The top 15 forwards in the Metropolitan Division for the 2021-22 season


This week marks the start of NHL training camps, which means the start of the season is just around the corner.

The NHL is returning to its normal divisional format this season, which means the Pittsburgh Penguins are back in the Metro Division with their regular rivals. With that in mind, we wanted to take a quick look at the division and take a look at the top 15 forwards in the Metropolitan Division.

  1. Sidney Crosby, Penguins of Pittsburgh. He’s going to miss the first two weeks of the season, but he’s still the Metropolitan Division standard and one of the top two or three players in the world. Still an elite offensive player and a complete 200-footer in every way. A legend of the game.

2. Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers. Panarin is the rare free agent pickup who will likely be worth the money for almost his entire contract. He’s one of the most dominant offensive players in the league and a complete game changer every time he walks on the ice.

3. Sébastien Aho, Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are one of the best teams in the league and should be eligible for the Stanley Cup. Aho is the centerpiece around which everything is built. One point player per game which leads to possession.

4. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals. He can still score goals at insane rates and is still the league’s most dangerous player on the power play. Like Crosby, an ever-strong gaming legend.

5. Matthieu Barzal, New York Islanders. Barzal is the only differentiator the Islanders have up front, and when he’s at his best he should be considered one of the league’s go-to players for his speed and hands.

6. Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers. He has been an elite defensive player since joining the NHL and for the past several years has added elite offense to his resume. A magnificent player from all points of view.

7. Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals of Washington. He’s not underrated, so don’t try to sell this story. Everyone knows he’s awesome, and has been for some time. But he’s a player that I think we’ll look back on and recognize his greatness on a lot more after he retires than we did while playing.

8. Evgeni Malkin, Penguins of Pittsburgh. Out of the big three of him, Crosby and Ovechkin, I think Malkin is probably starting to slow down the most, but he can always be a game-changer when he’s healthy. I still don’t know when he will play this season.

9. Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers. He’s always been a very good player, but his game has taken it to a whole different level over the past three years. He and Panarin give the Rangers two dominant offensive players to compete with right now. Zibanejad is an unrestricted free agent after this season and is expected to be on the line for huge pay.

10. Jake Guentzel, Penguins of Pittsburgh. It’s easy to dismiss his production as the product of playing alongside Crosby, but he’s an exceptional player in his own right. Excellent shot, smart, always knows where to be and a good sneaky presence in front of the net.

11. Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes. He’s already a great player for his age, but he’s now entering the phase of his career where he should be ready to take a big step forward and become an elite scorer in the division and the league.

12. Patrik Laine, Columbus blue jackets. Kind of a mystery at this point. He’s been one of the league’s top scorers, he’s only just getting started in the league, but his Columbus debut a year ago was horrible. Are John Tortorella’s estrangement and a new start to the season putting him back on track? For the love of Columbus, it’s better.

13. Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils. Every time I watched Hughes play last season he looked like a force that just needed better talent around him. He’s made a huge leap from year one to year two and should be ready to make an even jump this season ahead of his third season. Like an 80-90 point jump.

14. Teuvo Teravainen, Carolina Hurricanes. It’s still baffling how the Hurricanes got him as a touchdown for accepting Chicago’s Bryan Bickell’s contract recall. He is in his early years, a point per game player when in good health and an elite possession driver.

15. TJ Oshie, Capitals of Washington. The Capitals are getting older and Oshie is at the top of that list, but he can still play at a high level and control the game at both ends of the ice.


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