Preseason games have started and Win Column Sports continues its fantasy player breakdown with the Top 12 Left Wingers for your NHL fantasy draft.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 1 – Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars

 

Benn struggled last season, as did the entire Stars’ team.  The three seasons prior (starting 2013/14), Benn averaged 85 points per season.  Look for Benn’s production to return to normal this season and lead the Stars with 37 goals and 48 assists.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 2 – Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins

Brad Marchand is a prime candidate for regression this season.  Marchand posted a career high point production in 2016/17 with 39 goals and 46 assists for 85 total points.  Marchand’s previous career high was 61 points in 2015/16.  Look for Marchand’s point total to finish around 73 this year.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 3 – Max Pacioretty – Montreal Canadiens

Pacioretty received a lot of negative press during the playoffs as he tallied only one assist in six games in Montreal’s first-round disaster versus the Rangers.  Despite his playoff woes, Pacioretty recorded 35 goals and 32 assists, making it the fourth consecutive season Pacioretty has tallied 60 or more points in the regular season.  Since 2013/14, only Ovechkin (187), Pavelski (145), and Crosby (144) have scored more total goals than Pacioretty (141). Anticipate a similar stat line for Pacioretty in 2017/18.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 4 – Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames

Johnny Hockey took home the Lady Byng Trophy last season as the most sportsmanlike player, but Gaudreau also had an impressive year as a playmaker as well. Over the past three seasons, Gaudreau has tallied at least 61 points per season. Gaudreau picked up the production pace after the All-Star break scoring at a point per game pace.  Look for Gaudreau to lead the break-out Calgary Flames in scoring this season with 25 goals and 45 assists.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 5 – Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals

Ovechkin has scored more total goals (219) and recorded more total shots on goal (1712) over the past four seasons than any other player over that time. At 32 years of age, Ovechkin may start to slow down as he only tallied 0.73 points per game after the All-Star break, but 2017/18 should still be a productive season.  Look for 35 goals and 35 assists from Ovechkin this season.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 6 – Mike Hoffman – Ottawa Senators

Hoffman has been a consistent producer over the past two seasons, tallying an average of 60 points per season.  Expect this season’s production to maintain the consistent production rate with 28 goals and 37 assists for 65 points.  Hoffman may fly under the radar of your league mates, potentially making him a steal this season.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 7 – Artemi Panarin – Columbus Blue Jackets

Panarin may well be the biggest sleeper in the top 12 left wingers this year.  Panarin moves from Chicago to Columbus and should be the lead scorer with the Blue Jackets. Many people are predicting a regression in point total for Panarin, saying his point production will suffer without Patrick Kane, but Panarin is likely to create chemistry with Alexander Wennberg, Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, and a group of puck-moving defensemen. Look for another 30 goal, 75 point season from Panarin.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 8 – Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators

Forsberg just missed reaching the 60-point mark for the third season in a row, as he tallied 31 goals and 27 assists in 2016/17. The defensive style the Predators play limits his ceiling, but Forsberg turned up the production last season with 0.79 points per game after the All-Star break, compared to 0.65 points per game before the break. Forsberg followed his solid regular season with a strong playoff run helping the Predators reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. Look for 32 goals and 29 assists as Forsberg once again reaches the 61-point mark.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 9 – Taylor Hall – New Jersey Devils

Predictably, Hall’s production regressed upon arrival in New Jersey.  The Devils have regularly struggled to score, but 60 points per season is not unreasonable.  Hall should be able to reach 25 goals and 35 assists, but keep in mind he also has a lengthy injury history.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 10 – Jonathan Huberdeau – Florida Panthers

Huberdeau missed significant time last season due to necessary Achilles tendon surgery. Huberdeau finished with 26 points in 31 games. With the Achilles injury behind him, it would not be outlandish for Huberdeau to finish this season with 26 goals and 49 assists.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 11 – Jeff Skinner – Carolina Panthers

Jeff Skinner continues to improve as he reached the 63-point threshold last season, for the first time in his career. Skinner’s production jumped after the All-Star break from 0.74 points per game to 0.88.  Skinner could reach 67 points this season, with 40 goals.

NHL Fantasy Draft Left Winger 12 – Nikolaj Ehlers – Winnipeg Jets

Ehlers avoided the sophomore slump, improving his stat line to 25 goals and 39 assists, but Ehlers struggled after the All-Star break regressing from 0.85 points per game to 0.67. Ehlers could experience further regression in 2017/18 but a 25 goal, 35 assists season is expected.

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Fantasy Focus – Top 12 Fantasy Draft Left Wingers

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