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 more than 15% of the league’s 887 players now coming from Scandinavian countries.
Below, we present the total number of players from each country and last season’s points leader from each…
CANADA – 391 PLAYERS
Fully 44.1% of the NHL’s players still come from the country in which the league originated. Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon, who was born in Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada, is narrowly ahead of countryman Connor McDavid with 59 points this season.
UNITED STATES – 237 PLAYERS
Calgary Flames left winger Johnny Gaudreau, who was born in Carneys Point, New Jersey, leads the 237 NHL players born in the United States with 55 points.
SWEDEN – 89 PLAYERS
Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, who hails from Stockholm, leads all Swedish-born NHL players with 45 points.
FINLAND – 49 PLAYERS
Yet another Colorado Avalanche player, forward Mikko Rantanen, who was born in Nousiainen, Finland, leads his NHL countrymen with 62 points.
RUSSIA – 38 PLAYERS
Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov, who was born in Maikop, Russia, is outpacing fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin 65 to 45 points.
CZECH REPUBLIC – 37 PLAYERS
Boston Bruins right winger David Pastrnak, who was born in Havířov, Czech Republic, leads his countrymen with 48 points.
REMAINING COUNTRIES – 53 PLAYERS
Of the remaining eleven countries, Switzerland (13) and Slovakia (9) have the greatest number of players, but the highest scorer in this group is Edmonton Oilers star
Leon Draisaitl, one of six NHL players from Germany.
BY THE NUMBERS
In terms of percentages, the breakdown of NHL players by nationality during the 2018-19 season are as follows: Canada (44.1%), United States (26.7%), Sweden (10.0%), Finland (5.5%), Russia (4.3%), Czech Republic (4.2%), Switzerland (1.5%), Slovakia (1.0%), Denmark (0.8%), Germany (0.7%), Austria (0.3%), France (0.2%), Norway (0.2%), Australia (0.1%), Latvia (0.1%), Netherlands (0.1%), Slovenia (0.1%).