Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Top 10 (Plus Two) American-Born Players Of All-Time

So who is the greatest American-born hockey player of all-time? Without letting Jeremy Roenick decide the issue for us (according to the ever-humble JR, "I think it's a tie between me and Mike Modano"), a distinguished Rink panel took a look at some players and some numbers and came up with our own "Top 10 (Plus Two) Greatest American-Born Players of All-Time." The criteria used included productivity, individual accolades, team achievements and other intangibles. And while historians may take umbrage with a list that doesn't include a single pre-1980 name (apologies to Hobey Baker, Si Griffis, Moose Goheen et. al.), hopefully our readership will find this list both accessible and debatable.

No doubt controversy will ensue, so let's get right to it, starting with #10:

10) Keith Tkachuk (13 seasons; active): 439 goals*, 847 points in 866 games (.98 points per game, 65 points per season); two-time 50-goal scorer; career +49; four-time NHL All-Star; two-time second team All-NHL; member 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team; member 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team

9) Tom Barrasso (19 seasons; retired): Career 369-277-86 record, 3.24 goals against average and .892 save percentage; second most wins (Vanbiesbrouck) of any American-born player; Calder Trophy winner; one-time Vezina Trophy winner; one-time Jennings Trophy winner; NHL All-Rookie team; one-time NHL All-Star; one-time first team All-NHL; two-time second team All-NHL; two-time Stanley Cup winner; member 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team

8) Jeremy Roenick (16 seasons; active): 481 goals, 1133 points in 1156 games (.98 points per game, 71 points per season); two-time 50-goal scorer; three-time 100-point scorer; career +183; played in 70+ games in 12 different seasons; nine-time NHL All-Star; member 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team

7) Phil Housley (21 seasons; retired): 338 goals, 1232 points in 1495 games (.82 points per game, 59 points per season); has played in more games (1495) and has more assists (888) and points (1232) than any other American-born player; played in 70+ games in 16 different seasons; NHL All-Rookie team; seven-time NHL All-Star; one-time second team All-NHL; member 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team; member 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team

6) Mike Modano (15 seasons; active): 474 goals, 1150 points in 1143 games (1.01 points per game, 77 points per season); one-time 50-goal scorer; career +136; second behind only Housley in career points by an American-born player; played in 70+ games in a season 13 time; NHL All-Rookie team; six-time NHL All-Star; one-time second team All-NHL; one-time Stanley Cup winner; member 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team; member 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team

5) Mike Richter (14 seasons; retired): Career 301-258-73 record, 2.89 goals against average and .904 save percentage; three-time NHL All-Star; one-time Stanley Cup winner; member 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team; 1996 World Cup of Hockey All-Tournament Team; member 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team; 2002 Olympics All-Tournament Team

4) Pat LaFontaine (14 seasons; retired): 468 goals, 1013 points in 865 games (1.17 points per game, 72 points per season); two-time 50-goal scorer; two-time 100-point scorer; Masterson Trophy winner; one-time second team All-NHL; member 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team; Hockey Hall of Fame member

3) Joe Mullen (17 seasons; retired): 502 goals, 1063 points in 1062 games (1.00 points per game, 62 points per season); one-time 50-goal scorer; one-time 100-points scorer; has scored the more goals (502) than any other American-born player; Patrick Trophy winner; two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner; one-time first team All-NHL; three-time Stanley Cup winner; Hockey Hall of Fame member

2) Chris Chelios (21 seasons; active): 179 goals, 918 points in 1438 games (.64 points per game, 44 points per season); career +311; one-time +/- award winner; 3-time Norris Trophy winner; NHL All-Rookie team; 11-time NHL All-Star; five-time first team All-NHL; two-time second team All-NHL; two-time Stanley Cup winner; member 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team; 1996 World Cup of Hockey All-Tournament Team; member 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team; 2002 Olympics All-Tournament Team

1) Brian Leetch (17 seasons; active): 246 goals, 1016 points in 1176 games (.86 points per game, 60 points per season); one-time 100-point scorer; career +32; Calder Trophy winner; two-time Norris Trophy winner; one-time Smythe Trophy winner; NHL All-Rookie team;ten-time NHL All-Star; one-time first team All-NHL; three-time second team All-NHL; one-time Stanley Cup winner; member 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team; member 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team; 2002 Olympics All-Tournament Team

Plus Two) Mike Eruzione/Jim Craig: Miracle workers - enough said.

