Although National Hockey League games are played in North America, skaters from any nation in the globe can get into the league.
A few years after the NHL was started in 1917, 44 of its players, or 91.7%, were from Canada. George Carey was the only British player in the league. He started playing for the Hamilton Tigers. The rest of the league was made up of three American players.
In 1987–88, 566 (76.9%) of the NHL players were from Canada, while 115 (15.6%) were from the U.S. Sweden and Finland each had more than 10 players in the NHL, and other countries such as Germany, Austria, Italy, and Slovakia also had players in the league.
The NHL has changed a lot in the 100 years since it first started. Canada still has the most players from one country, however the U.S. isn’t far behind. There are now participants in the NHL from 17 different countries.
Betting on the NHL
With a wide variety of markets offered across every match of the season, there are numerous methods to wager on the NHL. Money Line, Puck Line, and Goal Totals are the NHL’s three primary and most popular markets.
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Hockey becoming a global sport
Hockey leagues all around the world have worked together to promote the game, and as a result, each year more nations are represented in the game. Each NHL team’s roster features players from a wide variety of nations and can be found in every given NHL franchise.
Slovakia: Tomas Tatar
Stan Mikita, who was born in Slovakia but grew up in Canada, was the first famous Slovakian player in the NHL. The great Blackhawks player passed in 2018. He was in the Hockey Hall of Fame and might have been one of the best players of all time, no matter what country.
Defenceman Zdeno Chara has retired, so New Jersey Devils forward Tomas Tatar is now the top goalscorer among Slovakian players who are still playing.
Czech Republic: David Pastrnak
The Czech Republic has been recognized as a prominent international power since its athletes took home the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in 1998. Since the Czech Republic was formally established in the 1990s, the country has consistently ranked among the highest in the world.
They were consistently successful between 1995 and 2001, winning a medal at the Olympics or the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship on an annual basis.
David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins is the top Czech player in the world at the current moment. He is consistently near the top of the list for goal scoring in the NHL every single year, and is over a point-per-game over the course of his entire NHL career.
Sweden: Erik Karlsson
In the 1932–33 season, Gus Forslund was technically the very first Swedish player to play in the NHL. But when he was young, he relocated to Canada with his family. Defenceman Thommie Bergman didn’t really start making a difference for his countrymen until he was 40. He did this mostly as a Detroit Red Wing for eight years.
Erik Karlsson, a defenceman for the San Jose Sharks, has managed to win the James Norris Memorial Trophy twice as the league’s best player at his position.
Germany: Leon Draisaitl
Some people may think that Germany hasn’t had a big impact on the NHL in the past. But Uwe Krupp, a defenceman for the Colorado Avalanche, scored the game-winning goal in Game 4 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Final. The game went to three overtimes.
Leon Draisaitl, who plays for the Oilers, is often seen as Connor McDavid’s sidekick. Nothing would be farther from the truth, since he was drafted high because of his own skills. In 2020, he also went on to win the Hart Award.
United States of America: Auston Matthews
The USA ice hockey program has significantly improved in the recent decades. They boast some of the best talent in the world, and are quickly catching up to the Canadians for global hockey supremacy. Team USA has won four gold medals and nine total medals over the last 14 World Junior Championships.
Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs is considered to be one of the top players in the world right now. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the best American player in the game.
Canada: Connor McDavid
As you might anticipate, Canada still has the most players in the NHL. But Canada’s lead is getting smaller and smaller.
294 (or 41.4%) of the 711 athletes on opening-day rosters are from Canada. But it was about half six and a half years ago, and it was more than three quarters in the 1980s. It goes without saying that this isn’t just a Canadian tournament. It belongs to everyone now.
Everyone agrees that Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid is the best player in the world, so he is considered the current top NHL player from Canada.
Russia: Nikita Kucherov
Russian players have assisted in shaping the modern NHL, from Sergei Pryakhin, the first Soviet player, to Alexander Mogilny and other former members during the Cold War, to the famous “Russian Five” on the Red Wings.
General managers worry a lot about players leaving for the Kontinental Hockey League, but if the talent is there, Russians will always be good choices at the NHL Entry Draft.
Nikita Kucherov, a forward for the Tampa Bay Lightning, topped the league in playoff scoring two years ago and helped his team win its second straight Stanley Cup. So, he’s as excellent a delegate as any other, especially since he’s already won the Hart.
Finland: Aleksander Barkov
Albert Pudas was the first player in the NHL who was born in Finland. He was also an original Toronto Maple Leaf, since the St. Pats changed their name to the Maple Leafs during his one and only season with them (1926–27).
He only played in four games and didn’t score any points. Pudas was also brought up in Canada, so centre Matti Hagman, who got to play for four seasons, is considered the first.
Aleksander Barkov is a forward for the Florida Panthers. His name might indeed sound Russian, but it’s actually his father’s name. Alexander Barkov Sr. was a professional player from Russia.
Aleksander was born in Finland (and trained). Barkov won the Frank J. Selke Award as the league’s best defensive forward in 2020–21, so it’s clear that Finland did a good job.
Switzerland: Roman Josi
Switzerland is right around the 10-player mark, which may come as a surprise. To be honest, that does include Mason McTavish, the new player for the Anaheim Ducks who was born and raised in Canada. For what it’s worth, he actually played in Switzerland instead of the Ontario Hockey League during the short 2020-21 season.
Roman Josi, a defenceman for the Nashville Predators, spent his first several seasons playing in the silhouette of his former teammate and defensive partner Shea Weber. However, he has come to prominence as one of the best defencemen in the league and will win the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 2020.
Belarus: Yegor Sharangovich
Yegor Sharangovich, a forward for the New Jersey Devils, had a pretty good first season with 30 points, which was even more impressive because the season was cut short. He puts Belarus on this list and on the map.