As we lead up to the beginning of the 2023–24 season, we’ll be breaking the depth charts at key positions for every NHL team to rank them from first to best. Next in our series are wingers.
Teams may be built through the centre of the ice, but some of the most exciting and dynamic players in the NHL play on the wing. Every true contender will have a good balance of speed, skill and size as well as some veterans and young guns on the wings.
Before going through the wingers, check out the 2023–24 NHL centre depth rankings here. Without further ado, let’s take a look at how every team stacks up.
#1 New Jersey Devils
The Devils are absolutely loaded on the wings. In the span of a few months, they’ve added Meier and Toffoli and have transformed their depth chart on the wings from average to elite. Meier is an elite play driver and 40-goal talent while Toffoli is coming off a career year and is a strong two-way player.
Adding the above three names to a group that already included a budding star and first line talent in Bratt as well as two young talents on the rise in Mercer and Holtz leaves the Devils with a group no other team can match.
#2 Carolina Hurricanes
Top to bottom there are almost no weaknesses in this group. Svechnikov is a star and one of the best wingers in the league while the likes of Necas and Jarvis are both young stars on the rise, particularly Necas who posted 71 points last season.
The talent doesn’t stop there though as the Hurricanes also have a group of solid veterans in Teravainen, Martinook and Fast filling up their bottom-six. To top it off they went out and added a really solid complimentary piece in Bunting in free agency to bolster their group even more.
#3 Florida Panthers
The Panthers group is led by Tkachuk who has established himself as one of the best players in the world and undoubtedly a top-five winger in the NHL. It’s not all Tkachuk though. Verhaeghe has long been one of the most underrated players in the league and broke out with 42 goals and 73 points last year.
Florida also possesses another underrated top-sixer in Reinhart who can play all over the lineup and has posted back-to-back 30-goal seasons. Adding a two-way gem in Rodrigues in free agency adds some more depth and talent to an already solid group. The bottom-six group isn’t great but it’s far from bad.
#4 Dallas Stars
The Stars have one of the older groups in the league that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best. Robertson is a full-fledged superstar and at 24 is only getting better. Alongside him, they’ve got the ageless Pavelski who continues to be a strong play-driver and point producer at 38.
In the middle-six, the Stars are very strong with Benn who is coming off a career resurgence with 78 points and the newly signed Duchene who is still a strong point producer. Add in Marchment and Dadonov who are both decent options in their own right and the Stars are set on the wings.
#5 Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche have a deep and balanced group on the wing. Rantanen leads the way as he’s firmly a top-10 winger in the NHL and is coming off a career year with 55 goals and 105 points. The Avalanche lack any other gamebreakers on the wing but what they do have are a plethora of very solid players.
Both Nichushkin and Lehkonen are strong two-way wingers who can also chip in 50–60 points. Tatar meanwhile was a perfect cheap addition as he’ll slide in perfectly on the second or third line and has long been a strong play-driver. The wild card is Drouin who the Avs are hoping can re-discover his elite offensive instincts with former Mooseheads teammate MacKinnon that made him a top-three pick.
#6 Ottawa Senators
The Senators have made key free agent signings in back-to-back years that have given them one of the best winger groups in the NHL. Both Tarasenko and Giroux are past their prime but remain very solid top-six wingers who any team would love to have. That said the group is obviously led by captain Tkachuk who had a big 83-point season last year. There are some obvious flaws in his game, but he’s without a doubt one of the better left wings in the NHL.
Batherson’s 62-point breakout gives the Senators a deadly group at the top of their lineup. Kubalik, Greig, and Joseph give them some nice depth in the bottom-six too.
#7 Seattle Kraken
The Kraken lack any superstar talents but not many teams can match their depth. McCann is coming off a breakout 40-goal, 70-point campaign and while he may not be an elite winger, you can do a lot worse than him as your number one. The Kraken’s group goes with a scoring-by-committee approach after McCann. Both Burakovsky and Bjorkstrand are solid top-six wingers who can chip in 50–60 points.
The Kraken also boast two solid veterans in Schwartz and Eberle who provide insulation around their younger wingers. Lastly, Tolvanen fit right in after being claimed on waivers last year with 16 goals in 48 games and has the chance to become a key piece for the Kraken given his talent.
#8 Boston Bruins
The Bruins roster was gutted this offseason but their winger group remains strong. Not many teams can match a one-two punch of Pastrnak and Marchand. Pastrnak is a top-five winger in the NHL and probably the best right wing in the world right now. Marchand meanwhile remains an elite top line talent into his 30s.
DeBrusk finally breaking through last season with 50 points in 64 games was huge for the Bruins and provided much-needed depth behind their big two. Adding JVR in free agency is a nice middle-six add although the talent gets very thin after him.
#9 Tampa Bay Lightning
The loss of Killorn hurts but the Lightning’s winger group still remains solid mainly due to their one-two punch of Kucherov and Stamkos, the former who is an unquestioned top-five player at his position and an elite point producer. Stamkos meanwhile continues to put up big numbers into his 30s and has shown no signs of slowing down.
