Friday, February 8, 2019
Best player from every NHL market
With 31 teams all around the U.S. and Canada, the NHL has inspired many kids to play hockey, and some of those kids have made it to the big leagues. Every market has its own players, and today, we'll be looking a every market's best. Unfortunately for international players, there won't be any on this list because there isn't any NHL teams outside of North America. Also, if a team is the only one in its state/province, then I'm counting the whole state or province. If not, it will need to be broken down into city or area.
Anaheim: Jason Zucker
Anaheim isn't a major hockey market, and has just two NHL players hailing from it. One is Rocoo Grimaldi, and the other is Ian McCoshen.While both aren't great picks, but are both directly from Anaheim, Zucker is from Newport Beach. While Newport Beach is 20 miles from the next closes NHL team, the Ducks. Zucker has 28 points this year, and is coming off a year in which he scored 33 goals and 64 points.
Arizona: Auston Matthews
The easiest pick on this list and the one who inspired this article, Matthews is the NHL's best ever player from the desert. Well, not quite. Matthews was actually born in San Ramon, California, but his family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona when he was a toddler, and learned to play hockey in Arizona. So, that counts. Matthews has become a superstar, from first overall pick in 2016 to scoring 47 points in his first 39 games this year. Sean Couterior and the second generation Tkachuks are also from Arizona.
Boston: Jack Eichel
Anaheim and Arizona have new NHL teams in small hockey markets. Boston is a big market with an original six team, and has raised past stars like Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk. Currently, there is Keith Yandle, John Carlson and Chris Kreider, but they all fall short of Eichel. In his first four seasons, Eichel has consistently racked up 55+ point seasons, and is currently on pace for a new career high.
Buffalo: Patrick Kane
Another easy one. The next closest players from Buffalo are the Foligno brothers: Nick and Marcus, and Miles Wood. Since being picked first overall in 2007, Kane has scored well over a point per game, with 907 points in 876 games. In just 54 games this year, Kane already has 32 goals and 79 points. He has never dropped below 21 goals and 55 points in a season. The former was in his age 19 season, and the latter was during the shortened season.
Calgary: Taylor Hall
This one was close between Hall and Brayden Point, with William Nylander coming in third (he was born in Calgary but plays in Sweden internationally). While Point is currently having a great season with Hall injured, Hall has racked up 37 points in 33 games, and is the reigning MVP. His great year last year, and his good numbers in limited time this year puts him at the top of the Calgary market.
Carolina: Ryan Hartman
I counted both Carolinas for this, and they have had just four combined players ever. Logan Brown, Ben Smith and Jared Boll for the North, and just Hartman for the South. Well, Hartman is the only one to play in an NHL game this year, making him the easy choice. Hartman is a decent player, scoring 18 points in 56 games this year, and a career 81 in 218. All he had to do was play one game this year to get the honors.
Chicago: Ryan Dzingel
Dzingel was actually born in Wheaton, Illinois, but counts for Chicago. For an original six team, Chicago doesn't really have too many good NHL players. Yes, they've had retired players like Chris Chelios, Eddie Olczyk and Tony Granato, but it's current players aren't too great. Craig Anderson has fallen off, and John Moore and Josh Manson are probably the next best options after Dzingel. Anyways, Dzingel has a breakout year right before he's due for a new contract, with already 20 goals and 20 more assists in 52 games. Both will likely soon be career highs.
Colorado: Ben Bishop
The state of Colorado has only ever had 15 NHL players, and none are Hall-of-Famers. Its all time point leader is Mike Eaves, and its games leader is B.J. Crombeen. Only three notable current players are out there, with defenseman Brandon Carlo and Jaccob Slavin supporting Bishop. Bishop has a career .919 Sv%, with a 2.35 GAA. This year, he has a .924 Sv% and 2.30 GAA. In 2015-16, he lead the league with a 2.06 GAA.
Columbus: JT Miller
Columbus actually has just two NHL players ever in Kiefer Sherwood and Jack Roslovic. But, since Cleveland and Cincinnati don't have any NHL teams, Columbus gets all rights to Ohio. Miller, a Dublin native, has 28 points in 48 games this year, and has averaged 57 points over the last two seasons. He has 218 points in 408 career games. Helps when there isn't really anyone else in your state.
Dallas: Seth Jones
There isn't any players from Dallas, but the Stars get all of Texas. That includes Jones, who is from Arlington. Blake Coleman and Stefan Noeson are from Plano and Tyler Myers is from Houston. Jones is the only all-star, and he has scored 33 points in 46 games this year as a defenseman. This comes after a 16 goal/57 point season in 2017-18.
