116Thomas Novak4393Luke Evangelista1554
Juuso Parssinen2549Cody Glass35131Philip Tomasino1854
Kiefer Sherwood1357Colton Sissons3087Yakov Trenin24140
Mark Jankowski1257Cole Smith1784

Average age: 26.7 / Total Points: 348 / Total Shots: 1236

After failing to make the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons last year, the Nashville Predators altered their lineup this summer by acquiring players Ryan O’Reilly and Gustav Nyquist. Ultimately, the team suffered offensively, with Filip Forsberg only skating in 50 games, which is part of why the team missed the postseason by just a handful of points.

Filip Forsberg Nashville Predators
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

However, despite the additions, the Predators’ forwards took the least amount of shots last year, resulting in the second-lowest-scoring lineup in the league. Even though they were ranked much higher in the previous year’s ratings, it was a tough season in Nashville, which resulted in a drastic drop.

28 – New York Islanders

Oliver Wahlstrom1670Bo Horvat70229Mathew Barzal51139
Anders Lee50214Brock Nelson75222Kyle Palmieri33122
Pierre Engvall30131Jean-Gabriel Pageau40123Hudson Fasching1961
Matt Martin1982Casey Cizikas21111Cal Clutterbuck1244
Ross Johnston22Julien Gauthier1453Karson Kuhlman748

Average age: 29.3 / Total Points: 459 / Total Shots: 1651

The New York Islanders didn’t participate that much in free agency this summer, just re-signing a handful of their players. Realistically, after appearing in the Eastern Conference Final in back-to-back years in 2020 and 2021, the team has stagnated and doesn’t have an influx of youth to carry the club into the future. Even though New York will have an entire season with Bo Horvat, some of their cornerstone players, like Matt Barzal and Anders Lee, need to produce more than 50 points, or it will be up to netminder Ilya Sorokin to carry this team back to the postseason.

27 – Philadelphia Flyers

Joel Farabee39145Morgan Frost46155Owen Tippett49231
Scott Laughton43170Sean Couturier00Travis Konecy61191
Cam Atkinson00Noah Cates38107Wade Allison1589
Nicolas Deslauriers1270Ryan Poehling1464Garnet Hathaway2288
Tyson Foerster715Tanner Laczynski423

Average age: 26.6 / Total Points: 350 / Total Shots: 1348

Considering how passionate fans are of the Philadelphia Flyers, they have to be disappointed with how the team continuously underperforms every season, watching their championship drought reach 48 years. After the 2022-23 season, the Flyers employed only one forward who scored over 50 points (Travis Konecny), which resulted in just 350 points from all forwards, ranking 30th overall. They don’t create many opportunities, with just 1,348 shots (29th). Thankfully, the team is under new management now, and these former players want to see the Flyers restored to their glory days.

26 – Boston Bruins

James van Riemsdyk29119Pavel Zacha57131David Pastrnak113407
Brad Marchand67183Charlie Coyle45139Jake DeBrusk50191
Jakub Lauko717Morgan Geekie2881Trent Frederic31120
Milan Lucic1973Jesper Boqvist2167A.J. Greer1266
Patrick Brown1260

Average age: 28.7 / Total Points: 491 / Total Shots: 1654

The Boston Bruins just recorded the greatest statistical regular season of all time; however, the team is entering a new era since Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have retired. Of course, the unit employs 60-goal scorer David Pastrnak and 67-point scorer Brad Marchand, but the team desperately needs centers to complement these gifted wingers. Considering the Bruins have outstanding defensive players, the offense will be hard to come by in Boston this year since the team only got older in free agency.

25 – Calgary Flames

Jonathan Huberdeau55126Elias Lindholm64186Yegor Sharangovich30131
Dillion Dube45151Nazem Kadri56267Matt Coronato04
Andrew Mangiapane43182Mikael Backlund56260Blake Coleman38188
Jakob Pelletier748Adam Ruzicka2064Walker Duehr1147

Average age: 26.9 / Total Points: 425 / Total Shots: 1654

The Calgary Flames were serious Stanley Cup contenders just two seasons ago. Despite losing key players in the preceding offseason, the team added Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri to fill the gaps. However, the Flames struggled in 2022-23, playing in the most one-goal games and missing the playoffs by a couple of points.