From there the talent drops off but the Lightning still possess the underrated Hagel who is coming off a big 64-point season. Past their top three options though the Lightning could run into some scoring issues on the wing if Sheary and/or Jeannot don’t bounce back from poor seasons.
#10 Los Angeles Kings
The Kings don’t have any superstar players on the wing but they boast incredible depth from top to bottom. The group is led by Fiala who is a consistent point-per-game winger and strong play driver. Kempe meanwhile is coming off a career year with 41 goals and should continue to post 30+ every year.
Past the top two, it’s all about depth. Byfield and Kaliyev are both young guns with high ceilings. If one or both break out the Kings would fly up these rankings. Arvidsson and Moore meanwhile are two of the more underrated veteran wingers in the league and great options in the middle-six.
#11 Winnipeg Jets
By moving out Pierre-Luc Dubois for two strong wingers in Vilardi and Iafallo the Jets have put together one of the better wing groups in the NHL. Vilardi in particular posted some elite defensive numbers while adding in 41 points in 63 games last year and looks like a player with top line potential. Connor leads the way for the Jets though as his offensive talent is unquestioned but his defensive impact prevents him from being a true number one winger.
When healthy Ehlers is one of the best five-on-five wingers in the league and arguably the Jets’ best overall forward. Lastly, Iafallo and Niederreiter are both real solid middle-six options that provide the Jets with a lot of depth on the wings.
#12 Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs group is of course led by Marner who is an elite talent and a top 10 winger in the NHL who gets it done at both ends. Nylander meanwhile has back-to-back 80-point seasons and would be the top right wing on most NHL rosters.
Newly signed Bertuzzi and Domi are great additions who should provide the Leafs with some much-needed offence on the wings after their top two guys. The wild card is rookie Knies who has tons of potential and a big year from him could take the Leafs even higher on this list.
#13 Minnesota Wild
This is a well-rounded group led by a true superstar in Kaprizov who is on the cusp of being a top-five winger in the NHL. Past him, the emergence of Boldy has been huge for the Wild and he should only get better. Zuccarello meanwhile continues to produce at a top line rate and is a nice compliment on the left side.
Foligno, Johansson and Maroon are all solid veterans to round out the bottom-six.
#14 Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers don’t have any stars on the wing but what they do have are players who perform well with their superstar centre duo. In particular, Hyman broke out last year with 83 points and was a perfect complimentary piece in the top-six. Nugent-Hopkins meanwhile may be a power play merchant but 100 points is 100 points.
Kane has found a second life in Edmonton and is capable of 30 goals when healthy. If Brown can re-ignite his chemistry with former Otters teammate McDavid and turn into Hyman 2.0, the Oilers will be looking very nice on the wing.
#15 Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes look really solid on the wings. If Keller played in almost any other market he’d be considered a bonafide star and is only getting better after his 86-point breakout season. Schmaltz meanwhile is an underrated top line winger after back-to-back seasons at nearly a point per game.
Maccelli had a real solid rookie year and should continue to improve, adding some nice depth behind Keller and Schmaltz. Add in veteran Zucker and back-to-back 20-goal scorer Crouse and the Coyotes are set to rise in these rankings soon.
#16 Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres have a solid group led by two current first line wingers in Skinner and Tuch and two young talents in Peterka and Quinn. Tuch in particular took his game to a new level last year in Buffalo with a career high 79 points. Skinner has reignited his career and should be a lock for 30 goals.
Quinn and Peterka meanwhile are two supremely talented prospects and with some progression in 2023–24 should bring the Sabres up these rankings.
#17 New York Rangers
Panarin is a superstar capable of 100 points and is an elite power play option, although his five-on-five impact leaves a lot to be desired. Kreider is as reliable as they come and is a very strong five-on-five player but there are concerns he may begin slowing down as he enters his mid 30s.
Past those two it’s all about potential. If Lafreniere and Kakko can reach the potential that made them both top two picks the Rangers are looking much better on the wing. However, if they remain middle-six, 40-point forwards, the Rangers don’t have a ton to like after their top two options.
#18 St. Louis Blues
The Blues have a dynamic duo on the wing but after that, the talent gets a little dry. Buchnevich remains incredibly underrated as a consistent point-per-game winger. Kyrou meanwhile is coming off back-to-back 70+ point seasons but gives up a lot defensively.
Saad and Kapanen are decent veterans but both would be third liners on contending teams. Vrana looked great in St. Louis after being plucked off waivers and the hope is he can continue his resurgence this year as the Blues need some more scoring punch.
#19 Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins boast a solid veteran group on the wings which is perfectly fine when you’ve got two elite centres. Guentzel is by far the best of the group and can put up 40 goals when healthy. Past him, there are no true stars though. Newly acquired Smith, Rust and Rakell are all nice complementary pieces who round out the top-six but none are true first liners.