Detroit: Dylan Larkin
Michigan had a lot more players than I expected. It was close between a bunch of players. Larkin, Kyle Connor, Connor Hellebuyck, Alex DeBrincat and Zach Werenski are on the long list of Michigan born NHL players. I chose Larkin because I think he is the best, and well, he gets a bonus point for playing for his hometown team. Larkin currently has 53 points in 55 games, and is the player the Red Wings are building around. He's the only franchise player from Michigan.
Edmonton: Brendan Gallagher
There is a lot of players from Edmonton. Like, a lot. But surprisingly, there isn't any current all-stars. All the good players from Alberta are from Calgary. Gallagher might be Edmonton's best. Gallagher has scored 21 goals and 35 points in 55 games this year. His goal total is currently the third best of his career. He had 31 last year. He is solid, but I didn't expect him to top a big market.
Florida: Shayne Gostisbehere
There has been 10 players from Florida ever, and only two current players. Since both Gostisbehere and Jakub Chychrun are from the Miami side, I'll give the Tampa Bay side the rights to Georgia. Gostisbehere already is Florida's all-time point leader with 172, and while he has just 22 so far this year, he had 65 in 78 games last year, and in 2015-16, was second in Calder voting, but mainly because Connor McDavid missed half the season, and stormed back to just third
Los Angeles: Matt Nieto
With Kevan Miller the best player actually from L.A., Nieto is my pick. He is from Long Beach, which is just a mile closer to Los Angeles than Anaheim. For three NHL teams, California doesn't really have many NHL players, as its best player is by far Matthews, who really is from Arizona. Nieto has 16 points in 50 games this year, and 123 career points in 388 games.
Minnesota: Blake Wheeler
The state of hockey is arguably America's deepest hockey state, with stars like Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, Nick Leddy, Anders Lee, Brock Boeser, Zach Parise, Kyle Okposo, Brady Skjei and many others. But the Plymouth native, Wheeler, is the best. Wheeler has 65 points in 54 games this year, and had a 91 point season in 2017-18. The two seasons before that, he had over 70 points.
Montreal: Patrice Bergeron
The second biggest province, Quebec is home to many stars. Jon Marchessault, Paul Stastny, Jonathan Huberdeau, Kris Letang, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Thomas Chabot are all native to Quebec. Bergeron is perhaps the best. He currently has 47 points in just 38 games, and over his 13 year career, Bergeron has racked up 781 points in 1001 games.
Nashville/Alabama: Nic Dowd
Well, I couldn't find any current NHL players from Tennessee. Blake Geoffrin, the grandson of hall-of-famer Bernie Geoffrin and the great-grandson of another player in the hall, Howie Morenz, is the only NHL player raised in Tennesse, but he hasn't played since 2012. So, I granted them the rights of the closest unoccupied state to Tennessee. Since Missouri has the Blues and I gave Georgia to the Lightning, then the Preds get Alabama. Alabama is home to just one NHL player, Huntsville native Nic Dowd. Dowd is a fourth liner with 40 career points in 171 games.
New Jersey: Johnny Gaudreau
Though New Jersey has much less players than New York, Jersey has some stars. They have Bobby Ryan, the van Riemsdyks, and most importantly, Gaudreau. Gaudreau has a whopping 74 points in just 54 games this year, and is nearly a point per game player in his career. He has 362 points in 366 games, He is much better than Nashville's representative.
New York (Long Island): Kyle Palmieri
Charlie McAvoy is close, but hasn't even played 100 career games, so I went with Palmieri. Palmieri, a Smithtown native, has scored 40 points in 53 games this year, earning his first all-star appearance. In his four years with the Devils, Palmieri has averaged 25.75 goals a season. Overall, he has 283 points, 146 of them goals, in 475 games.
New York (city): Kevin Shattenkirk
Shattenkirk is from New Rochelle, which is closer to where the Rangers play to the Islanders. Dustin Brown and Jimmy Howard are also from upstate New York, which would qualify them in this category. Shattenkirk has scored just 14 points this year, but has 335 in 581 career games as a defenseman.
Ottawa: Claude Giroux
Surprisingly, there aren't many good NHL players from Ottawa. Giroux is from Hearst, but moved to Ottawa when he was 14. While he didn't really grow up there, he was a Senators fan, and I'm counting him from Ottawa. Giroux currently has 58 points in 54 games, and had 106 points last year. In total, Giroux has scored 735 points in 792 games, making him Ottawa's best.