Elias Lindholm Calgary Flames
Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Overall, the lineup lacks killer instinct, and it may show more this year after Tyler Toffoli left this summer. Although the team has a new head coach (Ryan Huska) and general manager (Craig Conroy), a handful of players like Elias Lindholm need bounceback years, or this may be the last season this group of forwards plays together.

Related: Flames Have 3 Short-Term Replacements for Elias Lindholm

24 – Vegas Golden Knights

Ivan Barbashev45126Jack Eichel66223Jonathan Marchessault57234
Brett Howden1353Chandler Stephenson65120Mark Stone38113
Paul Cotter1876William Karlsson56161Mike Amadio2799
Will Carrier25118Nicolas Roy30101Keegan Kolesar1863
Pavel Dorofeyev940

Average age: 27 / Total Points: 464 / Total Shots: 1527

Many will wonder why the defending Stanley Cup champions rank so low. Well, the reasoning is inside the numbers. Despite winning it all, the Golden Knights are a team that accomplishes their goals by committee, with four players who tallied 50 or more points last season. After that, the production takes a dip with just one 40-point and 30-point players. Although Jack Eichel leads the team offensively, everyone contributes on the scoresheet, but the totals rank among the bottom third in points and shots.

23 – Montreal Canadiens

Cole Caufield36158Nick Suzuki66162Kirby Dach38107
Alex Newhook30116Christian Dvorak6488Josh Anderson32164
Juraj Slafkovsky1042Jake Evans1955Brendan Gallagher1493
Rafael Harvey-Pinard2058Sean Monahan1755Joel Armia1469
Michael Pezzetta1570Jesse Ylonen1643

Average age: 25.2 / Total Points: 391 / Total Shots: 1280

Interestingly, the Montreal Canadiens have the second-youngest lineup in the league heading into 2023-24, but that inexperience shows, with only two players scoring over 38 points last year. Considering their general manager recently said that the team is not quite ready to compete in the tough Atlantic Division, the future is bright in Montreal, with Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, and Juraj Slafkovsky leading the way. Ultimately, until the team can improve in all areas, they will continue to find themselves in the league’s bottom half, either winning the draft lottery or competing for it.

22 – Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos84240Brayden Point95235Nikita Kucherov113271
Brandon Hagel64178Anthony Cirelli29111Conor Sheary37154
Michael Eyssimont15124Nick Paul32120Tanner Jeannot18107
Logan Brown618Luke Glendening665Tyler Motte19109
Alex Barre-Boulet01

Average age: 28 / Total Points: 518 / Total Shots: 1733

In 2022-23, the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in four years. Despite a subpar ending to their season, the Lightning continues to lose players from their championship run while keeping several of their core players under contract. Statistically, they remain one of the older lineups in the league but have experience in winning important games and scoring big goals. Eventually, these cornerstone players will retire, forcing Tampa Bay to consider how to stay competitive with a new group of younger forwards.

21 – Arizona Coyotes

Clayton Keller88223Barrett Hayton43178Nick Schmaltz58132
Matias Maccelli4961Logan Cooley00Jason Zucker48197
Alex Kerfoot32133Nick Bjugstad29145Dylan Guenther1553
Jack McBain2685Travis Boyd3494Lawson Crouse45151
Jakub Voracek617Brian Little00Liam O’Brien1139
Michael Carcone315

Average age: 26.8 / Total Points: 485 / Total Shots: 1523

The Arizona Coyotes may still have an uncertain future regarding staying in the desert. However, with head coach André Tourigny remaining at the helm, optimism surrounds the club for the first time. Outside of Clayton Keller potting 86 points last year, only Nick Schmaltz tallied over 50 points, making them the team’s leading scorers. However, now that former top pick Logan Cooley is coming to town, the 2023-24 season just got much more exciting for the fanbase.

