Though lacrosse may technically be the official sport of Canada, let’s be honest, it’s really hockey. Canadians run the league as over 40% of players in the NHL are from the North. Many players come from many different cities in Canada. While there is international tournaments to see which country has the best hockey team, what would a national tournament look like with the all-time players? Which major Canadian city would have the best starting lineup? Below is the ranking.
All-time NHL rosters by city
For the purpose of this post I have counted all of Saskatchewan and all of the Maritimes as separate “cities”. If you are from either of those areas and don’t agree with this approach, apply for a job at your local city’s tourism department.
C: Brayden Point, LW: Taylor Hall, RW: William Nylander
D: Cale Makar, Mike Green
G: Mike Vernon
I wrote a more detailed look at Team Calgary previously, which is the inspiration for this Canada-wide exercise.
C: Mark Messier, LW: Johnny Bucyk, RW: Jarome Iginla
D: Scott Niedermayer, Dave Babych
G: Grant Fuhr
C: Joe Sakic, LW: Paul Kariya, RW: Glenn Anderson
D: Morgan Rielly, Brent Seabrook
G: Carey Price
C: Jonathan Toews, LW: Patrick Sharp, RW: Mark Stone
D: Duncan Keith, James Patrick
G: Terry Sawchuk
C: Bryan Trottier, LW: Patrick Marleau, RW: Gordie Howe
D: Wade Redden, Brad McCrimmon
G: Cam Ward
C: Dale Hawerchuk, LW: Connor McDavid, RW: Steven Stamkos
D: Mark Giordano, Paul Coffey
G: Curtis Joseph
C: Rod Brind’Amour, LW: John Ogrodnick, RW: Mike Gartner
D: Denis Potvin, Doug Wilson
G: Gary Wilson
C: Mario Lemieux, LW: Luc Robitaille, RW: Maurice Richard
D: Ray Borque, Kris Letang
G: Martin Brodeur
C: Sidney Crosby, LW: Brad Marchand, RW: Nathan MacKinnon
D: Al MacInnis, Don Sweeney
G: Jake Allen
1) Team Montreal
This team has literally zero weaknesses. The forward group looks like it will be able to score a goal every minute, while the defence corps probably has the ability to do the same if they really want to. Every single player is a Hall of Famer except Kris Letang—although it is only a matter of time before he gets inducted too. The team has players that are some of the best forwards, defence, and goalies in the game.
2) Team Toronto
This forward group and defence corps is very scary, especially with the best player in the NHL included on the team. The team is strong in every area, however, it seems like goaltending is the weak spot for team Toronto. No disrespect to Curtis Joseph as he had a great career, but he is no Martin Brodeur (and that’s okay!).
3) Team Vancouver
Joe Sakic and Paul Kariya on the same line? Sign me right up. This team would be very special to watch. Brent Seabrook would have to do the major lifting for Morgan Rielly on the backend when it comes to defending the zone, but this team will have no problem generating offence, and keeping pucks out of the net with Carey Price between the pipes.
4) Team Maritimes
A line of Crosby, Marchand, and MacKinnon is a line that we may very well see in the Olympics (if they ever end up playing) and it would be an unstoppable line. Their defence is very solid as well with MacInnis and current Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney making up the blue line. However, goaltending takes a bit of a dip compared to higher-ranked rosters as the best goalie is Jake Allen.
5) Team Saskatchewan
Whenever you have Gordie Howe on your team, you are probably going to be pretty successful. There are a couple of Hall of Famers on this team and one individual in Patrick Marleau who might get inducted as well. Though the province only has around one million residents, there is some great talent that comes out of Saskatchewan.
The Lower Half #6-9
Below are the rankings of the remaining teams. Winnipeg and Edmonton have some very impressive rosters with players who have had lots of success in their careers. Ottawa has multiple legends listed on their team, while Calgary’s roster is mostly made up of current NHL players still adding to their career.
6) Team Edmonton
7) Team Winnipeg
8) Team Ottawa
9) Team Calgary
Do you agree?
This is a fun and very subjective exercise that I am sure many people in the hockey world will have different opinions on. Who did I forget? Which teams would you rank higher than others? Are there any players that you can see making an all-time roster in the future? Let us know!