From the founding of the NHL in 1917, when all four of its teams were located to Canada, to the current-day mix of 7 Canadian and 24 American teams, the league has been getting progressively international in the makeup of its players.
While nearly half the NHL’s players still hail from Canada, the past couple of decades have seen an influx of players from Europe, with almost 15% of the league’s 878 players now coming from Scandinavian countries.
Below, we present the total number of players from each country and the current points leader from each…
CANADA – 422 PLAYERS
Fully 45.9% of the NHL’s players still come from the country in which the league originated. Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid, who was born in Richmond Hill, Ontario, is tied with countryman Claude Giroux with 69 points this season, after winning the Art Ross Trophy last year.
UNITED STATES – 228 PLAYERS
Calgary Flames left winger Johnny Gaudreau, who was born in Salem, New Jersey, leads the 228 NHL players born in the United States with 69 points.
SWEDEN – 90 PLAYERS
Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg, who hails from Gothenburg, leads all Swedish-born NHL players with 54 points.
FINLAND – 38 PLAYERS
Florida Panthers left winger Aleksander Barkov, who was born in Tampere, Finland, leads his NHL countrymen with 65 points.
CZECH REPUBLIC – 37 PLAYERS
Philadelphia Flyers right winger Jakub Voracek, who was born in Kladno, Czechoslovakia, leads his countrymen with 65 points.
RUSSIA – 35 PLAYERS
Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov, who was born in Maikop, Russia, leads the entire league with 77 points. Fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin is second with 70 points.
REMAINING COUNTRIES – 53 PLAYERS
Of the remaining eleven countries, Switzerland (15) and Slovakia (13) have the greatest number of players, but the highest scorer in this group is Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, one of just seven players from Germany.
BY THE NUMBERS
In terms of percentages, the breakdown of NHL players by nationality is as follows: Canada (45.9%), United States (26.6%), Sweden (9.8%), Finland (4.1%), Czech Republic (4.0%), Russia (3.8%), Switzerland (1.6%), Slovakia (1.4%), Denmark (0.8%), Germany (0.8%), Austria (0.3%), France (0.3%), Australia (0.1%), Latvia (0.1%), Netherlands (0.1%), Norway (0.1%), Slovenia (0.1%).