Related: Coyotes’ Logan Cooley Is Team’s Next Star

20 – Seattle Kraken

Jared McCann70210Matthew Beniers57148Jordan Eberle63177
Jaden Schwartz40167Alex Wennberg38101Andre Burakovsky39105
Eeli Tolvanen31116Yanni Gourde48141Oliver Bjorkstrand45198
Brandon Tanev35115Pierre-Edouard Bellemare1351Kailer Yamamoto2597
Kole Lind835

Average age: 28.2 / Total Points: 512 / Total Shots: 1661

The Seattle Kraken took great strides last season by qualifying for the playoffs in their second season. Ultimately, a massive factor in the team’s success was Matthew Beniers, who won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year with 57 points in 80 games. Statistically, he finished as the team’s fourth leading scorer behind Jared McCann (40 goals), Vince Dunn (64 points), and Jordan Eberle (20 goals). Considering the team had six players score 20 or more goals, and 13 players reach double digits, the Kraken win games by committee, which means if the system stays the same, they should be back in the playoffs in 2023-24.

19 – Colorado Avalanche

Jonathan Drouin2969Nathan MacKinnon111366Mikko Rantanen105306
Artturi Lehkonen51150Ryan Johansen2886Valeri Nichushkin47158
Miles Wood27167Ross Colton32153Logan O’Connor26104
Andrew Cogliano1985Jean-Luc Foudy012Frederik Olofsson434
Gabriel Landeskog00Chris Wagner00Ben Meyers433

Average age: 27.6 / Total Points: 483 / Total Shots: 1723

Seeing the Colorado Avalanche rank so low when Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen scored over 100 points is unbelievable. However, regarding offensive production from forwards, the next closest person to these All-Stars is Artturi Lehkonen, who had 51 points. Outside of the performances of Cale Makar and Alexandar Georgiev, the Avalanche barely won the Central Division last year and failed to repeat as champions, losing in the first round. Realistically, the team misses captain Gabriel Landeskog, who remains out after dealing with ongoing knee issues.

18 – Anaheim Ducks

Adam Henrique38132Trevor Zegras65184Troy Terry61188
Alex Killorn64143Mason McTavish43161Ryan Strome41130
Frank Vatrano41231Leo Carlsson00Jakob Silfverberg26141
Max Jones19107Benoit-Olivier Groulx02Brett Leason951
Brock McGinn1991Isac Lunderstrom1460Sam Carrick750

Average age: 26.7 / Total Points: 447 / Total Shots: 1671

The Anaheim Ducks drafted Leo Carlsson with the third overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. As one of the best prospects in the draft, he will join a very talented group of forwards in Southern California, which includes Troy Terry, Mason McTavish, and Trevor Zegras.

Leo Carlsson Anaheim Ducks
Leo Carlsson, Anaheim Ducks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Surprisingly, the team has a solid mix of youth and veteran presence in the lineup, but with some question marks on defense and in goal. Unfortunately, the team hasn’t been competitive since former players Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were in their prime. Ultimately, if everyone stays patient with this rebuild, the Ducks will again contend for the Stanley Cup.

Related: Predicting the Ducks’ Next 100-Point Getter

17 – St. Louis Blues

Pavel Buchnevich67123Robert Thomas65106Jordan Kyrou73272
Brandon Saad37127Brayden Schenn65144Kasperi Kapanen34116
Jake Neighbours1053Kevin Hayes54209Jakub Vrana1663
Alexei Toropchenko1986Oskar Sundqvist2869Sammy Blais2570
Tanner Dickinson00Nikita Alexandrov728

Average age: 26.2 / Total Points: 500 / Total Shots: 1466

Statistically, the St. Louis Blues employ the oldest defensive players in the league. However, they have the seventh-youngest group of forwards, with just two players over 30 in the lineup. Additionally, the team makes the most of their scoring opportunities, with five players collecting 50 or more points, led by Jordan Kyrou (73). Although the team has some flaws and needs to keep netminder Jordan Binnington in check, the Blues could be a playoff team and cause some damage when clicking.

