Good Night, Good Hockey’s Top 30 NHL Forwards

Good Night, Good Hockey’s writers worked hard to rank the top 30 forwards in the NHL, and after much debate (read arguing) the list has been finished.

Who’s the best forward in the NHL? Scroll down to find out!

And if you don’t agree, do what works best and comment on our stupidity.

Honourable Mentions

Alexander Steen (St. Louis Blues), Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild), Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins)

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30. Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings)

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“A 2008 Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Zetterberg is a pillar of Red Wings hockey. Winning gold medals at the 2006 Olympics and World Championships, he has played a major part in Swedish national Hockey.
It’s hard to top the leadership of Zetterberg on the ice.” – Jim McBride

29. Artemi Panarin (Chicago Blackhawks)

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“Winning the Calder Memorial Trophy after a breakout freshman season in the NHL, Artemi Panarin dominated all rookies with 30 goals and 47 assists, totaling 77 points. He finished in the top ten in points among league skaters in the 2015-2016 seasons. For the Blackhawks winger, a promising career lies ahead for the young forward’s future.” – Drew Bishop

28. Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers)

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“When Wayne Simmonds moved to Philadelphia in the 2011 offseason, a new player within him awoke. With 277 points 394 games for the Flyers, he has fulfilled his role of a perennial power forward. As P.K. Subban once said, ‘No, you cannot fight Wayne Simmonds.'” – Dylan Coyle

27. Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks)

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“How can you not love Corey Perry? Okay, okay, I’m only kidding. Hated by many, loved by few, Corey Perry has won at just about every level and for good reason. He’s got a big body, and he loves to throw it around, often towing the line between what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Being physical isn’t all he can do though. His shot is one of the best in the league, and he can dish out a pretty pass too.” – Chris Carnovale

 26. Henrik Sedin (Vancouver Canucks)

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“The Canucks franchise leader in points entered the league in 2000 with his twin. He won gold in the 2006 Olympic Games and in the IIHF world Championships in 2013, both with Sweden. With 987 points over 16 years, he may be nearing the end of his career soon. Along with Daniel, these brothers are the ones you want show up as the Swedish Twins at your bachelor party.” – Andrew Ostrosky

25. Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets)

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“The American-born captain of the Jets, Wheeler was a first round pick in 2004. In the re-inaugural season of the Jets franchise, he led  Winnipeg in scoring with 64 points over 80 games. He has been an essential part of the recent success of the Jets over the last few years.” – Jim McBride

24. Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames)

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“The third year player for the Calgary Flames has already made a name for himself in the NHL. Coming from Boston College* in 2014, he has notched 160 points in 180 games. Known as ‘Johnny Hockey’ to much of the hockey universe, the kid will remain a face of the Calgary Flames for years to come.” – Dylan Coyle

23. Phil Kessel (Pittsburgh Penguins)

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“One of the most talented wingers on the Penguins, Phil Kessel is an underrated piece to the dynamic puzzle of a successful NHL franchise. While being an Olympian and a three time all-star are his crowning achievements, Kessel’s heading stat is his contribution to Pittsburgh’s 2016 Stanley Cup victory. Leading his team in points throughout the playoffs (22), Kessel was an essential part of the claiming of the Cup.” – Drew Bishop

22. Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers)

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“Jakub Voracek always seems to be a step ahead of his competition, seeing the play before it unfolds. The hot tempered winger has a patience that is rarely seen in the NHL. Learning from Jaromir Jagr, Voracek uses his body to protect the puck and to knock other players off of it. After a down season in 2015-16, Voracek is finally starting to show that he deserves his massive 8.25 million dollar contract.” – Chris Carnovale

21. Taylor Hall (New Jersey Devils)

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“The former #1 overall draft pick from the Oilers was traded to the Devils over the offseason. His most notable achievement is being named MVP in two consecutive Memorial Cup championships. He currently has 348 points in 400 total games played.” – Andrew Ostrosky

20. Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens)

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“Making his debut for the Canadiens in 2009, Pacioretty has made is mark in Montreal. He is the first Canadiens player to wear number 67 and was named captain in 2015. His outstanding play and leadership continues to push Montreal back towards another Stanley Cup appearance.” – Jim McBride

