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The Metropolitan Division's Top 10 Left Wings: 2015-16

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Counting down the Metropolitan Division's best on the left

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Goaltenders? Check. Defensemen? Check. Rolling right along, it's time to look at the Metropolitan's top 10 left wings...

Honorable mention: Andre Burakovsky (WSH), Chris Kunitz (PIT)

10. Marcus Johansson, Washington Capitals
Last year's rank: Honorable Mention


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2014-15 (Capitals) 82 20 27 47 6 10 3 12 1 138 14.5

While Johansson can run hot and cold at times during the season, over the course of his career he's been pretty consistent, putting up between .55 and .65 points per game, cracking 40 points in three of his five seasons, and keeping those PIMs down year after year. He set a new career high last year with a 47-point campaign, and hit the 20-goal mark for the first time - in large part due to an increased willingness to shoot the puck. He's struggled a bit in postseason play, with just 15 points in 44 career playoff games (although it's worth noting that he was hurt during the most recent playoff run), but he's got all of the pieces to be a solid contributor - and at just 24, he's got room to grow.

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


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2014-15 (Devils) 69 13 21 34 -20 12 5 4 1 114 11.4

At 39 years old, Elias is about to begin his 20th NHL season, all with the team that drafted him back in 1994. It's the kind of longevity to which most professional athletes aspire - and with over 1000 points in 1224 games, a level of consistent productivity that's hard to attain. Elias saw his numbers drop off in 2014-15 (perhaps as much a product of a struggling team as anything) but over the course of his career he's maintained a pretty impressive offensive pace. He's hit double-digits in goals every year since 1997-98 (his first full season), has 10 20-goal seasons and has accumulated 125 points in 162 career playoff games... which includes a couple of Cup rings.

8. Mike Cammalleri, New Jersey Devils
Last year's rank: 10


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2014-15 (Devils) 68 27 15 42 2 28 9 2 8 156 17.3

Cammalleri's first season with the Devils got off to a bit of a rough start, with injuries keeping him out of 12 of the team's first 36 games... and yet despite that injury-induced delay, by Christmas he was the team's leading goal-scorer. By the end of the year that lead was still intact, as Cammalleri finished with 11 more goals than anyone else on the Devils en route to his seventh-career 20+ goal season. At 33, he doesn't appear to be slowing down much (and with four more years at $5 million each, the Devils had better hope he doesn't).

7.  Anders Lee, New York Islanders
Last year's rank: Not ranked


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2014-15 (Islanders) 76 25 16 41 9 33 5 1 6 197 12.7

His first prolonged stint in the NHL resulted in an impressive 14 points in 22 games, but it was in Lee's first full season that he established himself as a sneaky-good offensive threat on the new-look Islanders, with a 25-goal, 41-point outing. Those 25 goals ranked second on the Islanders, trailing some guy named John Tavares for the lead and helping Lee to a nice big contract extension and raise over the summer. Of course, with just one full NHL season under his belt, and already 25 years old, it's hard to say for sure that he'll be able to maintain the same level of production - but there's no reason to think he won't, either.

6. Scott Hartnell, Columbus Blue Jackets
Last year's rank: 7


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2014-15 (Blue Jackets) 77 28 32 60 1 100 8 8 2 204 13.7

Treated to the Philadelphia Flyers special last summer (i.e. being signed to a long-term contract and then almost immediately traded), Hartnell settled into his new team pretty quickly - as in ten points in his first eight games quick. He cooled off a bit after that, but he finished the year with 60 points, the third time in his career that he hit that mark (and the eighth season with at least 20 goals). A guy you love to hate, hate to love and would love to have on your team, he's still got that pest in him that leads him to rack up 100+ penalty minutes year after year - but with close to 600 points in his 14-year career, he's also turned out to be a pretty talented player in his own right.

5. Chris Kreider, New York Rangers
Last year's rank: Not ranked


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2014-15 (Rangers) 80 21 25 46 24 88 7 1 5 180 11.7

In his short time in the NHL, Kreider has established himself as a consistent, sometimes flashy scorer who is capable of putting up about a point every other game... and as a pain in the rear to goalies everywhere. Last season he cracked the 20-goal mark for the first time on his way to a 46-point season, and followed that up with a couple of big goals during the Rangers' run to the Eastern Conference final. In fact, his seven goals trailed only Derick Brassard for the team lead during the playoffs (and tied with, among others, Steven Stamkos for sixth-most in the League).

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


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2014-15 (Hurricanes) 77 18 13 31 -24 18 4 3 2 235 7.7

After struggling with concussion issues in recent years, the 23-year-old Skinner appeared in 77 games last season - the most he's played in since appearing in all 82 in his rookie campaign. His improved health didn't necessarily translate to improved offense, as he saw his point total take a significant hit, but with a career-low shooting percentage, one would expect those numbers to rebound. Of course, some of that hinges on how well Carolina is able to perform this season - and in a tough division, it's not looking good for the 'Canes - but if he can stay relatively healthy again this year, there's no reason to think he can't get back into the 20-30 goal range where he's been most of his career.

3. Brandon Saad, Columbus Blue Jackets
Last year's rank: N/A


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2014-15 (Blackhawks) 82 23 29 52 7 12 2 8 6 203 11.3

One of the newest - and most surprising - additions to the Metropolitan Division, Saad arrives in Columbus fresh off yet another Stanley Cup win in Chicago and instantly adds another 20-goal scorer to an increasingly potent Blue Jacket offense. He'll turn 23 at the end of October and has already won two Cups, put up 126 points in 208 games and seen his offense increase each year of his professional career. Add in the fact that he's been fairly dominant in terms of puck possession (albeit on a team that was pretty gifted in that department) and Saad's looking like a pretty decent pickup for the Jackets.

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


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2014-15 (Rangers) 79 42 27 69 29 36 6 6 8 304 13.8

Say what you will about his postseason resume - and Ranger fans could probably say a lot, despite his 14 points in 19 games last year - but there's no doubt that Nash is still one of the scarier, more consistent power forwards in the League. He's put up at least 50 points in all but three of his 12 NHL seasons (and one of those was the lockout-shortened season, where he posted 42 points in 44 games). Last year he established a new career high in goals with 42, the third time he's put up at least 40 goals in a season and just one of three players to hit that mark last season.

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Last year's rank: 1


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPA GWG SOG PCT
2014-15 (Capitals) 81 53 28 81 10 58 25 9 11 395 13.4

Is there even a need to go into the detail of just how incredible a player Alex Ovechkin has been, and continues to be? With every game, every season, he's writing himself into the history books - for the franchise and the League - and doing things that only the best of the best have ever done before. Last year was just more of the same, a welcome return to the Ovechkin of old with a new, more well-rounded element to his game that finally managed to silence most of the critics who have spent years bashing him. As he prepares to start his 11th (!) season, only one achievement remains... but even without it, there's no question that he's one of the all-time greats.