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The Top Three Skaters In The NHL 

I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the greatest talent in the league in particular situations. Skating has improved dramatically in the 23 years I’ve been covering the sport. Speed kills. Slow teams suffer in this league, and I’ve targeted three players who drive other teams crazy. I’m not ranking them beyond the top three.  

Jack Hughes – His edgework is crazy. The way he constantly keeps moving and causing matchup problems in the offensive zone is scary. Since last season, Hughes has been scoring at an elite clip. Last year he averaged 1.14 points per game and now this year, it’s up to 1.31. Former New Jersey Devils great, Scott Stevens had 60 assists in 1993-94, a team record. Hughes has 40 so that’s in jeopardy. Patrick Elias had 96 points in 2000-01, another team record that’s in jeopardy since Hughes has 76 points in 58 games.  

photo by Katelynn Reiss.

I brought up the scoring because his skating makes it all possible. At 21, he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. How do you get a player like this? Through the NHL Draft.  

Watch his acceleration and edge work create chaos.  

Connor McDavid – He has the best acceleration with the puck. His game speed is faster than any player I’ve seen in my 59 years on this earth. Saying he’s fast doesn’t really explain it. Defenseman can’t play him up close.  

At this point in his career, every team expects him to get one assist or one goal when they play the Edmonton Oilers. At this point, McDavid’s speed allows him to shatter his own scoring records. His goals, 52, are a career-high, his 70 assists are nine off his career pace, and his 122 points are one off his career-high. He still has 18 games left to continue this assault on the NHL. 

photo by Katelynn Reiss.

This shows acceleration, and he has great edgework too. It’s crazy. 

Cale Makar – His best traits are his speed and his deceptive skating moves too. That slipperiness that he exhibits along the wall really messes with players. The deception is created by the edge work and the fact that he has the puck, you think he’s dishing it, and then he’s past the defender with the puck and that’s what he does in every game. 

Once Makar stops and starts it throws off any defense and that’s when chaos ensues. Makar is at .96 points per game in his short career. He is in double figures for goals again and might be the top goal-scoring defenseman in the game. His career average is .027. As an example, Erik Karlsson, who has had an amazing year, is .30 this season. The Avalanche have an exceptional defenseman, that’s for sure.

The next list will be the three best stick handlers. 

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