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ScottM

The Top 10 Left-Wingers of All-Time

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ted-lindsay-award.jpg

 

Left wingers don't seem to win quite as many awards as centers and right wingers, but that doesn't mean that there's no skill or star power to be found at the position. Narrowing this list down to just ten players was not an easy task, because there are many worthy candidates, but somehow I did work it down. As with all of these lists, there will be some dissent, and I think this one may draw a little extra. Read on to find my picks for the best left wingers ever.

 

#10 Aurele Joliat

 

270 goals, 190 assists, 460 points in 655 NHL games; 1 Hart Trophy

 

You knew I’d put at least one old-timer on the list, right? The Little Giant never led the NHL in goals, but he was frequently near the top of the league’s leader board. The best left winger of the 20’s and 30’s, Joliat won the Hart Trophy in 1934, during an era that it nearly always went to a center or defenseman.

 

#9 Dave Andreychuk

 

640 goals, 698 assists, 1,338 points in 1,639 NHL games

 

I suspect that a couple of my picks will meet with some controversy, and this is one of those. Andreychuk is frequently called a compiler, in large part due to the fact that he never had 100 points in a single season, but the fact remains that he’s sixth all-time in games played and 14th all-time in goals. To the surprise of many people, he’s also number one in career power play goals. That’s good enough for me.

 

#8 Michel Goulet

 

548 goals, 604 assists, 1,152 points in 1,089 NHL games

 

The first two names that most would associate with the Quebec Nordiques would almost certainly be Joe Sakic and Peter Stastny in some order, but Michel Goulet certainly did his part to make Quebec a power in the 80’s. Four consecutive 50 goal seasons and four 100 point seasons are plenty enough reason to put him on this list.

 

#7 Luc Robitaille

 

668 goals, 726 assists, 1,394 points in NHL 1,431 games

 

He couldn’t skate, but, oh my, could he score. He always seemed to know just where to position himself – especially on the power play – and thanks to that awareness he’s the highest scoring left wing of all-time. His relative lack of mobility may keep him from moving ay higher on my list, but those goals definitely earn him a slot. Oh my, could he score.

 

#6 Johnny Bucyk

 

556 goals, 813 assists, 1,369 points in 1,540 NHL games

 

Tough in the corners, but still a clean player, Bucyk developed a good reputation from his style of play. Although overshadowed in the minds of many by Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito, “Chief” was a key contributor to the success of the Bruins in the early 70’s. No one has ever scored more goals in a Boston sweater, and only Ray Bouque has more assists and points.

 

#5 Alex Ovechkin

 

475 goals, 420 assists, 895 points in 760 NHL games; 2 Hart Trophies, 1 Art Ross Trophy, 5 Rocket Richard Trophies

 

I’m hesitant to put an active player who is likely only halfway through his career on the list – especially in the top half – but it would hard to exclude him based on what he’s already done. He doesn’t play defense, but if scoring got Robitaille on the list, it HAS to get Ovi on. He’s far and away the best goal-scorer of this era, and if he continues this pace for a while, he’ll likely move higher on the list.

 

#4 Brendan Shanahan

 

656 goals, 698 assists, 1,354 points in 1,524 NHL games

 

Shanny lands at the #4 spot thanks to consistently playing at a high level for a long period of time. Yzerman may have been viewed as the big star of the Red Wings teams of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, but it’s doubtful that they would have been so successful without Shanahan. As late as age 37, he was still a 40-goal scorer, and he was always a threat with the man advantage.

 

#3 Frank Mahovlich

 

533 goals, 570 assists, 1,103 points in 1,181 NHL games

 

In my opinion, Frank Mahovlich is the greatest player in Maple Leafs history. He was a vital member of the Toronto team for each of their four Cup runs in the 60’s. A perennial all-star, he piled up over 500 goals and three 40-goal seasons during an era in which that was much harder to do. His total numbers would be even bigger if he hadn’t moved to the WHA for the last four seasons of his career.

 

#2 Ted Lindsay

 

379 goals, 472 assists, 851 points in 1,068 NHL games; 1 Art Ross Trophy, 1 goal-scoring title

 

I know many may be shocked to see Lindsay at number two, but hear me out. He led the league in goals in 1947-48 and in points in 1949-50. That wasn’t an easy accomplishment in the era of Richard and Howe. He was voted first team all-star eight times. You didn’t mess around with Terrible Ted, either. He retired as the career leader in penalty minutes – twice. Yeah, I think he deserves this ranking.

 

#1 Bobby Hull

 

610 goals, 560 assists, 1,170 points in 1,063 NHL games; 2 Hart Trophies, 3 Art Ross Trophies, 7 goal-scoring titles

 

You probably already knew who you’d find here, but it really is obvious, isn’t it? He was the first player to score over 50 goals in an NHL season, and was the league’s biggest star when he bolted for the WHA. His nickname, “The Golden Jet” was appropriate not only for his appearance as he whipped down the ice, but also for his stellar play. As a pure goal scorer, almost no one has ever been better. The number one ranking is well-deserved.

 

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1. Hull

2. Lucky Luc

3. The big M

4. Shanny

5. STEVE SHUTT

6. Ovie

7. Terrible Ted

8. Chief

9. BILL BARBER

10. Andreychuk

 

Honorable mention:

Toe Blake (a heck of a player before he became a hell of a coach)

Bob Gainey

Goulet

Kariya

 

I highlighted Barber and Shutt because they were on my list and not yours.

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@ScottM

One other thing about your list:

 

three of the players, Mahovlich, Goulet and Hull all played in the WHA. Has nothing to do with nothing but I got a kick out of it.