16 – Minnesota Wild

Kirill Kaprizov75261Ryan Hartman37149Mats Zuccarello67198
Matthew Boldy63255Joel Eriksson Ek61247Marcus Johansson46137
Marcus Foligno2183Frederick Gaudreau38138Brandon Duhaime1080
Patrick Maroon8062Marco Rossi113Connor Dewar1887
Pavel Novak00

Average age: 27.6 / Total Points: 517 / Total Shots: 1710

The Minnesota Wild have always been known as a defense-first style of team, but their forwards scored the 11th most points last season. Considering they employ one of the game’s most exciting young forwards, Kirill Kaprizov, general manager Bill Guerin has a centerpiece to build a lineup around. Although he had a down year in 2022-23, he is the heartbeat of the Minnesota offense, and with the addition of three-time Stanley Cup champion Pat Maroon, the Wild will remain one of the top teams in the Central Division.

15 – Pittsburgh Penguins

Reilly Smith56180Sidney Crosby93255Rickard Rakell60243
Alex Nylander211Evgeni Malkin83240Bryan Rust46211
Drew O’Connor1162Lars Eller23140Jeff Carter29139
Matthew Nieto24115Noel Acciari23102Rem Pitlick1530
Jake Guentzel73244

Average age: 31 / Total Points: 538 / Total Shots: 1972

Once upon a time, the Pittsburgh Penguins had the game’s youngest and brightest stars, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Today, they are the club’s elder statesmen with Hall of Fame resumes. Statistically, the Penguins employ the oldest forwards in the league, with an average age of 31. However, they rank in the top ten in points (10th) and shots (5th), meaning their experience is something you can’t put a price on. Interestingly, the team just snapped a 16-year playoff streak, which will be the reason the team comes out and has a bounceback year in 2023-24.

14 – Winnipeg Jets

Kyle Connor80273Mark Scheifele68206Mikolaj Ehlers38132
Cole Perfetti3090Gabrial Vilardi41122Alex Iaffallo36133
Nino Niederreiter41181Adam Lowry361261Mason Appleton1671
Morgan Barron21112Rasmus Kupari1553Vladislav Namestnikov25108
David Gustafsson645Axel Jonsson-Fjallby1454

Average age: 26.4 / Total Points: 467 / Total Shots: 1706

Whether fans and the organization want to admit it, there will be a very intriguing season in Winnipeg, as the Jets appear to be heading into an era of uncertainty. Considering franchise icons Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele are set to become unrestricted free agents this year, this lineup could look drastically different next year. Besides these two players, the forwards are led by five-time 30-goal scorer Kyle Connor, and with the addition of Gabriel Vilardi this offseason, the future is bright despite the potential roster shakeup. Although the team is better with Scheifele in the lineup, they could set themselves up for a brighter future if they get a return on a trade.

13 – New York Rangers

Chris Kreider54229Mika Zibanejad91251Kaapo Kakko40125
Artemi Panarin92204Vincent Trocheck64225Blake Wheeler55126
Alexis Lafreniere39135Filip Chytil45177Jimmy Vesey25123
Barclay Goodrow3189Nick Bonino1991Tyler Pitlick1654
Alex Belzile1440

Average age: 29.6 / Total Points: 585 / Total Shots: 1869

The New York Rangers have the talent amongst their forwards to contend for the Stanley Cup and win it more than once. However, the team continues to stumble in the playoffs, not appearing in the Final since 2014. Since then, the Blueshirts have acquired stars Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, and Vincent Trocheck.

Mika Zibanejad New York Rangers
Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Additionally, they have top draft picks Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko for the present and the future. Despite their best efforts, the team doesn’t win a lot if the big names are not producing, so netminder Igor Shesterkin has to stand on his head to get wins. Unfortunately, the team didn’t get any younger with their offseason acquisitions, but maybe some more veterans in the lineup will help the team get over the hump.