Philadelphia: Bobby Ryan
There actually is no current NHL players from Philadelphia. All the NHL players from Pennsylvania are from the Pittsburgh area. Remember when I mentioned Bobby Ryan for New Jersey? He is from the state of New Jersey, specifically Cherry Hill. But, Cherry Hill is just 17 minutes away from Philadelphia, making it the perfect fit. Ryan has 32 points in 51 games this year, and 537 points in 782 career games.
Pittsburgh: John Gibson
Pittsburgh has three players, all stars. It's Gibson, Vincent Trocheck and Brandon Saad. Due to a bad Ducks team in front of him, Gibson has struggled this year, with a .914 Sv% and a 2.93 GAA. But in his career, Gibson has a 2.42 GAA and a .921 Sv%. He's a good goalie, and just leads Trocheck has Pittsbrugh's best NHL player.
San Jose: Brooks Orpik
Orpik, a San Fransisco native, is the only player in the San Jose area. He is the definition of a defensive defenseman. While he has two goals in 26 games this year, his career high is just three. He has 190 career points, just 18 of them are goals, in 1008 games. He is by no means a scorer, but teams are giving him a job, so he has to be doing something right.
St. Louis: Clayton Keller
St. Louis is home to Keller, Patrick Maroon and Adam Lowry, but most notably Keller. The second runner up for the Calder last year, Keller has scored 37 points in 54 games this year, after 65 points in his rookie season. He has 104 points in 139 games.
Tampa Bay/Georgia/Lousiana/Virginia: Scott Darling (very confusing and bad marketing)
So like I mentioned earlier, Florida's only two NHL players, Jakub Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere, are both from the Miami side of Florida, leaving no one for Tampa Bay. So, I give them the rights to Atlanta, since they don't have a team. Well, it would turn out that there is no NHL players from Georgia. So, on to Louisiana. This is because the Blues have Missouri and I already gave Nashville Alabama. Well, no players also hail from Louisiana. So, the next closest unclaimed state is Virginia. And luckily, Virginia has one player. It is goalie Scott Darling. Darling has a career .908 Sv% and a 2.72 GAA. I found it really sad how bad of a market the league's best team plays in.
Toronto: Connor McDavid
From hockey's worst market to the best, McDavid is from Richmond Hill, a 33 minute drive from Toronto. McDavid is hockey's best player, and is from a market that has Steven Stamkos, Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, Aaron Ekblad, Mark Scheifele, Tyler Seguin and some guy that plays on the Leafs whose last name starts with a t or something. McDavid already has 80 points in 53 games this year, and has 336 points in just 262 career games. He by far the NHL's best player.
Vancouver: Jamie Benn
Another big, Canadian market, Vancouver has stars like Benn and Carey Price, plus reigning Calder trophy winner Mat Barzal (his team is first in the Metro), Ryan Johansen and Evander Kane and more. Benn might be the best, and even though he is having a bad year with just 37 points in 53 games, he has 633 points in 720 games.
Las Vegas (team name is just Vegas so it is down here)/Seattle: TJ Oshie
There isn't any NHL players from Nevada, which isn't a surprise, since this is just the second year of Las Vegas having a team, so I gave them the Seattle players. The best of them is TJ Oshie. Oshie has 31 points in 43 games this year, with 495 points in 708 career games.
Washington DC/Maryland/Connecticut: Jonathan Quick
Of course we still have a player-less team. There is no current NHL players from the Maryland/DC team, which is a surprise since they've had a team since '74, but since Virginia was the solution to the goose hunt of Tampa Bay, I went to Connecticut, the home of Quick and Cam Atkinson. Though Quick has struggled this year on a bad Kings team, with a .904 Sv% and a 2.92 GAA, he has a career .916 Sv% and a 2.31 GAA.
Winnipeg: Jonathan Toews
Luckily for me, Manitoba was easy. It was between Toews and Mark Stone, and the right pick is Toews. Toews has scored 54 points in 55 games this year, and in his career, has scored 728 points in 846 games. Good to have an easy one to end off.
Other NA markets:
Nova Scotia: Sidney Crosby
Saskatchewan: Ryan Getzlaf
New Brunswick: Jake Allen
New Hampshire: Ben Lovejoy
Indiana: Jack Johnson
Wisconsin: Phil Kessel
Nebraska: Jake Guentzal
Oklahoma: Jon Merril