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Wings on the bubble

Five who fell short of making NHL Network's Top 20 list

NHL.com @NHL

NHL Network knows who the best players are in the League right now. They will reveal their version in a nine-episode summer series, airing weekends. The second episode is Sunday at 7 p.m ET and focuses on the Top 20 wings.

Did your favorite wing make the list? Tune in Sunday to find out and join the conversation with the #NHLTopPlayers hashtag. Here is a preview of the series and a look at five wings on the bubble, who just missed the top 20.

There are a lot of great wings in the NHL, but who are the 20 best playing right now?

NHL Network will answer that question on Sunday, and Kevin Weekes, a goalie who spent 11 seasons in the League from 1997-2009 and now serves as an analyst, shared his input with what makes a top wing.

 

[RELATED: #NHLTopPlayers Right Now | Top 10 NHL Goaltenders]

 

"Having the ability to score or set up a teammate and create plays as well as being able to handle a lot of ice time and play in different situations are trademarks of some of the better wings in the League," Weekes said.

The Top 20 wings will be revealed in the show, but Weekes discussed some on the bubble who just missed the cut among the show producers and NHL Network analysts who made up the selection panel.

 

21. Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators

Hoffman, 27, has scored at least 26 goals in each of the past three seasons, and led the Senators in goals twice. He had a career-high 61 points, 13 power-play goals, 26-power-play points, eight game-winning goals and was plus-17 last season.

"Hoffman has one of the most explosive shots in the League," Weekes said. "He can score from distance, and it's difficult for goalies, especially if he hits that one-timer, to get over there and catch up to it. He's becoming a better passer which can make him more dangerous."

Video: PIT@OTT, Gm6: Hoffman cranks slapper in off post

 

22. Viktor Arvidsson, Nashville Predators

One of the breakout players of 2016-17, Arvidsson tied for the Predators lead in goals (31, with Filip Forsberg) and points (61, with Ryan Johansen) during the regular season. He had four power-play goals and led the League with five shorthanded goals, and was tied for the lead with seven shorthanded points. Arvidsson, 24, had six game-winning goals and 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games to help Nashville reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in its history.

"You'd be hard-pressed to find 5-10 forwards in the League that work as hard and are as productive as Arvidsson on every shift," Weekes said. "He rarely makes mistakes and is an engine for the Predators. For him to tie Filip Forsberg for the team lead in goals last season, I think shows you the kind of player he is."

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Arvidsson finishes Fisher's setup

 

23. Mitchell Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs

Marner was fourth in Calder Trophy voting, finishing first in assists (42), and tied for third in points (61) and sixth in goals (19) among rookies. He was a key part of the Maple Leafs' power play with 21 points, and had five-game winning goals. Marner, 20, also had four points (one goal, three assists) in six playoff games.

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm1: Marner lays out to open the scoring

 

24. Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks

Rakell, 24, has increased his goals, assists and points total in each of the past four seasons, which included 33 goals, 18 assists and 51 points in 71 games in 2016-17. He led the Ducks in goals and his 18.6 shooting percentage ranked second among players with at least 150 shots on goal last season (Mark Scheifele, 20.0 percent). Rackell, who led the League with 10 game-winning goals, helped the Ducks advance to the Western Conference Final with 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 15 games.

"Rakell might be the best goal-scorer on their team right now, no disrespect to Corey Perry," Weekes said. "if I'm a guy looking at who has the speed and the skill and the touch to score right now naturally, I'd pick Rakell."

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm5: Rakell ties the game late in the 3rd

 

25. Alexander Radulov, Dallas Stars

In his first season in the NHL since 2011-12 after spending the past four in the Kontinental Hockey League, Radulov made up for lost time. He had 54 points (18 goals, 36 assists) in 76 games with the Montreal Canadiens and had career-highs with 16 power-play points, including six goals.

Video: Alexander Radulov channels his inner Peter Forsberg

 

Here is the schedule:
Aug. 13:
Top 20 wings
Aug. 20: Top 20 centers
Aug. 26: Top 20 defensemen
Sept. 3: Top 50 players (50-41)
Sept. 10: Top 50 players (40-31)
Sept. 17: Top 50 players (30-21)
Sept. 24: Top 50 players (20-11)
Oct. 1: Top 50 players (10-1)

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