Related: Ottawa Senators: Revisiting the Mika Zibanejad Trade

12 – Edmonton Oilers

Zach Hyman83276Connor McDavid153352Connor Brown02
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins104201Leon Draisaitl128247Evander Kane28146
Mattias Janmark2579Ryan McLeod2378Warren Foegele28126
Dylan Holloway944Lane Pederson627Derek Ryan2092
Raphael Lavoie00

Average age: 27.6 / Total Points: 607 / Total Shots: 1670

The Edmonton Oilers employ the world’s two best hockey players, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who combined for 281 points last year. Although Ryan Nugent-Hopkins finally cracked 100 points with 104, the offense dropped after Zach Hyman (83 points). Statistically, there wasn’t a single skater in the lineup to tally more than 28 points, which included Evander Kane, who missed a portion of the season with an injury. Considering this team only scores and wins games because of a lethal powerplay, the team’s 5-on-5 subpar play got exposed in the playoffs, resulting in an early elimination. Of course, the pressure is on to win with McDavid at the helm, so this could be another make-it-or-break-it year in the Alberta capital.

11 – Columbus Blue Jackets

Johnny Gaudreau74220Boone Jenner45214Patrik Laine52184
Kent Johnson40126Adam Fantilli00Kirill Marchenko25131
Emil Bemstrom2295Cole Sillinger1193Jack Roslovic44123
Eric Robinson2498Sean Kuraly20100Alex Texier49189
Justin Danforth310Olivier Mathieu1575Liam Foudy1467

Average age: 25 / Total Points: 438 / Total Shots: 1725

If anyone had to guess which team has the youngest forwards, very few people would expect the Columbus Blue Jackets to be the answer. Considering the team already has Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine lighting the lamp, they are about to welcome recent second-overall pick Adam Fantilli to the ranks, making them an exciting team to watch this season. Of course, the team has several flaws, mainly on the back end with their defenders and goalies, but with a new head coach, things are about to change in Columbus.

10 – Detroit Red Wings

Lucas Raymond45134Dylan Larkin27244Alex DeBrincat66263
Jonatan Berggren2898J.T. Compher52154David Perron56195
Robby Fabbri1635Andrew Copp42120Daniel Sprong46147
Klim Kostin2156Michael Rasmussen2988Christian Fischer27122
Joseph Veleno2085

Average age: 26 / Total Points: 475 / Total Shots: 1741

For decades, the Detroit Red Wings were a model franchise, built with veterans who wanted to win and late-round draft picks who turned into Hall of Famers. Once considered the team to beat, the Red Wings have recently fallen onto hard times and entered their first rebuild since the late 1980s. Now that franchise icon Steve Yzerman is restructuring the lineup, he made one of the most significant offseason moves by acquiring 40-goal scorer Alex DeBrincat to add another offensive weapon to the arsenal. Although Detroit is in an ultra-competitive Atlantic Division, the team continues progressing closer to regaining its contender status.

9 – Toronto Maple Leafs

Tyler Bertuzzi30107Auston Matthews85327Mitch Marner99196
Max Domi56179John Tavares80277William Nylander87293
Matthew Knies14David Kampf27107Calle Jarnkrok39106
Sam Lafferty27102Dylan Gambrell1046Ryan Reaves1548
Nicholas Robertson527Pontus Holmberg1327

Average age: 27.2 / Total Points: 574 / Total Shots: 1846

The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the game’s most talented forward groups, led by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares. Although they had the sixth-best totals in 2022-23 and ranked amongst the best in creating chances with shots, the team isn’t getting any younger, and eventually, this group will either win together or disband.

William Nylander Toronto Maple Leafs
William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

Unfortunately, the regular season doesn’t transcend into the playoffs, and Toronto has won four playoff series this century, resulting from players not executing in the most important games. Ultimately, this season will be interesting to follow since Nylander is set to become a free agent next summer, followed by Marner and Tavares in 2025.

