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Ranking the Pacific Division's top 10 left wings

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We continue our look at the division's best with a focus on left wing. Here are the top 10 left wingers in the Pacific, as voted on by our panel.

Derek Leung

Just missed: Mikkel Boedker, Mason Raymond, Curtis Glencross

10. Chris Higgins, Vancouver Canucks


GP G A P TOI/G 5v5 P/60 O/D ZS% Corsi% Corsi Rel% SOG SH%
2013-14 (Canucks) 78 17 22 39 19:10 1.7 42.0 50.4 -1.2 216 7.9

Chris Higgins isn't the flashiest talent or most physical force but he's a smart, positionally sound two-way forward who can skate with and win puck battles against anybody. Last season, he was entrusted by John Tortorella to take on some of the toughest minutes available to Canucks forwards and performed admirably at both ends of the ice. Higgins might have trouble flirting with the 20-goal mark on Vancouver's third line, where he's slated to start the year, but he should be able to turn that unit into one that can capably saw off possession against the Kopitars and Thorntons of the division. Also his beefcake/60 is off the charts.

9. Andrew Cogliano, Anaheim Ducks


GP G A P TOI/G 5v5 P/60 O/D ZS% Corsi% Corsi Rel% SOG SH%
2013-14 (Ducks) 82 21 21 42 15:23 1.8 48.5 48.3 -2.3 157 13.4

There aren't many players in the NHL who are faster than Andrew Cogliano and that alone makes him a threat in all three zones. His possession numbers took a bit of a tumble last year due to Saku Koivu falling off at the tail end of his career but, make no mistake, Cogliano is another one of this division's elite two-way forwards and a player who's capable of taking shifts at all three forward positions to boot. Coming off the first 20-goal season of his seven-year career, the 27-year-old Cogliano will likely get a crack at playing alongside newly-acquired center Ryan Kesler which should help him maintain that production. Those two could also make for a lethal shorthanded duo.

8. Alex Burrows, Vancouver Canucks


GP G A P TOI/G 5v5 P/60 O/D ZS% Corsi% Corsi Rel% SOG SH%
2013-14 (Canucks) 49 5 10 15 17:49 0.75 60.4 55.4 +4.0 104 4.8

In a lot of ways, Alex Burrows' 2013-14 season was a microcosm of the Vancouver Canucks' 2013-14 season. Like the team around him, Burrows was plagued by injuries, a terrible shooting percentage and run-ins with a largely incompetent head coach. It was the worst offensive season of Burrows' career since 2007 and while it's a bit reductive to chalk all of that up to bad luck and John Tortorella, those were certainly two significant contributing factors. Burrows remained a useful defensive player and, while he won't start this season in his familiar spot alongside the Sedin twins, count on him to have a bounce-back year. From 2008 through 2013, only five players in the entire NHL scored at a higher clip 5-on-5.

7. Benoit Pouliot, Edmonton Oilers


GP G A P TOI/G 5v5 P/60 O/D ZS% Corsi% Corsi Rel% SOG SH%
2013-14 (Rangers) 80 15 21 36 13:26 1.8 58.0 55.0 +3.3 141 10.6

Most observers wrote Benoit Pouliot off as a first-round bust years ago and, while he admittedly hasn't turned into the All-Star forward Minnesota thought they were getting when they selected him 4th overall in 2005, that's a pretty unfair characterization of his ability. Despite bouncing around from team to team to team, Pouliot has been one of the most efficient 5-on-5 scorers in the NHL since 2009, clocking in at a 5-on-5 points per 60 rate identical to established stars like John Tavares, Joe Pavelski and Max Pacioretty over that span. He's also a terrific possession player who consistently outperforms his teammates by that measure. He might not be able to sustain those production and possession rates playing top-line minutes and he might not be the most disciplined player in the league but Pouliot is easily one of the NHL's best third-liners with an opportunity to prove himself in top-six minutes on the Oilers this season.

6. David Perron, Edmonton Oilers


GP G A P TOI/G 5v5 P/60 O/D ZS% Corsi% Corsi Rel% SOG SH%
2013-14 (Oilers) 78 28 29 57 18:57 1.92 48.5 45.8 +2.5 220 12.7

Speaking of players proving themselves in top-six minutes on the Oilers, David Perron was one of the few bright spots of yet another dismal season for Edmonton last year. In his first season donning the copper and blue, Perron set career highs with 28 goals and 57 points all while retaining his abrasive, under-your-skin style of play. He's a tremendously skilled winger with a penchant for annoying the crap out of opponents so he's basically the middle-class man's version of Corey Perry. He also has an extremely important role on the Oilers this season, as he'll need to maintain his level of play while likely carrying a rookie centerman in Leon Draisaitl.

5. Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks


GP G A P TOI/G 5v5 P/60 O/D ZS% Corsi% Corsi Rel% SOG SH%
2013-14 (Sharks) 37 15 10 25 15:19 2.58 53.3 55.1 +2.7 98 15.3

Perhaps it's premature to rank a player with 37 career regular season NHL games higher than established veterans but, hey, that's how our panel voted. You certainly can't prove that I tampered with the ballots. At any rate, 20-year-old Hertl's place on this list is a nod to what most expect him to accomplish if he stays healthy and on the left side of Joe Thornton for most of this season. Hertl fell in the draft largely due to concerns about his skating but his elite hockey sense allows him to put himself in position to catch breakaway passes on the regular and his puck skills help him manufacture offense out of nothing. He was 7th in the league in 5-on-5 goal scoring per 60 minutes last season before getting impaled by Dustin Brown so don't be surprised if he hits the 30-goal mark as a sophomore.

4. Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles Kings


GP G A P TOI/G 5v5 P/60 O/D ZS% Corsi% Corsi Rel% SOG SH%
2013-14 (Blue Jackets/Kings) 41 11 19 30 17:00 2.45 52.8 54.2 +0.5 103 10.7

It seems odd to describe Marian Gaborik as the final piece of the championship puzzle in Los Angeles. After all, that puzzle had already been completed two years prior to the Slovak winger's arrival in Southern California, the result of yet another trade deadline fleecing of the Columbus Blue Jackets by Kings GM Dean Lombardi. But Gaborik instantly provided an antidote to the one issue that had continuously plagued Darryl Sutter's Kings, even during parts of their 2012 run: a lack of offense. As one of the few forwards in the NHL with an extensive track record of elevating his teammates' shooting percentage, Gaborik turned a Kings team that routinely dominated possession but struggled to score into one that excelled in both areas. Since 2008, only two players in the entire NHL have averaged more 5-on-5 goals per minute than Gaborik: a couple of guys named Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos. Gaborik remains a lethal offensive threat and, if he can finally stay healthy, is one of the biggest reasons the Kings should be considered favorites to win the Pacific.

3. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks


GP G A P TOI/G 5v5 P/60 O/D ZS% Corsi% Corsi Rel% SOG SH%
2013-14 (Canucks) 73 16 31 47 20:36 1.62 58.9 56.4 +7.5 224 7.1

It's a little odd, if understandable, that the Sedin twins inked identical contract extensions last year because there's a pretty compelling case to be made that Henrik is the more valuable of the two, especially at this point in their respective careers. Sadly, Daniel simply hasn't been the same after Duncan Keith took an elbow to his brain back in March 2012. Since that concussion, Daniel has scored just 28 goals in 126 regular season and playoff games, an 18-goal pace over an 82-game schedule. For a guy who once scored 166 goals in a 5-year span capped off with an Art Ross Trophy, that's a long way to fall. So perhaps our panelists are betting on some upward regression from the soon-to-be 34-year-old who remains one-half of a dominant puck possession partnership. Still, one wonders if we'll ever see the pre-Keith Daniel Sedin again.

2. Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers


GP G A P TOI/G 5v5 P/60 O/D ZS% Corsi% Corsi Rel% SOG SH%
2013-14 (Oilers) 75 27 53 80 20:00 2.77 56.6 44.5 +0.5 250 10.8

Taylor Hall shouldn't be far from the top of anyone's list of the most exciting players to watch in person. He's a unique talent in that he combines a terrifyingly high skill level with a complete disregard for his health or that of anyone else as he barrels down the ice at top speed, forechecking or driving the net with reckless abandon. Of course, that style of play was a big reason he missed 38 games his first two seasons in the league but Hall has been healthier and incredibly productive over the past two seasons. Since the end of the most recent lockout, Hall has scored at an 89 points-per-82 games pace which is a very big deal in a league that sees very few players top a point per game. Only five players have scored more points than Hall since 2012 and it remains a mystery why he was left off Canada's Olympic team. His underlying numbers took a bit of a hit last season but given his prior track record as a driver of shot differential, that part of Hall's game should bounce back.

1. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks


GP G A P TOI/G 5v5 P/60 O/D ZS% Corsi% Corsi Rel% SOG SH%
2013-14 (Sharks) 82 33 37 70 20:53 1.96 46.4 53.2 -0.4 285 11.6

Only Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Corey Perry have scored more regular season goals than Patrick Marleau since 2008. No one has scored more playoff goals than the frequent postseason scapegoat since he entered the league. He's a two-time Olympic gold medal winner with Team Canada, entrusted with heavy, difficult minutes by head coach Mike Babcock on both occasions. He's a seven-time 30-goal scorer in a league where that feat is growing increasingly rare. He's a massive contributor on both special teams units for the Sharks. Even at 35, he remains one of the best, most versatile wingers in the NHL at both ends of the ice. If you're pointing to Marleau or Joe Thornton as the source of the Sharks' problems, think again.