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The Puck Stops Here

Lack Of American Top Scorers

During last season, I wrote about the lack of American top scorers in a couple different posts and I wanted to re-address the situation this season.

Here are the top 10 American born scorers in the NHL and where they rank in the overall NHL race as of All Star break:

Top 10 American Born Scorers in the NHL so far in 2008/09
Player   
Team   
Games   
Goals   
Assists   
Points   
Position in Overall Race
Zach PariseNJD47282755

7th

Patrick KaneChi43162642

34th

Phil KesselBos42241741

36th

Brian GiontaNJD46112738

47th

Brian RafalskiDet4672835

64th

Jamie LangenbrunnerNJD4682634

69th

Dustin BrownLAK46171633

72nd

Bill GuerinNYI47141832

79th

Joe PavelskiSJS43131932

80th

Scott GomezNYR4392332

85th



In order to find the top 10 American born players we have to scroll to 85th in the overall league scoring.  There are 176 American born players (non-goalies) in the NHL who have played one or more games this season out of 808 players in the overall league.  That means 21.8% of position players in the NHL this season have been American born.  If we assume that they were randomly spread throughout the scoring race, most likely ten American-born players would be found after scrolling through 46 players in the overall scoring race.  Only three Americans are found by that point (Parise, Kane and Kessel - although Brian Gionta is 47th).  That clearly shows a problem.  American born players are missing from the top. 

To get an idea of how things have changed, we can look at the similar data from last season’s final scoring standings.  Here it is:

Top 10 American Born Scorers in the NHL in 2007/08
Player   
Team   
Games   
Goals   
Assists   
Points   
Position in Overall Race
Patrick KaneChi82215172

32nd

Scott GomezNYR81165470

38th

Zach PariseNJD81323365

47th

Dustin BrownLAK78332760

62nd

Brian RolstonMin81312859

64th

Keith TkachukStL79273158

66th

Chris DruryNYR82253358

68th

Mike ModanoDal82213657

72nd

Brian RafalskiDet73134255

82nd

Peter MuellerPhx81223153

86th



By comparing the two tables, we see that it while last year took 86 players in the overall scoring race to include 10 American born players, this year it takes 85.  That number is essentially unchanged.  At the top, Zach Parise is 7th in league scoring.  That is a big improvement from last year when the top American born player was Patrick Kane in 32nd.  That is a single player achievement.  Parise has improved.  It is not a systematic change.  The top 10 overall is about the same in both seasons.

We see that five players (Parise, Kane, Rafalski, Brown and Gomez) made the list both seasons, while the other five spots change from year to year.  Interestingly, since it is All Star break, we see that Keith Tkachuk, Mike Modano and Dustin Brown all made the All Star Game this year despite dropping in their rank in the scoring race.  That is an interesting showing about the quality of All Star Game selections.

Americans are making up an ever increasing amount of the players in the NHL.  However, they are not taking their places among the top scorers.  Why is this?  It is a problem for American hockey. 

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com