With the start of 2014 Winter Olympic Men’s Hockey, team USA hopes to take home the gold and leave Canada with the silver. As American Hockey fans get ready to root for the red, white and blue we thought it would be fun to take a look at the top 5 greatest American Hockey players of all time.
Honorable Mention- Chris Chelios: We badly wanted Chelios on this list. Arguably the best American Defenseman of all time (aside from Leetch). Chelios played an outstanding 27 years in the NHL. During his lengthy career he tallied 948 career points. Chelios was a force to be reckoned with on the ice and he currently holds the most games played by a Defenseman: 1,651.
5. Keith Tkachuk- One of only four US players to score 500 career goals. Tkachuk was one of the greatest American wingers in NHL history, he was known for being a mean power forward during his day. His aggressive style of play allowed him to achieve back to back 50 goal seasons from 1995-1997 as well as two 40 goal seasons, and eight 30 goal seasons. He retired with 538 career goals and 1,065 points, his aggressive style also earned him 2,219 minutes in the penalty box.
4. Brian Leetch- The greatest New York Ranger of all time. He was known for his excellent stick handling, speed, stamina and his high hockey IQ. Some say Leetch was better defensively than most D-men and better offensively than most Forwards. He is one of the few defenseman to have achieved a 100 point season and accumulate 1000 career points. During his time in the NHL Leetch did it all: he earned 2 Norris Trophies, a Calder Trophey, hoisted the Stanley Cup and was the first non Canadian to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.
3. Jeremy Roenick- Roenick was the essential blue collar American player. He hit hard, he took hard hits, he skated hard and shrugged off getting his jaw broken like it was nothing. He achieved the 100 point milestone in three consecutive seasons and scored 50 goals back to back. He retired from the NHL with 513 goals and 703 assists for a total of 1216 points in part thanks to his unique wrist shot where he pushed with the “wrong” foot.
2. Pat LaFontaine- “La La La LaFontaine!” Despite only being 5’10” and only weighing 180lbs his career was anything but tiny. He was able to accumulate 468 goals and 1,013 points in the span of 15 seasons, His god like offensive talent let him average 1.17 points per game, the most of any American hockey player active or retired. LaFontaine’s offensive rushes were exciting and had entire arenas watching on their feet. It seemed like he would out run and effortlessly deke past defenders as if they were standing still. Sadly concussions cut his career short but he remains as one of the greatest offensive hockey players of all time.
1. Mike Modano- Modano is without a doubt the greatest US born Hockey player. A quiet kid from Michigan, Modano had a knowledge, skill and feel for the game. This lead him to become the best US scorer of all time. He retired with the most goals of any American (561) and the most points (1374). Not only was he excellent in the regular season, Modano was a force to be reckoned during in the playoffs. He leads all American NHLers in playoff points with 145 and bought the first Stanley Cup to the south in 1999. His unbelievable speed made him a fan favorite; fans enjoyed watching him rush the puck from the defensive zone to the net, blazing past defenders and skating so fast his Jersey would flap. His style of play and friendly personality made him an ambassador for the game of Hockey throughout the United States.
Who is your favorite America hockey player of all time?