Honorable Mention (in no particular order): John LeClair, Doug Weight, Tony Amonte, John Vanbiesbrouck, Neal Broten, Ken Morrow1, Rod Langway1, Gary Suter

* All stats current through January 10

1 Ken Morrowand Rod Langway added after initial posting (thanks, CasonBlog)


What do you think?

15 comments:

CasonBlog said...

At first glance, I thought Modano deserved a higher rating. But upon reflection, you can't argue with the placement of Hall of Famers ahead of Modano. Excellent stuff. Did you think about Ken Morrow?

JP said...

Morrow - Four Cups, 1980 Olympic Gold, career +129, 17 goals, 109 points in 550 games... definitely deserves an honorable mention. But does he bump Tkachuk?

CasonBlog said...

I could see Morrow him bump a handful of those guys. Ken's move to the NHL after '80 demonstrated that American hockey programs could produce more than just overachieving college players. I know a few others on the "Miracle" team had careers in the NHL, and many of the guys on the list are/were perennial stars, but Ken was a dominant force on a mutli-cup winning team at a time when there weren't a wealth of Americans playing with impact in the NHL.

Dave C. said...

But Mikey Mo is a lock to get into the HoF - JR not so much, I think Tka has a better chance of getting in.

Plus Tkachuck was born in Melrose, MA which is the toothless blow-job capital of western, MA

JP said...

Points very well taken re: Morrow, but I still think he's an honorable mention. Great player? Sure. But I think he benefitted from being on some great teams. Keith Tkachuk, on the other hand, has proven his value and productivity regardless of the talent surrounding him.

Roy said...

No Neil Broten?

dunzy said...

Langway is actually the greatest Taiwanese-born player of all-time, no?

The Falconer said...

Wasn't Brett Hull born in the States? He played for the USA at the Olympics.

JP said...

Hull was born in Belleville, Ontario. His mother was (is?) American, therefore he could play for the U.S. internationally after Canada snubbed him.

Anonymous said...

i think the beeser should be the best teander most shutouts, wins, won the Vezina Trophy in 1986 tom did too mike didn't and has a 2.97 gaa when barrasso's is 3.23 but no cups so ill let it go but he played the best game i have ever seen in the 96 finals but that team sucked he was the reason they were in that game

Anonymous said...

I live on Long Island and saw the champ teams from 1980 - 1983. Morrow was a 4-6 d. I think Mike Ramsey was the best NHL defenseman from the Miracle team.
I think John Vanbiesbrouck is the best American born goalie.
I think Neal Broten should be on the list.

RJC said...

Brian Leetch over Chris Chelios? I respectfully disagree. Leetch certainly has more offensive prowess than Chelios, but Chelios is overall a better defender and player than Leetch. He has a career +/- of 341. Compare that with Nick Lidstrom's (arguably one of the best, if not the best, defenders in NHL history) +/- of 334. The man's work ethic continues to amaze me, as he plugs along at age 45, still providing solid D to a competitive Wings team. Maybe a third ring will push him past a stagnant Leetch.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, and I forgot to mention Leetch's comparatively dismal career +/- of 25. Yes, 25.

Anonymous said...

Langway was definitely born in Taiwan--previous poster is correct. Otherwise, he should be very high on this list. One of the best stay at home defensemen of all time for sure.

Anonymous said...

Dave Langevin. 4 Stanley Cups, US Hall of Fame. No US-born has more cups than him.