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Impressive Generation of American NHLers

From Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News:

Starting backwards from the goal crease, America rules, flat-out. Tim Thomas and Ryan Miller own the past three Vezina Trophies and if you need a straight-up comparison, ask Roberto Luongo who pumped who’s tires in the Stanley Cup final. Martin Brodeur is a legend and possibly the best of all-time, but how much magic does he have left as he approaches his 40th birthday? Thomas is a young 37 and Miller is in his prime. In the here and now, you want one of the Yanks.

On defense, the top three North American scorers from last season were American – Keith Yandle, Dustin Byfuglien and James Wisniewski. Sure, you take Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty ahead of that class, but statistically at least there’s intriguing fodder.

Up front there is still a gulf. Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos are ahead of Zach Parise and Patrick Kane and that’s not even considering Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry or Eric Staal. But here’s an interesting question: Would you rather have Ryan Kesler or Jonathan Toews?

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Lindas1st's avatar

I believe the last generation of Americans were better all-around. In goal is probably the one position where the current generation is better. And one of those goalies -Thomas - is actually part of the previous generation. Remember he’s 37. That’s only a few years younger than most of the players from the last generation. If he didn’t love hockey as much as he does he probably would’ve retired 5-10 years ago instead of hoping around Scandanavia and jumping from league to league.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 08/26/11 at 04:47 PM ET

Avatar

But here’s an interesting question: Would you rather have Ryan Kesler or Jonathan Toews?

With a simple answer: Toews.

Top three North American scorers from last season were American – Keith Yandle, Dustin Byfuglien and James Wisniewski. Sure, you take Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty

So excluding number 1 and 2, the US had the 3 of the top 5, but can you really ignore the top 2?

I’m all for promoting USA hockey and US players, but this article is making a reach in its comparisons.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 08/26/11 at 05:16 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I think the article misses the mark in that the top-level talent between this crop and the previous crop of US-born players isn’t maybe that different.

However, the depth is VERY different.  EXAMPLE: It used to be that picking 6 American defensemen was kinda’ a terrifying proposition, in that the #5 and #6 guys might be scary to have on your team if a couple were hurt or something.  Now you have quite a list to choose from honestly, you could probably rattle off a list 12 - 16 that wouldn’t make you want to hurl.  I’d say the same is true for forwards, there’s just a lot more depth around.

Doubt me?  That 1996 World Cup Goald Medal team had huge names… but do you know who the 8th defenseman was on that squad?  Shawn Chambers (he of the Lowest Player Rating In Videogame History fame—check your copies of NHL 93 and you’ll see what I mean).

http://www.priomh.com/pics/Poor Shawn Chambers.jpg

Anyhow… Richter was great but backing him up?  Guy Hebert and Jim Carey.  You could do far better now in naming a 3rd to back up Thomas and Miller, and both of them would be a far better #2 than either Carey or Hebert..

The US has made progress, but it’s not in the top tier, it’s in the depth of talent available.  And that’s why it seems that in the OLY, WJC’s, and WC’s the US gives the Canadians fits (depth, speed, and two-way play).

Posted by Primis on 08/27/11 at 01:02 AM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

That’s a really good point Primis.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 08/27/11 at 01:26 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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