 19. Daniel Sedin (Vancouver Canucks)

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“An alternate captain to his twin brother Henrik, Daniel Sedin can keep up with just about any forward in the NHL, including his brother. A three time all-star and Art Ross Trophy winner in 2011, Sedin has definitely made his mark on the NHL. Not only winning locally, Sedin has Olympic Gold and Silver medals, showing his prowess at the international stage. Goal scoring is at the head of his game, but his ability to make plays is the highly valued skill he possesses.” – Drew Bishop

18. Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks)

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“The other half of the cog that is the Anaheim Ducks has stuck with the team since his first game in the NHL. In his 12th season in the league, Ryan Getzlaf has notched 763 points in 811 games. The three-time all star was able to win the Stanley Cup in 2007.” – Dylan Coyle

17. Joe Thornton (San Jose Sharks)

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“One of the best playmakers ever to step foot on the ice, ‘Jumbo Joe’ has still got it. At 37 years old, who would have expected that he’d still be putting up 80+ point seasons. The 2005-06 Hart Trophy winner has a knack for finding his teammates with a pass from anywhere on the ice. Playmaking isn’t all he can do though; he has an absolute rocket of a shot when he decides to use it.  On top of that, he’s one of the league’s top two-way forwards.” – Chris Carnovale

16. Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins)

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“One of the best two way forwards in the league, Bergeron has had a consistent faceoff wining percentage which has never been below 50%, excluding his rookie season. Winner of two Olympic gold medals, the Stanley Cup in 2011, and winner of three Selke Trophies. He plays the role a of two-way center for the Bruins, shutting down the league’s best at one end and scoring a pretty goal at the other.” – Andrew Ostrosky

15. Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals)

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“Drafted 4th overall in 2006, Backstrom has quickly rose within the Capitals franchise to become the all time assists leader. He also leads all players since 2012-2013 in assists. If you’re looking for a center to setup your team’s goal scorer, look no further than Nicklas Backstrom.” – Jim McBride

 14. Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues)

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“Starting his rookie year in the midst of lockout negotiations didn’t stop Vladimir Tarasenko from making his mark with his talent. Winning rookie of the month in the first month after the lockout, Tarasenko proved that he belonged on St. Louis’ roster. He went on to lead the team in goals and assists and made the All-Star team in each of the following two years. With him on the roster, the Blues have a chance against any team in the NHL.” – Drew Bishop

13. Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)19438702321_267c980607_b

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“Hailed as the generational talent that can surpass Gretzky’s records (Didn’t we hear this 10 years ago?), Connor McDavid has situated himself as one of the faces of the league in only his second season. In only 74 career games, he has 86 points. After missing the half of his rookie year due to an injury to his clavicle suffered in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers, he finished third in Calder Trophy voting for rookie of the year. The youngest captain in NHL history will be a joy to watch for years to come.” – Dylan Coyle

12. Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks)

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“‘Little Joe’ took over as captain of the San Jose Sharks last season, and did he crack? Of course not! Pavelski led the Sharks to their first ever Stanley Cup Final. Pavelski led by example, posting the third most points by the Sharks in one playoffs (bested only by teammates Logan Couture and Brent Burns). The definition of a late bloomer, Pavelski was a solid player immediately after making his NHL debut, but he didn’t establish himself among the league’s best until his breakout campaign in 2013-14 when he was already 28 years old!” – Chris Carnovale

11. Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars)

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“Originally drafted by the Bruins and winning the Stanley Cup in his rookie season in 2011, Seguin currently plays for the Dallas Stars as their first line center. Averaging 78 points in his time with the Stars, he usually finishes the season top 10 in points.” – Andrew Ostrosky

10. Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings)

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“Since debuting in the NHL in 2006, Kopitar has cemented his spot as one of the most effective 2 way forwards in the game. The Slovenian-born Kopitar played a major role in the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup wins for the LA Kings. Recently named captain in 2016, Kopitar is a sure-bet if you need a player gifted in both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game.” – Jim McBride

