When we look for the best players in the NHL, we find that most great players in the NHL are Canadians, especially back in the 90s. At that time, only 30% of players came from America, and 2.3% were all over the U.S. fast forward to represent ice hockey passion and their excellent skills in the NHL. As these sheer numbers of players are not just average, but some are outstanding, many are worth mentioning players even in recent times.
This list combines American star players of the previous decade and the current time. The last decade’s honourable best players are Patrick Kane, Mike Modano, Chris Chelios and Brian Leetch. These are stars from the previous decade who retired in the last decade. The recent worthy mentions are Auston Mathews, Jack Eichel, John Carlson, Johnny Gaudreau, Mathew Tkachuk and Kyle Connor.
Like always, it’s not easy to choose the best 10 players out of so many players because every player is good and beats other players in different skills and fields. What a tough decision to make about these players’ selection, but somehow I managed to draw a list of great players. And believe me, they are the best players, you can check about them, and I’m sure you will only praise them.
Table of Contents
List of Top 10 Greatest American Hockey Players
So, let’s do a quick review of these 10 players!
1. Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane – was the most adorned player in American hockey of all time. He was the only player drafted first in the NHL in Chicago Blackhawks history. He has many stars on his shoulders since he has a lot of impressive accomplishments in his career.
He started by winning a Calder trophy for being a rookie of the year. He won the Conn Smyth trophy in 2013. In 2015-16, the most embellished season of his career, he won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the MVP of the league. He also won three Stanley cups and was the MVP of 2013.
Patrick Kane was a player with mind-blowing skills that won him many awards. When you watch him play, you will doze up on his quick and quick-witted shots that how he took control of the game. He becomes offensive each time he touches the puck.
He was named in the NHL’s all-time 100 most significant players in 2017. In the 2019-20 season, he passed the 1000th points mark of his career and finished as the top scorer in America when he retired.
2. Mike Modano
Mike Modano – the top-notch forward in America and the most iconic player of the Dallas Stars. He was drafted first overall in the selection of the North Stars. He has a gleaming and incredible career journey in the NHL.
He played in seven All-Star games, brought a Stanley cup home in 1999 without caring about his wrist injury, and won a silver medal in the Olympics in 2002. He was also nominated for the Calder trophy for a rookie of the year award. However, due to some older age favor controversy issue, the trophy went to the player more senior than him but still, he was able to fill his career basket with countless awards.
He retired in 2011 as one of the greatest players in America and for Dallas Stars as well. He played his last season with the Detroit Red Wings, but his fame is always connected with the Stars. He guided many young talents in their upcoming career.
He was inducted into the NHL Hall of Famers in 2014, and in the same year, his number 9 jersey also retired.
3. Chris Chelios
Chris Chelios – is the player with a successful longest-tenure career in American and NHL history—one of the time best defensemen ever in the NHL and America.
Being a defenseman, he had the record of playing the most games ever in the NHL by any player. He was part of 11 All-Star games and won the Morris trophy 3-times in 1989, 1993, and 1996. In 20017, he gained a Mark Messier Leadership award. In 1996, he won the gold medal in the hockey world cup. He also won a silver medal in the 2002 Olympics. And the most notable thing is that he won three Stanley cups, one with the Montreal Canadians – his drafted team and two with the Detroit Red Wings.
Chris Chelios has four decades spanned career – oh gosh, impressive! – Right? He was drafted in 1981 with a debut in 1983 and played his final game on April 6th, 2010, with Atlanta Thrashers.
He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame three years after retirement.
4. Brian Leetch
Brian Leetch – is arguably one of the most underrated defensemen in the NHL. He is one of the five defensemen players in the NHL to score 100 points in just one season.
He was awarded many honourable trophies throughout his career. He won the Calder trophy as a rookie. He also won two Norris trophies in the 1991-92 and 1996-97 seasons, respectively. He was the first American to win Conn Smyth’s trophy for becoming the MVP of the 1994 season. All over his career, he has gone to 9 All-Star games and won a silver medal in the Olympics in 2002 like many other hockey players. He retired from hockey officially in 2007.
