2020 Fantasy Hockey Tiers: Left Wings (6-8)

Updated: September 24, 2019 at 2:39 pm by Brock Seguin

Our top 28 left-wingers were broken down into five Tiers and the next 15 are separated into three more Tiers. The remaining left-wingers include a mix first-liners on lesser quality teams and proven veteran top-6 wingers. 

Check out any of our other Tiers posts: 

Tier 6

  • 29. Brady Tkachuk
  • 30. Jaden Schwartz
  • 31. @J.T. Miller
  • 32. Jonathan Drouin
  • 32. Alex Galchenyuk
  • 33. Tyler Bertuzzi
  • 34. Zach Parise
  • 35. Jason Zucker

Tkachuk is a massive winger (6-foot-3, 198 lbs.) who is coming off of a strong rookie campaign despite playing for a 29-win team. The Senators may not be much better this season, but Tkachuk should take a step forward. He should see a huge bump in ice-time (16:01 ATOI in 2018) as the team’s top offensive option and that should afford him the ability to improve on last year’s totals—maybe even substantially.

Schwartz had another injury-plagued campaign in 2019, playing less than 70 games for the second straight season. In addition to the injuries, he was limited by a 6.0 shooting percentage and 7.4 on-ice SH%, so there is plenty of reason to expect a bounce-back in 2020. Schwartz should play the majority of the season with Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko and the trio continues to be one of the best 5v5 possession lines in the NHL. They carried a 56.1 CorsiFor% while averaging an elite 34 ScoringChancesFor/60 and 16 HighDanger SCF/60. A combined 4.26 on-ice SH% should drastically improve this year, making Schwartz a very intriguing target.

After a year and a half in Tampa Bay, Miller was dealt to the Canucks this offseason. It is a huge opportunity for Miller, who goes from buried on the Lightning’s fourth-line to playing in the top-6 with Bo Horvat. If he was able to put up 13 goals and 34 assists (47 points) with just 14:40 ATOI, he should easily eclipse 20 goals and 30 assists in Vancouver’s top-6 and top power-play unit.

In his second season in Montreal, Drouin matched his career-high with 53 points (18G / 35A). Drouin will line-up with Max Domi again in 2020 after posting a 51.1 CF% and averaged 28 SCF/60 in 2019. There were no red flags in Drouin’s rates, so another 50-point season is expected but it seems like the former No.3 pick has somewhat limited upside.

Galchenyuk heads to his third team in three seasons after being traded to the Penguins for Phil Kessel this offseason. His fantasy prospects are much better lining up with Evgeni Malkin than they were in Arizona and the former 30-goal scorer should be in for a bounce-back season. The bump in ice-time at 5v5, potential top PP role and drastically better linemates should be all Galchenyuk needs to return to at least 20-plus goals and 50-plus points in 2020. There may be untapped potential that this elite surrounding cast could help unlock.

Bertuzzi had a strong finish to the 2019 season, recording 13 points (5G / 8A) in his final seven games, inflating his overall season total. Any potential regression (16.0 SH% / 11.3 on-ice SH%) should be offset by playing an entire season on the top line with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha. The trio was fantastic at 5v5 last season and a lack of competition for minutes should allow Bertuzzi to have a career-year in 2020.

Parise has averaged 30 goals and 30 assists per 82-games over the last five seasons but he has missed 19.6 percent of the games over that span. Parise plays a key role on the Wild’s top-line and top power-play unit, making him a 30-30 candidate but there are obvious durability concerns.

Zucker will battle with Parise for playing time, but both should see top-6 minutes with Parise likely getting more power-play work. Zucker’s SH% dipped last season and his on-ice SH% was a paltry 6.0 percent, so there are two reasons to expect a better year from Zucker. With back-to-back 200-plus shot seasons, Zucker is a safe bet for 25-plus goals and 25-plus assists.

Tier 7

  • 36. Tyler Johnson
  • 37. Andreas Johnsson
  • 38. Jake DeBrusk

Johnson is currently slated to open the season on a line with Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. The trio was rarely together last season but Johnson did spend 64 percent of his 5v5 ice-time with Kucherov in 2018 and 16 percent with Stamkos in 2017, so there is familiarity. I don’t need to tell you that playing with Kucherov and Stamkos makes you a viable fantasy threat and gives Johnson a sturdy 25-25 floor.

Johnsson is another player with a top-line role in the Atlantic Division, at least to open the season. With Zach Hyman expected to miss at least 12 games, Johnsson is projected to start the year with John Tavares and Mitch Marner. Johnsson was able to score 20 goals with 23 assists while playing just 13:40 ATOI last year, so a boost to the top-line for the first month makes him a great late-round target. Additionally, Johnsson is currently skating on the team’s top power-play unit as Nazem Kadri’s replacement, further adding to his fantasy stock.

The third Atlantic Division winger in this tier is DeBrusk. The third-year winger is a fixture in the Bruins’ top-6 on a line with David Krejci and just had a 27-goal season. While it’s unlikely that he will shoot 17.3 percent again, playing next to a playmaker like Krejci and a role on a lethal top power-play unit make DeBrusk a player who has 30 goal aspirations.

Tier 8

  • 39. Brandon Saad
  • 40. Andreas Athanasiou
  • 41. Tomas Tatar
  • 42. Gustav Nyquist
  • 43. Victor Olofsson

Saad has been extremely consistent, albeit unspectacular during his NHL career. Over the last four seasons, Saad has averaged 223 shots per 82-games, making him a consistent 25-goal threat. He has never topped 30 assists in his career and a lack of power-play production over his career has limited his upside, but he’s reliable and the potential of playing with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane makes him a low-end No.3/high-end No.4 left-winger.

Athanasiou has always been a player in search of a larger role, and in 2019 he finally played consistent top-6 minutes and it led to a 30-goal season. The 25-year-old winger will play a similar role in 2020 but will play with Valtteri Filppula or Frans Nielsen which caps his upside. Still, the solid shot volume makes him a candidate for 30 goals for the second year in a row, but don’t expect huge assist totals.

Tatar thrived in his first season with the Canadiens, posting a career-best 58 points (25G / 33A) in 80 games. The best news for Tatar is his 12.8 SH% and 8.5 on-ice SH% are right in-line with his career averages and his power-play production was extremely modest. One negative, is the Canadiens may not be quite as good as they were last year, but he is still in a solid top-6 on a line that was really good at 5v5 last season. We probably saw his ceiling last year, so don’t expect more in 2020.

Nyquist signed with a Blue Jackets team that is devoid of high-end left-wingers, which means you can safely project him in their top-6. Early indications are that Alexandre Texier is the favourite to replace Artemi Panarin on the top-line, leaving Nyquist to play with Alexander Wennberg and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Ultimately, Nyquist will probably be a 20-goal, 30-assist guy. Nothing more, nothing less.

Olofsson is expected to get a look in the Sabres top-6, maybe even on the top-line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. The 24-year-old excelled in his first season in North America, leading the Rochester Americans (AHL) in goals (30) and points (63) and then adding four points (2G / 2A) in six games with the Sabres. With his heavy shot and two great linemates, Olofsson has sleeper/breakout potential in 2020.

Alex Galchenyuk, Andreas Athanasiou, Andreas Johnsson, Brady Tkachuk, Brandon Saad, Fantasy Hockey, Gustav Nyquist, J.T Miller, Jaden Schwartz, Jake DeBrusk, Jason Zucker, Jonathan Drouin, Tomas Tatar, Tyler Bertuzzi, Tyler Johnson, Victor Olofsson, Zach Parise