Related: 4 Predictions for William Nylander’s 2023-24 Season

8 – Los Angeles Kings

Quinton Byfield2274Anze Kopitar74169Adiran Kempe67250
Kevin Fiala72208Pierre-Luc Dubois63205Arthur Kaliyev28122
Trevor Moore29163Phillip Danault54152Viktor Arvidsson59228
Carl Grundstrom1990Blake Lizotte38108Trevor Lewis20144
Jaret Anderson-Dolan1254

Average age: 27.2 / Total Points: 553 / Total Shots: 1967

Since last winning the Stanley Cup in 2014, the Los Angeles Kings have not played outside the first round in the four trips to the postseason in the past ten years. Despite employing one of the game’s best defensive forwards, Anze Kopitar, the team hasn’t had much to brag about in the back half of his career. Surprisingly, the team gets contributions from everyone in the lineup and has a strong support system on the back end with defenders and netminders. However, the Kings don’t win games in the playoffs. As the team welcomes Pierre-Luc Debois for his first season in Hollywood, they should remain contenders in a tight Pacific Division but are still a piece or two away from recapturing the Stanley Cup.

7 – Dallas Stars

Jason Robertson109313Roope Hintz75184Joe Pavelski77184
Jamie Benn78190Wyatt Johnston41160Evgenii Dadonov33110
Mason Marchment31148Tyler Seguin50189Matt Duchene55168
Ty Dellandrea2892Radek Faksa2088Craig Smith16104
Sam Steel2885

Average age: 29.1 / Total Points: 642 / Total Shots: 2015

The Dallas Stars came within games of returning to the Stanley Cup Final, eventually losing to the Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final. Despite boasting one of the game’s best young goalies in Jake Oettinger, the Dallas forwards are not to be taken lightly. As the league’s highest-scoring group, the only thing keeping the Stars from obtaining a higher spot is their age, which ranks 28th overall at 29.1 years old. Collectively, the team took a step forward last year with the emergence of superstar Jason Robertson, who broke the franchise record for points in a season. Considering their veterans still score and the younger players are finding their groove, the Stars are legitimate contenders to win the Western Conference crown.

6 – Vancouver Canucks

Anthony Beauvillier40176Elias Pettersson102257Andrei Kuzmenko74143
Ilya Mikheyev4691J.T. Miller82223Brock Boeser55178
Phil Di Giuseppe1271Pius Suter24106Conor Garland46167
Dakota Joshua2371Teddy Blueger1685Vasily Podkolzin741
Tanner Pearson517Nils Hoglander929Sheldon Dries1794
Jack Studnicka865

Average age: 26.7 / Total Points: 566 / Total Shots: 1814

The Vancouver Canucks are nowhere close to contending for the Stanley Cup but continue to make strides to qualify for the playoffs. Despite a rocky start to last season, the team responded quite well under new head coach Rick Tocchet, who guided the team out of the basement after his hiring in January.

Elias Pettersson Vancouver Canucks
Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Ultimately, Elias Pettersson is set to become a free agent at season’s end. If he responds with another 100-point campaign, the pressure will turn on the organization to keep the young core together by extending one of their leaders on and off the ice or risk losing a franchise cornerstone.

Related: Canucks 2022-23 Report Cards: Elias Pettersson

5 – Carolina Hurricanes

Michael Bunting49174Sebastian Aho67218Seth Jarvis39187
Andrei Svechnikov55205Jesperi Kotkaniemi43129Martin Necas71240
Jordan Martinook34162Jordan Staal34124Jesper Fast2976
Teuvo Teravainen37144Jack Drury869Stefan Noesen36134
Brendan Lemieux944

Average age: 26.7 / Total Points: 511 / Total Shots: 1906

If the Bruins hadn’t rewritten the NHL record book last season, the Carolina Hurricanes would have wound up as the best team in the league and had a different path to the Eastern Conference Final. Despite going 0-12 in the third round since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, the Hurricanes will come out stronger and better than last year, which could spell trouble for many franchises in each conference. With a healthy Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina heads into the new season as the team to beat, especially after signing the top defenseman in free agency and bringing back their outstanding netminders.

4 – Ottawa Senators

Brady Tkachuk83347Tim Stutzle90228Vladimir Tarasenko50169
Claude Giroux79214Josh Norris315Drake Batherson62249
Ridly Greig930Shane Pinto35158Dominik Kubalik45174
Mathieu Joseph1866Mark Kastelic1173Zach MacEwen1073
Parker Kelly459Egor Sokolov25

Average age: 25.2 / Total Points: 501 / Total Shots: 1860

The Ottawa Senators are about to reward their fans for their patience after the Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Karlsson eras ended. Now, a young group of forwards, like captain Brady Tkachuk, are making people talk about the Senators rising from the bottom and pushing to be playoff regulars. As the second youngest forward group in the league, kids like Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson have found fantastic chemistry with each other, which includes veteran Claude Giroux. Collectively, they score at an average rate but create opportunities and close the division’s gap.