In 2008, the New York Rangers retired his number 2 shirt. The same year he was inducted into the U.S hockey Hall of Fame. And the following year, the name Brian Leetch was put in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But none of these achievements brings him the honour, fame, and pleasure as much as his teammate Mark messier words:
He was magic to play with, he was, in my opinion, and he was and is the greatest Rangers of all time.Brain Leetch
5. Auston Mathews
Auston Mathews – the seventh first overall drafted American. Who would have known he would become the elite goal scorer as soon as he stepped on the ice? He was the first player of modern times who scored four goals just in his NHL debut game. Deserved to CLAPS!!
He is one of the top centres of today’s players. He won the Calder trophy as a rookie. He won the Rocket Richard trophy in the 2020-21 season as the top goal scorer in the league. And amazingly, he ended the Stanley cup drought of the Maple Leafs in 1967.
No doubt, he is the complete package of young talent.
6. Jack Eichel
Jack Eichel – was drafted in the NHL second overall by the Buffalo Sabres a year after the great Connor McDavid. Though it’s tough to compare Connor Eichel is still not behind the league. He successfully made his way towards a bright stunning career. In 2021, he joined the Vegas Kings as a centre.
He was the best Sabres player when selected, and soon he stepped on the top 10 NHL players’ ladder and became a trendy player. He gained a Hobey Baker award. When you watch him in the game, you will find him ultra-competitive and want to be dominant in the game. It is not wrong to say that he gave a solid shoulder to Sabres.
I hope he will soon be in the best player’s squad conversation.
7. John Carlson
John Carlson – was drafted overall in the NHL in 2008 by Washington Capitals. 2019-20 proved incredible for him as he was in the top points of the NHL for the straight first two months of the season. It is rare for any defensemen to get that numerous points in a single season.
Carlson has won the NHL All-Star team award and the James Norris Memorial trophy. He is also a great defenseman and can become a great strategical player on all ice spots. His defense game surely ticks all the checkboxes of a number 1 defenseman.
8. Johnny Gaudreau
Johnny Gaudreau – is an elite-class hockey player whose fans love to watch him play. All because of his 360-degree solid hockey skills. The way he skates, his great whirlwind-like spinning, his quick snake-like zig-zag ability, and his deke to his near players is such a sparkle, spectacle, and stunning performance that fans are eager to watch. He made hockey fans sit on the edge when he entered the ice arena. He burns the fuel in their veins, blows their uncontrolled emotions, and cheers.
No other players work flawlessly on the edges of his stakes the way Jonny does. That’sThat’s why fans call his style of hockey “Johnny Hockey.” He has won Hobey Baker and Lady Byng Memorial awards and was nominated for the Calder Memorial trophy.
9. Mathew Tkachuk
Mathew Tkachuk – the son of the former all-time great Keith Tkachuk and his brother, plays for Ottawa Senators. He was drafted sixth overall by the Calgary Flames in the NHL.
Thus, it’s like ice hockey is inherited from him as he belongs to a family of hockey players. Mathew is a player who makes his teammates happy, relaxed, and comfortable. All their teammates are like friends to him, but his opponents are the most hated ones. Does he know how to get under the opponent’s skin in the game? How to agitate and tease others?
He has a tremendous ice hockey IQ to show his fantastic defensive game and is one of the ace players for the goal line in the NHL.
10. Kyle Connor
Kyle Connor – the pure, elite goal scorer. He was the 17th overall drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2015 NHL draft.
He is probably not too much in a showcase or on the bandwagon of mega players as he plays in the Jets. But throughout the season, if you look at him, you will always see him scoring goals. He scores many goals each season and becomes the Jet’s most trustworthy and consistent goal-scoring player.
He is a man-made for GOALS! He had won the Lady Byng Memorial award and was nominated for another Lady Byng Memorial award and the Hobey Baker award.
The other best players are Blake Wheeler, John Gibson, Brock Boesor, Jonathan Quick, Phil Kessel, Max Pacioretty, Ryan Suter, Dylan Larkin, Quinn Hughes, Joe Pavelski, Clayton Keller, Zach Parise, Jake Guentzel and T.J. Oshie.
I have tried to put all the best players on the list of former and today’s players. Everyone has his view and perspective on the best players, as multiple sites have it’s their lists of players. But you tell me the best players in your view!