The NHL has seen many of the game’s greatest players at the left wing position. This article will rank the top 5 NHL left wingers of all time with an explanation as to why the players rank where they rank.
5. Paul Kariya
If Paul Kariya never had his career cut short due to injury he could easily be higher on this list. He totaled 989 points in 989 career games, and was unquestionable one of the best offensive left wingers to ever play the game.
Despite his career being cut short he still ranks ninth in assists amongst left wingers and 14th in career points amongst left wingers. Since 1967 he is one of seven left wingers to average a point per game with at least 500 career games.
He will also always be remembered for his memorable moments against the New Jersey Devils in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals where he was knocked out cold, and would come back to score a goal.
4. Brendan Shanahan
One of the greatest power forwards of all time, while still possessing soft hands and quick shot. He totaled over 2,000 penalty minutes and still lit the lamp 656 career goals, which ranks 14th all time, and third amongst left wingers.
Shanahan was a crucial part of one of the greatest dynasties of all time in the late 1990s and early 2000s Detroit Red Wings winning three Stanley Cups in 1997,1998, and 2002. Shanahan could also make plays for his teammates totalling 698 assists.
His career point total tallies 1,354 which ranks 26th all time amongst all positions. Shanahan’s overall combination of power and skill is why he ranks fourth on the list of greatest left wingers of all time.
3. Bobby Hull
Bobby Hull is one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of the NHL totaling 610 career NHL goals which could have been way more if he didn’t play 7 seasons in the WHA. Bobby Hull was one of the first pure goal scorers the NHL has ever seen.
Hull won the Rocket Richard Trophy seven times, including four straight from 1965-1966 to 1968-69. He also won back to back Hart Trophies in 1964-65 and 1965-66, and three Art Ross trophies during his career.
Hull’s legacy will always be remembered as one of the greatest pure goal scores in the history of the NHL.
2. Luc Robitaille
Luc Robiataille is one of the most underrated players in the history of the NHL. He totaled 1,394 career points which ranks second all time amongst left wings. He was one of the most complete offensive left wingers to ever play the game.
Robitaille started his career with eight straight 40 goal seasons, before transitioning later in his career to a great playmaker for his teammates. He ranks second all time amongst left wingers with 726 career assists.
He would finally win a Stanley Cup in 2002 with the Detroit Red Wings at the age of 35 adding the final accolade to a legendary career.
1. Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin is on pace to break Wayne Gretzky’s career goal record, which many thought was untouchable. The greatest goalscorer of his generation easily, might end his career as the greatest goal scorer ever.
Ovechkin has the most goals ever by a left winger and won a ridiculous nine Rocket Richard Trophies, including seven in eight years. He also is tied for the most 50 goal season in NHL history with nine.
For a majority of his career he was only missing one accolade which was the Stanley Cup, and he finally captured that in 2018 while also winning the Conn Smythe.