3 – Florida Panthers

Evan Rodrigues39184Aleksander Barkov78208Sam Reinhart67227
Carter Verhaeghe73275Sam Bennett40193Matthew Tkachuk109322
Eetu Luostarinen43132Anton Lundell33152Grigori Denisenko316
Ryan Lomberg20134Steve Lorentz19111Nick Cousins27102
Kevin Stenlund963

Average age: 26.5 / Total Points: 560 / Total Shots: 2119

The Florida Panthers came within three wins of the Stanley Cup last year. Ultimately, the team’s fortunes changed when they acquired Matthew Tkachuk, who had 109 points during his first season in Florida. As their playoff hero, he is the heartbeat of the offense, and although there are talented forwards like Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe, the team will only go as far as Tkachuk leads them. Considering they are relatively young at 26.5 and have the eighth most points (560), there’s a good chance their Cinderella run in 2022-23 was no fluke.

2 – New Jersey Devils

Timo Meier66327Nico Hischier80256Dawson Mercer56161
Jesper Bratt73212Jack Hughes99336Tyler Toffoli73268
Ondrej Palat2379Erik Haula41164Alex Holtz421
Tomas Nosek1869Michael McLeod2690Nathan Bastian1562
Curtis Lazar555Nolan Foote14Chris Tierney1019

Average age: 26.2 / Total Points: 590 / Total Shots: 2123

The New Jersey Devils gave their fans one of the best regular season performances in over a decade, with young stars Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, and Nico Hischier collecting over 70 points. As a team, the Devils are solid up and down the lineup with great defenders and elite goaltending, which explains why they challenged the Hurricanes for a division title until the final buzzer.

Jack Hughes New Jersey Devils
Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Realistically, after many subpar years and trading away many veteran players, New Jersey is just beginning to contend and should soon be considered Stanley Cup favorites with the sixth-youngest lineup in the league.

Related: Devils’ Jack Hughes Will Be a Perennial Hart Trophy Candidate

1 – Buffalo Sabres

Jeff Skinner82242Tage Thompson94295Alex Tuch79218
John Jason Peterka32125Dylan Cozens68211Casey Mittelstadt59135
Jordan Greenway1199Peyton Krebs2678Victor Olofsson40161
Zemgus Girgensons18114Tyson Jost2598Kyle Okposo28150
Jack Quinn37126Lukas Rousek23

Average age: 25.7 / Total Points: 601 / Total Shots: 2055

The Buffalo Sabres have not been considered serious contenders for decades, last appearing in the playoffs 12 seasons ago, the longest current streak in the NHL. However, because of so many bad seasons, the team has built themselves an extremely talented young core and continues to gain valuable experience that puts them in a great position to succeed in the coming years. Ultimately, based on our rankings, the Sabres finished in the top three in every category but age, which they ranked fourth, ahead of the Devils, giving them the top spot.

Even though the team has a handful of forwards set to become free agents next summer, Buffalo could get even younger by flipping those assets at the deadline, depending on how the season plays out. Although they missed the playoffs by a single point, this upcoming year should be the year the streak finally gets passed on to another team.

What Do You Think?

Ultimately, there is no way to please everyone regarding rankings. Whether people think their team is undervalued or their final position provides them with bragging rights, there is rarely any middle ground among the different fanbases. Furthermore, today’s rankings were based solely on what these players achieved last season and how their numbers stack up against one another heading into the new season. Of course, you can disagree and point out flaws in the math, but these rankings are meant to be fun and engage people to get them talking about hockey again. As always, people are entitled to their opinions, making us the greatest fans in professional sports.

Statistics were obtained from Hockey Reference and lineups from DailyFaceoff.com, confirmed by contract details from Cap Friendly.