Minnesota Wild 2011-12 season preview; ranking the left wings
The National Hockey League’s Northwest Division has highly talented forwards, including some of the best left wings in the league.
Here are my rankings of the five left wings in the Northwest Division.
No. 5 – Daniel Winnik, Colorado Avalanche. He will not be the first line left wing, but is the best designated as a left winger. He is a solid third or fourth line player with good versatility and defensive skills. He has good size, but does not always use it, especially in the offensive zone.
No. 4 – Alex Tanguay, Calgary Flames. The playmaker is a perfect compliment for the Flames’ dynamic goal scorers. He is a great passer that can log the puck for long stretches of time. He has very good one-on-one moves, but can be knocked off the puck by big, physical players. As a pass-first player, he has a tendency to pass up very good scoring opportunities to make a pass.
No. 3 – Dany Heatley, Minnesota Wild. The biggest Wild acquisition is a dynamic power forward. He is excellent on the power play and is a first line star with solid two-way play and physical presence. However, he has off-the-ice issues in which he requested trades out of two different cities and declined a trade a third city. Also, his production declined to its lowest non-injury filled season totals last season. He reached 100-points in back-to-back seasons in 2005-06 and 2006-07, but has failed to reach 85 since.
No. 2 – Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers. The former No. 1 overall pick is still growing both physically and a player, but has already shown a natural offensive ability at the NHL level. He is an excellent skater with very good puck skills. He still needs to improve his consistency, defensive play and maturity. He still has a tendency to play out of control.
No. 1 – Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks. The reigning Art Ross Trophy winner as the league’s top regular season scorer is one of the most dynamic players in the league. He has an uncanny ability to find open ice and has the ability to score from anywhere in the offensive zone. He scores most of his goals from the chemistry he has built with twin brother Henrik. He is always an offensive threat, but, although rare, can be taken out of the play by being physical with him. Like most elite scorers, he is not strong on defense.
*Players are listed at the position listed on each team’s official website.