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The Metropolitan Division's Top 10 Left Wings: 2014-15

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Continuing our breakdown of the division's best, with a look at the players lining up on the left

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Last week we took a look at the top-10 centers in the Metropolitan Division - now it's on to their linemates on the left-hand side...

Honorable mention: Marcus Johansson, Mats Zuccarello

10. Mike Cammalleri, New Jersey Devils
Last year's rank: Not ranked


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2013-14 (Flames) 63 26 19 45 -13 26 6 8 8 191 13.6

The newest member of the New Jersey Devils has had a bit of an up-and-down run over the past few years, between being traded mid-game to... well, having to play for the Flames for three seasons. Still, at 32 years old he's producing at a pretty good clip, averaging around 26 goals a season in his nine years as a full-time NHLer and putting up exactly that many last season - which was not only good enough to lead his team in that department, but would have put him ahead of all of the 2013-14 Devils, as well.

9. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals
Last year's rank: Not ranked


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2013-14 (Capitals)
17 3 6 9 -2 6 0 2 0 22 13.6

Of all of the players on this list, Kuznetsov is perhaps the one who received the widest range of votes, falling anywhere from 4th to 10th depending on who you asked - which is likely a product of him being a largely unknown commodity but one possessing enormous potential. In his limited debut with the Caps last season, Kuznetsov was impressive, picking up about a point every other game and earning his first multi-point game in just his third NHL appearance (including one pretty spectacular assist). If he can adjust to the North American style and find a place that works for him in the Caps' lineup, he has the ability to be yet another dynamic offensive weapon for a team that can always use another one.

Worth noting that there is also the potential for him to be moved to center to fill the omnipresent void on the Caps' second-line, but for the time being he's slated as a winger... so that's where we've got him.

8. Carl Hagelin, New York Rangers
Last year's rank: 8


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2013-14 (Rangers) 72 17 16 33 8 44 0 0 5 144 11.8

The 26-year-old Swede took a little while to get to the NHL, but over the last three seasons he's begun to develop into a reliable - if streaky at times - winger for the Rangers. He has yet to appear in a full 82-game season, but did set a career-high in goals last year with 17, put up 12 points in 25 playoff games on New York's run to the Stanley Cup Final, and won a silver medal at the Sochi Olympics. For Hagelin, the next step will be cracking the 20-goal mark - something the Rangers will need him to do after losing a bit of scoring depth over the offseason, and something that will determine where he falls on this list next year.

7. Scott Hartnell, Columbus Blue Jackets
Last year's rank: Not ranked


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2013-14 (Flyers) 78 20 32 52 11 103 9 11 3 207 9.7

He may be new to the Blue Jackets, but after seven years with the Flyers, Hartnell is certainly not new to anyone in the Metropolitan. A well-known pest, Hartnell will add a bit of an edge to a young, up-and-coming Columbus team - but he'll also bring a fair amount of offense, coming off of his seventh 20+ goal season in the last nine. Not bad, especially considering that his shooting percentage was actually his second-lowest in his last ten seasons. Add to that the fact that he trailed only Jakub Voracek for the best Corsi On and Fenwick percentage among Flyer forwards last year and it's pretty clear that good things happen when Hartnell is on the ice...whether on his feet or not.

6. Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins
Last year's rank: Not ranked


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2013-14 (Predators) 76 22 31 53 1 28 7 10 6 248 8.9

Drafted back in 2005 (just six rounds and 229 spots after his new captain), Hornqvist arrived in Pittsburgh by way of a trade that sent James Neal to the Predators - and while he's probably not going to replace Neal's scoring touch, he's very quietly put up some decent point totals in his five-plus seasons with Nashville and should help bolster the Pens' forward depth. He was one of Nashville's top-scoring forwards in all but one of his seasons with the Preds, and led all forwards in that department last season, trailing only Shea Weber for the team lead while maintaining pretty decent possession stats across the board. Going from a defense-first team like Nashville to a more offensive club like the Pens should kick those numbers up a bit, as well... especially if he gets Evgeni Malkin as a center.

5. Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
Last year's rank: 5


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2013-14 (Devils) 65 18 35 53 -4 30 4 13 1 116 15.5

It's kind of amazing that in an increasingly young-man's game, a 38-year-old (ancient by hockey standards) could jump over some of the whippersnappers on this list. But it's because of that longevity, and the consistency with which he's produced year after year, that Elias is able to do just that. In fact, last season was just the fourth time in his career that he's appeared in at least 50 games and has failed to score at least 20 goals, and the first time since 2009-10. A slight slip in his numbers, along with a season cut a bit short by injuries, could mean that he's coming to the end of a long and decorated career - but considering that only a 42-year-old Jagr had a better points-per-60 rate than Elias among Devils players last year, he may have a bit of gas left in the tank yet.

4. Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins 
Last year's rank: 2


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2013-14 (Penguins) 78 35 33 68 25 66 13 9 8 218 16.1

Speaking of numbers getting a boost from being on the Penguins, Kunitz has turned great chemistry with one of the world's best players into some very nice individual numbers for himself. In fact, only Crosby and Malkin finished the season with more points than Kunitz last year (and third place behind those two guys is nothing to sneeze at), and only Crosby had more even-strength points. And while skating with a guy like Sidney Crosby certainly has its benefits, it also comes with the responsibility of the toughest matchups, making that career-high 35-goal total all the more impressive.

3. Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
Last year's rank: 4


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2013-14 ('Canes) 71 33 21 54 -14 22 11 9 6 274 12.0

Skinner might not have collected quite as many points as Kunitz, but he came up just shy while appearing in fewer games, with a less-impressive supporting cast, and with a higher goals- and points-per-60 rate. He also has the advantage of having what is potentially a higher ceiling, at just 22 years old. Skinner has put up some impressive totals over his young career, with 185 points in 259 games despite missing significant stretches with concussion issues. As noted last year, however, with a few concussions under his belt already, health will continue to be a concern.

2. Rick Nash, New York Rangers  
Last year's rank: 1


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2013-14 (Rangers) 65 26 13 39 10 36 4 3 9 258 10.1

His numbers took a bit of a hit this year, and he faced plenty of criticism during a playoff run that saw him score three goals in 25 games (and none until the Eastern Conference Final). But even in an "off" year that was shortened by injury, Nash put up a team-leading 26 goals - 20 of which were scored at even strength - and led the Rangers in goals-per-60, all while being a positive possession player in both the regular season and the playoffs. As for those three postseason goals... it certainly wasn't for lack of trying, as no one fired more shots on net in the playoffs than Nash.

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Last year's rank: Not ranked


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2013-14 (Capitals) 78 51 28 79 -35 48 24 15 10 386 13.2

Last year he topped the list of right wings; this year, it sounds like Barry Trotz is leaning towards moving Ovechkin back to left wing. Guess what? He's the best one of those, too. Say what you will about his abysmal plus-minus (and we could say a lot, most of which boils down to the fact that it's a silly stat that tells as much about his teammates' performance as his own), but 51 goals trumps that any day. Not only was it his fifth season with at least 50 goals, but it also included his 400th-career goal - making him the sixth-fastest player in NHL history to hit that milestone, and just the second Cap to do so. Ovechkin now sits just 50 goals shy of Peter Bondra for the franchise record and 11 points shy of Bondra's franchise-record 825.

Guess reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated...