26.1 percent of current NHL players were born in the United States, however, the majority of talent comes from just four states. 141 out of 253 American-born players come from Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota or New York. It’s time to take a look at which state produced the top talent this season.
NHL Players by State
There is at least one current player from every state in the United States. Minnesota holds the crown for most current NHL players born in one state. While they’ve produced the most players, it does not mean they have produced the top talent. The four-state race is a close one, but there’s one clear winner.
Number of players: 24
Total points: 660
Top Scorer: Jack Eichel (78)
Earning the title as the state with the top NHL talent is Massachusetts. Out of the top four talent-producing states, Massachusetts has the least number of players. What Massachusetts lacks in numbers they make up with the quality of talent they have.
Massachusetts could roll out a starting lineup of Eichel, Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, Keith Yandle and John Carlson with Cory Schneider in the net. Eichel, Kreider and Carlson were all nominated as All-Stars this season. Massachusetts own, Boston Bruins have three homegrown players in Charlie Coyle, Matt Grzelcyk and Chris Wagner.
With 660 points among 24 players, Massachusetts boasts a 27.5 point-per-player average. The highest of these four states. Massachusetts may not produce the most players in the league but they’re the state with the top NHL talent this season.
Number of players: 38
Total points: 583
Top Scorer: Kyle Connor (73)
Michigan has consistently produced a heap of NHL talent over the years. With 38 players this season, Michigan has produced the second-most players in the NHL. Led by Connor, a starting lineup could also consist of Bryan Rust, Dylan Larkin, Torey Krug and Zach Werenski with Connor Hellebuyck at goalie.
Hellebuyck was the lone Michigan-born All-Star this season. 583 total points among 38 players mean Michigan has a 15.4 point-per-player average, the lowest among these four states.
While not number one this year, the wolverine state is one of the top talent producing states in the NHL and will likely continue to be for a long time.
Number of players: 51
Total points: 787
Top Scorer: Blake Wheeler (65)
The state most widely associated with hockey. Minnesota has produced the most players in NHL history (7432) and has the most active players (51). They’ve also produced the most points in the NHL this season with 787.
For a starting line, Minnesota could play Connor, Brock Nelson, Zach Parise, Neal Pionk and Matt Niskanen with Alex Stalock at goalie. Outside of Pionk and Niskanen, Minnesota has produced some top defensive talent in Alex Goligoski, Nate Schmidt, Brady Skjei, Jake Gardiner and Nick Leddy to name a few. The Minnesota Wild have two Minnesota-born players in Parise and Stalock.
Minnesota has produced a lot of solid talent currently. They have a long list of very strong players but don’t have superstars. No player born in Minnesota was an All-Star this season. Despite that, they’re up there with Massachusetts as the state with the top state-born NHL talent.
Number of players: 29
Total points: 597
Top scorer: Patrick Kane (84)
New York puts up an impressive resume of players. Mostly in part due to Kane, who has nearly double the number of points as the next closest player. A possible New York-born starting lineup would consist of Kane, Alex Iafallo, Kyle Palmieri, Adam Fox and Charlie McAvoy with Jimmy Howard in the net.
Kane and Palmieri (did not play due to injury) were nominated as All-Stars this season. With a point-per-player average of 19.0, New York has the second-highest among these four teams.
While New York doesn’t boast many stars, they have a younger group of players in the NHL currently. 23 of the 29 New York-born players are in their 20s or younger. Players like McAvoy, Fox, Kevin Labanc, Miles Wood and Sonny Milano could help represent New York shortly.
American-Born NHL Players in the Future
These four states are the top-four point-scoring states in NHL history. They’ll continue to produce top talent for the foreseeable future. Wisconsin, New Jersey and Illinois are the only other states with double-digit active players.
States that previously had shown minimal interest in hockey are now beginning to see an increase in participation. For example, Arizona has shown an increase in hockey participation due in part to the Arizona Coyotes arriving in 1996.
According to a USA Today article, “Over the past five years, total hockey registration has increased 109 percent to more than 8,600 players, making Arizona the No. 1 state for growth in the NHL.”
The United States has been developing NHL players at a faster rate than ever before. In just five seasons, the number of American-born NHL players has grown from 136 (25.2 percent) to 253 (26.1 percent). More states across the country will be producing talent in the future.
Massachusetts and Minnesota are at the top of the class right now, followed by Michigan and New York, but that could change soon.
Embed from Getty Images