Top 5 NHL Offensive Threats

October 25, 2013

hockey goalie

Who are the five most dangerous offensive players in the NHL today? This ranking cannot be compiled simply by listing the leading point-getters.

Some of those players accumulate tons of assists because they play on the same line as a prolific scorer.

This ranking emphasizes pure goal-scorers. Which players are most feared by opposing defensemen and goaltenders? Which players are most explosive? Which players excel both in the regular season and in the playoffs?

Here is an attempt to list the top five offensive threats in the NHL today (in no particular order).

1. Sydney Crosby

He has the big name, and he is the poster boy of the NHL. He also has the numbers. Since entering the NHL in 2005, Crosby has been unstoppable. In his first season he collected over one hundred points, and he has never looked back. Injuries have affected the number of games played, but when he is on the ice he is always dangerous.

In the 2012-2013 regular season he averaged over 1.5 points per game, and in the playoffs he collected 7 goals and 8 assists in 14 games against some very tight defenses. He’s the real deal.

2. Alex Ovechkin

]The big Russian strikes fear into the hearts of defenses all across the league. When the 230 pound right-winger charges down the ice in preparation for a big slap shot, nobody wants to get in his way.

Since joining the NHL in 2005 (previously he played in Russia), Ovechkin has scored 50 goals four times. In the shortened 2012-2013 season, he won the Maurice Richard Trophy (most goals) by scoring 32 goals in 48 games.

He can be inconsistent, but when Ovechkin is hot, he’s scary.

3. Patrick Kane

Anna EnriquezThe Blackhawk won the 2013 Conn Smyth Trophy for a reason: he scored several key goals to help his team win the Stanley Cup.

He does not dominate physically, like Ovechkin or Crosby, but Kane is quick and creative in the offensive zone.

It’s no coincidence that the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice since the 24-year-old joined the team in 2007.

Kane is a dynamic, exciting player who is always a scoring threat.

4. Steve Stamkos

The Tampa Bay Lightning center is a true goal-scorer. Since entering the NHL in 2008, the 23-year-old has twice scored 50 goals, and was on track to do so again in the shortened 2012-2013 season.

Stamkos has also twice won the Maurice Richard Trophy (once as co-winner with Sydney Crosby). However, because of the disappointing performance of his team in recent years, Stamkos has little playoff experience (he performed respectably in 2010-2011).

The Ontario native is a potent threat, and he is likely to be stalking opposing goaltenders for a long time to come.

5. John Tavares

madmikedChosen first overall in the 2009 NHL entry draft, Tavares has made steady progress toward hockey superstardom. Even though he is handicapped by playing on a lower-tier team, the New York Islanders, Tavares has compiled very respectable numbers.

He scored 28 goals in 48 games to rank third among scorers in the 2012-2013 season (after Ovechkin and Stamkos) and was named as a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy (regular season MVP).

Tavares is a great asset for the lowly Islanders, and he has a bright future in the NHL.

There are several other dangerous scorers in the NHL, including Jonathan Toews of Chicago and Rick Nash of the New York Rangers. However, the five players profiled here are perennial threats who are greatly feared by NHL goaltenders.

Photo credit: rubyswoon, Anna Enriquez, madmiked via Flickr.