My Top 5 | assist leaders

Consider them Santa’s little helpers, the ones who are quick to gift-wrap perfect passes for their teammates.

Consider them Santa’s little helpers, the ones who are quick to gift-wrap perfect passes for their teammates.

Who can’t pass up a chance to put the puck on the stick of someone that wears the same jersey as they do? We offer up a handful of players who are definitely on the ‘Nice List’ for this year’s Holiday Season.

The Nice List


1. Mikko Rantanen - 41  

The 22-year-old Finnish winger has given the Avalanche a huge helping hand courtesy of a League-leading number of assists and points (56) in 2018-19. Drafted 10th overall in 2015, Rantanen racked up three assists (along with a goal) against Edmonton on December 11.

2. Blake Wheeler – 39

The player with the ‘C’ on his jersey consistently gets an A+ for his set-up skills. Wheeler sits atop the standings when it comes to power-play assists, with 18. Last year, he tied with Claude Giroux for the No. 1 spot in helpers, tallying 68 assists in 81 games.

3. Mitch Marner – 35

Toronto’s top-rate centre has been more than a passing fancy this year. The slick-skating Marner’s penchant for perfect passes has helped the Maple Leafs ascend to near the top of the League standings this season.

4. Nikita Kucherov – 34

Whether it’s lighting the lamp – he has 14 goals so far – or setting up his teammates, Kucherov is once again at the top of his game in 2018-19. Thirteen of his helpers have come when Tampa Bay is on the man advantage.

5. Nathan MacKinnon – 32   

He’s the second Avs player to land on this week’s list, teaming with Mikko Rantanen to give Colorado a power-packed one-two offensive punch. MacKinnon, who sits second in overall scoring (53 points) to his teammate, has picked up 14 assists via the power-play.