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The Metropolitan Division’s Top 10 Right Wings: 2019-20

Continuing our look at the best in the Metro with an overview of the right wings

NHL: MAR 24 Flyers at Capitals Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’ve counted down the best the Metro has to offer between the pipes, on the blueline and up the middle. Up next? The top ten right wings.

Honorable Mention: Josh Bailey, Pavel Buchnevich, Travis Konecny, Kyle Palmieri, Richard Panik

10. Patric Hornqvist (PIT)
Last year’s rank: 5

In the first year of his new five-year extension, Hornqvist took a significant step back from his 29-goal, 49-point outing in 2017-18 with just 18 goals - the first time he’s dipped below the 20-goal mark in six seasons (and just the third time since his NHL debut over a decade ago). He’s still that guy who can score the ugly goals and make enemies on every shift... but with a growing history of concussions and on the wrong side of 30, Hornqvist just isn’t the player he once was.

9. Jordan Eberle (NYI)
Last year’s rank: 7

Eberle’s strong debut with the Islanders fell off in his second year with New York. Like Hornqvist, he failed to crack 20 goals for the first time in a long time - the last time he was under 20 goals was the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13, when he had 16 - although he did come close, topping out at 19. Eberle rebounded nicely in the playoffs, with nine points in the Isles’ eight games, so it may just have been an outlier season. The Islanders are certainly betting on that being the case, as they signed Eberle to a five-year contract extension this summer.

8. Andrei Svechnikov (CAR)
Last year’s rank: Honorable Mention

Svechnikov was eased into the NHL life by his team, starting the season on the third line as he got used to the game - but by the end of the season he had worked his way into a top-six role, scored 20 goals (all at even strength) and earned extra responsibility as part of the team’s power play. Given his skill level and the fact that he’ll likely play a much larger role for the ‘Canes this season, it’s not hard to predict big things for the skilled 19-year-old forward (just keep the gloves on, kid).

7. Kaapo Kakko (NYR)
Last year’s rank: N/A

He has yet to lace ‘em up for a regular-season NHL game yet and already cracks our Top 10. Why? Well... this:

6. Gustav Nyquist (CBJ)
Last year’s rank: N/A

After spending most of his career in Detroit (with a brief stopover in San Jose last season), Nyquist signed a four-year deal with Columbus this summer. He joins the Jackets after a career year that saw him put up 60 points (49 in 62 games with Detroit, 11 in 19 with the Sharks), setting new highs in points and assists and cracking 20 goals for the fourth time in his last six years. Nyquist may be inching towards 30, but is still capable of putting up decent point totals - particularly at even strength - and will likely get to play a large role on a Columbus team looking to replace some firepower.

5. Nino Niederreiter (CAR)
Last year’s rank: N/A

When the 26-year-old was traded to the Hurricanes midseason, the move seemed to come at the perfect time for both player and team. Niederreiter quickly took on a bigger role with the ‘Canes than he had in Minnesota with close to four minutes more per night of ice time, and that added responsibility paid off — after scoring just nine goals in 46 games with the Wild, he picked up six in his first ten games with Carolina. Some of that, of course, is thanks to some talented linemates with whom he seemed to click immediately in Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. His production, along with that of the rest of his team, helped the ‘Canes complete a strong second half that propelled them into the playoffs.

4. T.J. Oshie (WSH)
Last year’s rank: 4

There’s no question that Oshie has found another level to his game since arriving in DC four summers ago, scoring at least 25 goals in three of the four seasons since and establishing himself as a scrappy net-front presence on the power play. The new deal he signed prior to the Cup season of 2017-18 has already paid dividends (although with six seasons left, it’ll be interesting to see how long that’s the case) and one wonders what might have been this past spring had he not been knocked out of the playoffs with a broken clavicle courtesy of Carolina’s Warren Foegele.

3. Tom Wilson (WSH)
Last year’s rank: Honorable Mention

There simply aren’t many players in the NHL like Tom Wilson - and while fans of 30 other teams may publicly say “good!”, it’s likely that most of them privately wished he played for their team. One hopes that he learned the tough lesson he needed to learn after a suspension for a preseason hit kept him out of the first 16 games in 2018-19, because when he’s in the lineup he’s a game-changer for the Caps. Wilson’s mix of skill and physicality makes him both incredibly tough to shut down and incredibly valuable to the elite players he’s played alongside — and it’s why he was able to score 22 goals last season (in just 63 games, no less).

2. Cam Atkinson (CBJ)
Last year’s rank: T-8

Just 13 players in the whole NHL scored at least 40 goals last season, and in what was perhaps a bit of a surprise, Atkinson was one of them. The 29-year-old set new career highs across the board last season, including an impressive four shorthanded goals — but he hasn’t exactly come out of nowhere. Blue Jackets fans know that he’s consistently one of the better offensive players in Columbus (although like so many others on that team, it’ll be interesting to see what the absence of Artemi Panarin does to that production) and doesn’t seem to be slowing down as he heads towards his 30s.

1. Jakub Voracek (PHI)
Last year’s rank: 2

Voracek has had some ups and downs in recent years, but over the past three he seems to have regained his stride a bit. He’s put up exactly 20 goals in each of the last three seasons, and topped 40 assists in each of his last five; he’s also one of just 21 players in the League to have as many as five 60-point seasons since 2013-14. Voracek did see a bit of a dropoff in some of the key underlying stats, although that dip wasn’t really reflected in boxcar stats or his overall shot rate (and some of that dropoff could be pinned on his teammates), a trend that has continued as he’s aged, but he’s still one of the Flyers’ better offensive options and remains a top winger in the League.