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Top Players

#NHLTopPlayers: Top 10 in Pacific Division writers make selections to highlight NHL Network weekly countdown

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

NHL Network will air the fourth episode of "Top 50 NHL Players Right Now," a five-part series, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. ET. New episodes will air each Sunday through Sept. 30.

Before the network unveils 10 players on its list in each episode, an writer will reveal his or her top players in one of the four divisions the previous Friday. Today, staff writer Tim Campbell ranks his top 10 players in the Pacific Division.


[RELATED: #NHLTopPlayers]


1.Connor McDavid, F, Edmonton Oilers

McDavid has no rival as the best player in the Pacific Division, standing head and shoulders above the other players on this list. He scored 41 goals last season and had 108 points to win his second straight Art Ross Trophy. He is also coming off a second straight Ted Lindsay Award as the NHL's best player, voted by his peers. Last season, McDavid led the NHL with 84 even-strength points, the most since Henrik Sedin's 83 in 2009-10. Scary thought: Few think the 21-year-old center has reached his peak.

Video: Connor McDavid wants to score more goals


2. Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings

Doughty is uber-competitive and durable, having not missed a regular-season game the past four seasons. He's won the Stanley Cup twice (2012, 2014) and the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman in 2016. He proved again how indispensable he is last season, leading the NHL in total ice time (2,200:31) for the third time in four seasons and was first in ice time per game (26:50) on his way to being voted a Norris finalist and a First-Team All-Star for a second time.

Video: Drew Doughty is named No. 2 on the list


3. Erik Karlsson, D, San Jose Sharks

Karlsson's arrival in the division shifts the balance of power. The two-time Norris Trophy winner (2012, 2015) had 62 points (nine goals, 53 assists) in 71 games for the Ottawa Senators last season despite missing the first two weeks following offseason foot surgery. His impact on the Sharks, and on the division, appears certain this season.

Video: NYI@OTT: Karlsson pots Duchene's nice feed


4. Anze Kopitar, F, Los Angeles Kings

Kopitar has won the Frank Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward in two of the past three seasons (2016, 2018) and did so last season with NHL career-bests in goals (35), assists (57) and points (92), which tied Phil Kessel of the Pittsburgh Penguins for seventh in scoring. Kopitar also averaged an NHL career-best 22:05 of ice time, which led all forwards.

Video: Anze Kopitar is named No. 6 on the list


5. Joe Pavelski, F, San Jose Sharks

The Sharks captain had 66 points (22 goals, 44 assists) in 82 games last season and has been a model of consistency and steady production over his 12 NHL seasons. At 34, his leadership and ability to thrive in the tough areas of the ice have never been stronger and he has remained durable, having missed one regular-season game the past seven seasons. Pavelski is 55.2 percent on face-offs in the NHL and has never had a season below 51.8 percent.

Video: VGK@SJS, Gm4: Pavelski taps home own rebound for PPG


6. Johnny Gaudreau, F, Calgary Flames

Gaudreau, who has vision and creativity that are unsurpassed in the division, put up career-best numbers last season, with 84 points (24 goals, 60 assists) in 80 games.

Video: Johnny Gaudreau lands at No. 35 on the list


7. Leon Draisaitl, F, Edmonton Oilers

The powerful 22-year-old has 147 points in 160 games the past two seasons and is just unlocking his potential as a high-skilled, two-way power forward.

Video: VAN@EDM: Draisaitl rips shootout winner past Nilsson


8. Ryan Getzlaf, F, Anaheim Ducks

After missing six weeks early last season because of a broken cheekbone, Getzlaf returned to be more than a point-per-game player (61 points in 56 games). He helped push the Ducks into the playoffs for a sixth straight season.

Video: NJD@ANA: Getzlaf gives Ducks early lead


9. Brent Burns, D, San Jose Sharks

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound defenseman, winner of the 2017 Norris Trophy, has a more outside-the-box game than most at his position but can dominate like few others.

Video: SJS@VGK, Gm2: Burns blasts big slap shot for PPG


10. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Vegas Golden Knights

With a 29-13-4 record, 2.24 goals-against average and .927 save percentage, Fleury would have been in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy last season had he not been out Oct. 14 to Dec. 11 with a concussion.

Video: Marc-Andre Fleury takes the No. 6 spot on the list

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