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@yave1964 The WHA even got mentioned a couple of times. I thought of you when that happened. Lol

 

The guys that made your list that didn't make mine were guys I considered, as were the guys in your honorable mention list. I tend to shy away from honorable mention lists because they just open things up for a whole new level of criticism if I leave someone's favorite off of both the list and the honorable mention list, but I'll throw one more name out there with those: Dickie Moore. Some of the comments I made about Lindsay's offense could apply to him as well. Lindsay stayed at a high level longer, but Moore had an impressive peak as well.

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If Alex Ovechkin were to decline this day on, he would still be the second most accomplished left winger of all time, and that just goes to show how great he is.

Only Ted Lindsay and Bobby Hull should be over him

Edited by JagerMeister
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  Some might laugh, but if the Rangers ever get a legit star center, and he keeps evolving and using players around him correctly, Chris Kreider may force his way into this conversation. He has a ways to grow and needs certain things to happen, but the raw skills, they are there.

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3 hours ago, Dave Edmison said:

no  rick  martin  former  super shooter  of the  buffalo  sabers.  how  bout  our own  wendal  Clarke??

 

They do not even get into the top 10 conversation.

 

Wendel Clark never even scored 80 points in his career, during an era where top forwards were routinely scoring 120+ points. His claim to fame is being a leaf fan favorite because he was a banger who could score some goals and fight, nothing more. Constantly injured because of his style too. Clark would be lucky to break top 30 among LW's.

 

Rick Martin might get into the top 30, but nowhere near the top 10 due to his short career.

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37 minutes ago, J0e Th0rnton said:

They do not even get into the top 10 conversation.

 

Wendel Clark never even scored 80 points in his career, during an era where top forwards were routinely scoring 120+ points. His claim to fame is being a leaf fan favorite because he was a banger who could score some goals and fight, nothing more. Constantly injured because of his style too. Clark would be lucky to break top 30 among LW's.

 

Rick Martin might get into the top 30, but nowhere near the top 10 due to his short career.

 

This.

 

Not remotely close with either one.  And whose own is Wendel Clark???

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On 5/19/2015 at 7:28 PM, yave1964 said:

1. Hull

2. Lucky Luc

3. The big M

4. Shanny

5. STEVE SHUTT

6. Ovie

7. Terrible Ted

8. Chief

9. BILL BARBER

10. Andreychuk

 

Honorable mention:

Toe Blake (a heck of a player before he became a hell of a coach)

Bob Gainey

Goulet

Kariya

 

I highlighted Barber and Shutt because they were on my list and not yours.

 

I'm okay with both your list and Scott's.   With yours, though, I would put Lindsay above Ovechkin.   I may even slide a couple of the others ahead of him.  

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11 hours ago, ruxpin said:

 

I'm okay with both your list and Scott's.   With yours, though, I would put Lindsay above Ovechkin.   I may even slide a couple of the others ahead of him.  

Andreychuk's stats. Man LW was a lower tier position for many years.

 

All things considered Chuk has 2-3 really good regular season years and then a bunch of average ones.

50 goals and 99 points in that era is more akin to 35 goals and 65-70 points in Marleau's prime era. But aside from those 3 seasons, Andreychuk has a lot of seasons that by today's standards would be 20-25 goal, 50 point seasons.

 

Its so dime a dozen.

 

Case in point, 1983-84. 38 goals and 80 points looks really good. When I looked closer 6 people were tied for 19th in goal scoring with 40 goals and the top 8 scorers all had above 110 points, while 4 guys were tied for 20th with 92 points. Andreychuk's good looking numbers that year really only get him to be just barely 1st liner top 50 in point scoring because it was so dime a dozen.

 

 

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      Post
      Left wingers don't seem to win quite as many awards as centers and right wingers, but that doesn't mean that there's no skill or star power to be found at the position. Narrowing this list down to just ten players was not an easy task, because there are many worthy candidates, but somehow I did work it down. As with all of these lists, there will be some dissent, and I think this one may draw a little extra. Read on to find my picks for the best left wingers ever.   #10 Aurele Joliat   270 g
    • 1
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      @yave1964 The WHA even got mentioned a couple of times. I thought of you when that happened. Lol   The guys that made your list that didn't make mine were guys I considered, as were the guys in your honorable mention list. I tend to shy away from honorable mention lists because they just open things up for a whole new level of criticism if I leave someone's favorite off of both the list and the honorable mention list, but I'll throw one more name out there with those: Dickie Moore. Some of the
    • 1
      Post
      If Alex Ovechkin were to decline this day on, he would still be the second most accomplished left winger of all time, and that just goes to show how great he is. Only Ted Lindsay and Bobby Hull should be over him
    • 1
      Post
      They do not even get into the top 10 conversation.   Wendel Clark never even scored 80 points in his career, during an era where top forwards were routinely scoring 120+ points. His claim to fame is being a leaf fan favorite because he was a banger who could score some goals and fight, nothing more. Constantly injured because of his style too. Clark would be lucky to break top 30 among LW's.   Rick Martin might get into the top 30, but nowhere near the top 10 due to his short
    • 1
      Post
      I'm okay with both your list and Scott's.   With yours, though, I would put Lindsay above Ovechkin.   I may even slide a couple of the others ahead of him.  
    • 1
      Post
      Andreychuk's stats. Man LW was a lower tier position for many years.   All things considered Chuk has 2-3 really good regular season years and then a bunch of average ones. 50 goals and 99 points in that era is more akin to 35 goals and 65-70 points in Marleau's prime era. But aside from those 3 seasons, Andreychuk has a lot of seasons that by today's standards would be 20-25 goal, 50 point seasons.   Its so dime a dozen.   Case in point, 1983-84. 38 goals and
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