Wingers: 16-20

16 – Jeff Skinner

Skinner has quietly been awesome since entering the league in 2010-11, when he scored 31 goals and won the Calder Trophy, topping out a rookie class that included Logan Couture, Taylor Hall, Michael Grabner, P.K. Subban, Corey Crawford, and Sergei Bobrovsky. He buried a career-high 37 pucks last season (third time he’s scored 30), and his 65 goals over the last two seasons is tied for ninth in the NHL.

17 – Mikael Granlund

Minnesota’s top line of Granlund, Mikko Koivu, and Jason Zucker was one of the top forward lines in the league last season. Granlund was the team’s leading scorer in 2016-17, putting up a career-high 69 points in 81 games. A player that has been emerging as a 200-foot force in recent years that blossomed last season.

18 – Wayne Simmonds

Simmonds is a better, more consistent version of Milan Lucic. A great two-way player who plays a brand of hockey that couldn’t be a better fit for the Flyers. Simmonds has started getting more pucks to the net in recent seasons and it’s resulted in the best offensive seasons of his career, setting a career-high in goals (32) and tying his career-high in points (60) in 2015-16 before scoring 31 more goals last season.

19 – Mats Zuccarello

One of my personal favorites. Another undersized player (5-8, 179 pounds) who doesn’t let size get in the way. Zuccarello and linemate Chris Kreider set the pace for the Rangers offense. While he only scored 15 goals last season, he was getting more pucks to the net. A little more fortune will lead to better results.

20 – Max Pacioretty

The Habs captain has scored 30-plus goals in each of the last five full NHL seasons, including 35 in 2016-17. He’s second behind Alex Ovechkin with 1.39 goals per 60 minutes among players that have played 400 games since 2011-12.

Matthews v. Laine I Tonight

The No. 1 pick in this past NHL Draft faces off against the No. 2 for the first time what should be a good matchup between top-heavy teams in Toronto and Winnipeg. The only other matchup isn’t half-bad, either, as Detroit takes on the New York Rangers.

Here’s the slate of games for Wednesday: Toronto at Winnipeg, 8; Detroit at N.Y. Rangers, 8.

Players to Watch

Toronto: Auston Matthews; Facing Patrik Laine for the first time in what should be a showdown between two players, picked first and second, respectively, in the 2016 NHL Draft, and should be two of the best players of their respective generation. Matthews hasn’t scored since his four-goal performance in the opener against Ottawa.

Winnipeg: Patrik Laine; For the reasons listed above.

Detroit: Tomas Tatar; Has no goals and is a minus-four through three games.

N.Y. Rangers: Mats Zuccarello; Has taken five shots, two have gone in. He might want to shoot the puck some more.


Patrik Laine: Pots the hat trick right in front of Matthews.

Game of the Night

Toronto at Winnipeg: Two choices, both of which are good. But this matchup is too good to pass up.

Lock to Win

N.Y. Rangers: The Rangers look much improved in what has been a small sample thus far, especially on the defensive side of the puck.