The NHL has officially started celebrations for its 100th anniversary, starting with the Outdoor Classic in Toronto on New Year’s Day.
The Toronto Maple Leafs won a wild affair against Detroit, 5-4 in overtime.
We’ve already gotten into the spirit and published our 100 greatest players of all time. Purely subjective, but we think most would agree the picks were solid.
Since it’s a global game now, we got to thinking, who were the best NHLers to come from each country? Again, a subjective list that excludes greats like Vladislav Tretiak, who would have been a star in the NHL.
Looking at historical representation, Canada leads the list with over 5,000 (5,071 to be exact), naturally. The U.S. has put just over a fifth of that total in the league with 1,145. It’s a sliding scale from there, with talent born in far flung places like Japan and Lebanon.
So, we’ve come up with a pretty fair list that will include a team (two goalies, six defencemen, 12 forwards) each from Russia, Sweden, Finland, the old Czechoslovakia (combined), Europe (all other nations), the U.S. (two teams) and Canada (five teams: Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, B.C.).
Now that we have chronicled the best from Russia, Finland and Sweden, Czechoslovakia, the rest of Europe, and the American Second Team, here are the greatest of greats from the USA and we’re calling it the First Team (from goalies to defencemen and then forwards).
He might be injured right now, but few goalies in the past eight seasons have been as good as Quick in the Los Angeles net. The Milford, CT native, who has yet to win a Vezina, can content himself in the fact that he has been between the pipes for two Stanley Cups, coming up huge in the Kings 2012 championship run. He went 16-4 in those playoffs, with a league leading 1.41 goals against average, .936 save percentage and three shutouts, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in the process. This after a stellar season where he was 35-21-13, along with a 1.95 GAA, .929 save percentage and a NHL high 10 shutouts. He earned Second Team All-Star honors and came second in Vezina voting. Quick won the Jennings Trophy during the 2013-14 season for fewest goals against, surrendering just 100 in 49 games. Lifetime, Quick has won 252 of 467 starts, has a 2.27 GAA (second among American goalies), .916 save percentage and 42 shutouts (first among all US netminders).