#20 Calgary Flames
After trading Tyler Toffoli and losing Pelletier to injury the Flames’ wing group looks dicey. Huberdeau is the best of the bunch and despite a disastrous 2022–23 season, should bounce back to a point per game rate in 2023–24. Mangiapane is the next best name and similarly should bounce back to the 25-goal, 50-point range in 2023–24.
Past those two it gets really thin in the scoring department. The Flames are really hoping Sharangovich can rediscover his 2021–22 form in the top-six. Coleman, Dube and Duehr are all good players to have for depth but none of them move the needle much offensively.
The wild card is top prospect Coronato who has all the makings of a top-six scoring winger but he’ll likely need some time to adjust to his first pro season first.
#21 Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets group very likely shoot up these rankings in a year but for now they’re just okay on the wings. Gaudreau had a big falloff in his first year in Columbus but remains one of the most dynamic players in the NHL and should rebound to the 80–90 point range again. Laine has begun to round out his game and combined with his elite finishing talent has made him a true top line talent.
The big potential to rise in these rankings should come from Marchenko and Johnson who both possess high ceilings and with some more experience should create a very solid top four winger group in Columbus.
#22 Washington Capitals
The Capitals group is pretty underwhelming. Ovechkin is as one-dimensional as ever as he chases the goal record but is still an elite goal scorer. Past him though there isn’t much top-end talent. Mantha, Wilson and Oshie are all solid veteran options for the second or third line but none of the three are true difference-makers.
#23 Detroit Red Wings
DeBrincat is a great add and should bounceback to the 40-goal range this year and is the clear number one in this group that really lacks star talent behind him. Raymond took an unfortunate step back last year that really slowed down what looked like a sudden rise to stardom. The Wings really need him to bounce back this season.
Perron, Fabbri, and Sprong are all solid middle-sixers but again, they’re not top-end talent which the Red Wings really lack.
#24 Vegas Golden Knights
For the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, this is a very weak group. Mark Stone remains an elite two-way player but at this point, he’s unlikely to ever play more than 60 games in a season again. Marchessault is a strong two-way player who provides 70-point potential but after him, it gets pretty rough.
Amadio and Carrier are solid depth players coming off 16-goal seasons but no one else here moves the needle.
#25 Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks lack any stars but they have some nice depth on the wings. The best of the bunch is Kuzmenko who exploded onto the scene last year with 39 goals and 74 points. Behind him Garland remains an underrated two-way winger and while Boeser has really struggled the last couple of years but is still able to chip in offensively.
Beauvillier and Mikeyev are both good depth to have but are playing higher than they should. If Podkolzin can finally start to show his potential it would be huge for the Canucks.
#26 Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks group on the wing lacks a true star but Troy Terry is close and with more talent in the middle he could get there. For now, he’s a good first liner. Killorn while overpaid is a good add on the ice as he’s a strong top-six left wing. Strome and Henrique are solid but on a good team, they’re more complementary pieces than top-six options.
Overall the Ducks group very much looks like one of a team in the middle of a rebuild but you can certainly get worse than their group.
#27 New York Islanders
The Islanders group is the definition of mid. Luckily Barzal’s shift to the wing gives them at least one dynamic option. Barzal has all the talent to become a true franchise talent, but for now, he remains a solid first liner. Lee is the only other winger of note here as he’s coming off a couple of solid 28-goal seasons and is a strong play driver.
Palmieri is still capable of being an impact player when healthy but at 32 his best days are behind him. Clutterbuck and Martin are at least good fourth liners.
#28 Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens group is very much a work in progress. Caufield is the only first line talent right now and carries legit 50-goal potential if he can stay healthy. Past him, there isn’t much of note here. First overall pick Slafkovsky carries oodles of potential but didn’t look great in his rookie season.
Monahan, Gallagher, Anderson and Pearson are all decent veterans who carry some nice skills but none of the four are difference-makers or even top-six wingers anymore. The Habs have a long way to go.
#29 Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers winger group is carried by Konecny who is the only true top line talent. When healthy Atkinson can still be an effective second liner but isn’t much more. Farabee and Tippett are younger players with potential but both look more like middle-six options. Shoutout Hathaway for being one of the best fourth liners in the NHL.
#30 Nashville Predators
The Predators group can be summed up as Forsberg and a bunch of guys. Forsberg is the only top line talent in this group by a wide margin. Nyquist was a nice veteran add but he’s a second or third liner on most teams in the league.
There is potential here in the form of Tomasino, Parssinen and Evangelista all of which have the potential to become solid top-six wingers but they aren’t there yet.
#31 San Jose Sharks
This is a rough group and well behind even the 30th ranked team. There isn’t a single top line talent here to speak of. At least adding Zadina, Hoffman and Duclair give them some more scoring but it’s still very bleak in San Jose right now.
#32 Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks went out and added three veterans to their group in Hall, Perry, and Foligno to give them a boost on the wings but Hall is the only difference maker. Alongside Bedard, he should be able to put up some nice goal and point totals. Other than that the group is rounded out by washed-up veterans.
Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire