Goaltenders? Check. Defensemen? Check. Centers? Check. Next up on our tour of the East Division’s best are the guys on the right side: the right wings.
As a reminder, here’s the Method Behind the Madness - To determine the overall ranking, each member of the Rink staff was first asked to create their own top 10 list by position. We then took the average of those scores to determine our final ranking below. Any player not making the overall top 10 but who was ranked by at least one of our Rink writers earns Honorable Mention honors, where applicable.
Here’s our top 10:
Honorable Mention: Victor Olofsson (BUF), Josh Bailey (NYI), Kasperi Kapanen (PIT)
10. Jordan Eberle (NYI)
Last year’s stats: 16-24-40, 17:49 ATOI, 51.6 ES SAT%
Eberle has been a pretty consistent player over the course of his career, from his early years in Edmonton to the last three seasons with the Islanders. With that consistency comes about 20-25 goals a season, and recently, a hot hand in the playoffs. Eberle has taken some heat for a lack of goal-scoring in general - he’s earning top-line minutes next to the Isles’ young star center, Barzal, but not putting up the offense to match - but he has stepped up his game in the postseason, and is the team’s best possession player, leading the Isles in SAT% at evens.
9. Chris Kreider (NYR)
Last year’s stats: 24-21-45, 17:15 ATOI, 48.8 ES SAT%
For a while, there was a question mark about Kreider’s future with the Rangers, especially after a slow start to his 2019-20 season; that question mark was wiped away last February, when the team signed him to a hefty seven-year deal shortly after he rediscovered his game. What they’re getting for their money is a talented sniper who occasionally struggles with consistency but ultimately almost always comes through with a 20+ goal season - and can put up highlight-reel goals with the best of them.
8. Bryan Rust (PIT)
Last year’s stats: 27-29-56, 19:45 ATOI, 51.0 ES SAT%
Rust has steadily grown into one of the Penguins’ better depth scorers over his five-year career, but he took a big step forward last season and had his best offensive year to date. He achieved new career highs across the board and even somewhat surprisingly led the Penguins in goals with 27 (although with so many of their top guns on the shelf for a large chunk of the season - including Rust himself - that was going to be a bit of a toss-up). Whether he can sustain that pace in a regular season remains to be seen, but he’s certainly trending in the right direction and has the right linemates to achieve it.
7. Kyle Palmieri (NJD)
Last year’s stats: 25-20-45, 17:07 ATOI, 47.4 ES SAT%
For the last five seasons, Palmieri has established himself as the Devils’ most consistent scorer and one of the team’s leaders through what has been an uncertain period (to say the least) for New Jersey. For the first part of his career in Anaheim he never topped 14 goals or 31 points; since arriving in New Jersey, he’s never had fewer than 24 goals and 44 points. It’s that consistently high production that kept him a Devil this past season despite many rumors of his impending trade - as GM Fitzgerald said after the trade deadline passed, “Why would I want to move a 30-goal scorer?” Considering they don’t exactly grow on trees (especially in Newark), it was probably the right call.
6. Tom Wilson (WSH)
Last year’s stats: 21-23-44, 18:16 ATOI, 50.8 ES SAT%
The evolution of Tom Wilson from one-dimensional enforcer to legitimate power forward has been pretty fun to watch. Over the last three years, he’s turned his focus on improving his skating and puck skills, earning the trust of his coaches and larger responsibility at all strengths. He cracked the 20-goal mark for the first time two seasons ago, and repeated that feat last year, setting a new career high in assists and points along the way. While he’s improved offensively, he hasn’t lost the physicality to his game, and remains one of the more intimidating figures on the ice both for his ability to hit and his ability to score surprisingly beautiful goals.
5. Pavel Buchnevich (NYR)
Last year’s stats: 16-30-46, 16:56 ATOI, 50.7 ES SAT%
25-year-old Buchnevich had another solid season for himself last year for the Rangers, with 46 points in 68 games and new career highs in assists and points (and on pace to come close to or tie his career mark in goals). Where Buchnevich struggles, as is the case with a lot of the younger players, is in finding consistency - but he’s earned time on the team’s potent top line and skating alongside guys like Mika Zibanejad can only help him as he continues to develop.
4. T.J. Oshie (WSH)
Last year’s stats: 26-23-49, 18:18 ATOI, 49.5 ES SAT%
Since arriving in DC, Oshie has been a huge generator of both offense and energy for the Caps. The scrappy right-wing hasn’t let age or the occasional injury slow him down yet, as he put up 26 goals and 49 points last season - the fourth time in five years that he’s topped 25 goals. That consistent output (and his likability that extends beyond just Caps fandom) earned him his first trip to the All-Star Game last season, voted in by the fans to round out the Caps’ trio of representatives. With the expansion draft looming, Oshie’s name has been bandied about as a potential option to head out to Seattle - and if that were to happen, he would be sorely missed in DC, both on and off the ice.
3. Travis Konecny (PHI)
Last year’s stats: 24-37-61, 16:48 ATOI, 54.6 ES SAT%
The Flyers’ first-round pick in 2015 has had some decent outings over the last few years, but it’s safe to say that the 2019-20 season was a breakout campaign for Konecny. Fresh off a new six-year deal, Konecny went on to lead the high-powered Flyers offense with 61 points in 66 games, scoring 24 goals for the third-straight year but doing so in 16 games fewer than the season before. While his offense dried up in the delayed postseason, it was likely an anomaly, as he’s become adept at driving play for his team and at only 23 years old still has a bright future ahead of him.
2. Jakub Voracek (PHI)
Last year’s stats: 12-44-56, 17:03 ATOI, 52.9 ES SAT%
Voracek may not have had the best season in sheer point production - nor was it a bad season by that metric, either - but he continues to be a key part of one of the more dominant top lines when it comes to driving play and possession. What’s interesting about Voracek is the fact that he’s able to routinely put up 65-75 points a season while maintaining a pretty low shooting percentage of around 8-9%. Could he maybe dent the back of the twine a bit more if he shot the puck more? Perhaps, but that’s not his game and the Flyers don’t need it to be.
1. David Pastrnak (BOS)
Last year’s stats: 48-47-95, 18:58 ATOI, 54.1 ES SAT%
Turns out Tom Wilson’s biggest fan is a pretty great player in his own right! The perennial 30+ goal scorer took a huge step forward last year, going toe to toe with Alex Ovechkin and ending up in a tie with the Caps’ captain for the Richard Trophy, just shy of 50 goals. It’s not like this burst of offense came out of nowhere, though - Pastrnak has routinely been one of the Bruins’ top scorers and has put up at least 70 points in each of his last four seasons. He’s probably not going to get near 50 goals again this year because of the shortened season, but if he can stay healthy it’s a safe bet he’ll be in the mix for top goal-scorer once again.