 9. John Tavares (New York Islanders)

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“A centerman praised for his ability to read plays before they happen, Tavares has overcome all obstacles to become a major leader of the New York Islanders. Being rejected from entering the 2008 NHL entry draft, Tavares worked on his speed and quickness and was selected first overall in the 2009 entry draft. He then silenced critics by becoming a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2013.” – Drew Bishop

8. Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning)

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“The Derrick Rose of the NHL, Steven Stamkos has had many long-term injuries that have hurt his career numbers. The two-time Rocket Richard trophy winner has been one of the top scorers in the NHL since his rookie year of 2008. In fact, he is running at just under a point-a-game in his career, with 582 points in 586 games. The scariest part is that he’s only 26 years old.” – Dylan Coyle

7. Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)

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“Former alternate captain at University of North Dakota, captain of Team Canada, captain at the All-Star Game, youngest captain to win the Conn Smythe Trophy… it wouldn’t surprise me if Toews ran for Prime Minister and really became ‘Captain Canada’. At only 28 years of age, Toews is one of the most decorated players in hockey. He boasts seven Gold Medals and one Silver Medal at the international stage, three Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy, a Selke Trophy, and multiple other awards at the NCAA and NHL levels. Toews is one of the league’s best two-way forwards. He’ll be adding to his trophy cabinet for years to come” – Chris Carnovale

6. Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers)

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“Claiming captaincy of the Flyers in 2012, Claude Giroux is an offensive threat from anywhere on the ice. Apart from his success on the faceoff dot, Giroux is a natural playmaker and goalscorer, leading the league in points over the past six seasons.” – Andrew Ostrosky

5. Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars)

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“With gold medals at the 2009 World Juniors and 2014 Olympics, Canadian-born Benn is the dominant force in Dallas. Becoming captain in 2013 and winning the Art Ross Trophy in 2014, don’t expect Benn to slow down. This 2-time all star is blazing a new trail in Dallas, and it’s pointed directly at the Stanley Cup.” – Jim McBride

 4. Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins)

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“Along with Kessel and Crosby, Evgeni Malkin is a main proprietor of the Penguin’s success over the past several seasons. A flexible player able to play both at center and on the wing, Malkin is praised for his ability to create plays and space. A two-time Stanley Cup champion, Malkin also boasts the Calder Memorial Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, and two Art Ross Trophies.” – Drew Bishop

3. Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)

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“At this point, it is hard to not put Patrick Kane in the conversation for the best American-born player of all time. His cabinet of achievements is something to behold; four All-Star Games, a Calder Trophy, a Conn Smythe Trophy, a Hart Trophy, an Art Ross trophy, a Ted Lindsay award, and three Stanley Cups. Patrick Kane’s hands are unmatched in the league, and his scoring shows it with 690 points in 686 career games. Oh, and that 12.3% career shooting percentage isn’t too shabby either.” – Dylan Coyle

2. Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)

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“Quite possibly the greatest goal scorer ever to play in the NHL, goaltenders shiver in their hockey pants when they see Ovi wind up from the top of the right circle. It isn’t only goalies that fear Ovechkin; when a skater chases the puck into the corner or crosses center ice with his head down when Ovi’s on the ice, they always run the risk of being leveled by 238 pounds of a Russian sniper. Ovi loves to throw his body around almost as much as he loves to score, and oh how he loves to score. Ovechkin currently sits at 32nd all time in goals scored, and at only 31 years old, he’s still got a lot of good hockey ahead of him. He will only keep on climbing.” – Chris Carnovale

1. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)

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“Arguably the best player in the league, Crosby has multiple Stanley Cup wins, multiple Art Ross awards, multiple Hart Memorial awards, the list goes on and on. His style of play is one of the fastest in the league and teammates even have a hard time keeping up with him. You will always see his name near the top of the list of points leaders.” – Andrew Ostrosky

*Correction: Johnny Gaudreau is from Boston College, not Boston University. Dylan recently applied to Boston University, and that was the only thing on his mind. Dylan is now in shame.

Chris Carnovale is the “The Wraparound” columnist for Good Night, Good Hockey. You can follow him on twitter @Chris_Carnovale

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