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 last season’s 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, edged countryman Claude Giroux to lead the league with 108 points this past season.
UNITED STATES – 228 PLAYERS
Pittsburgh Penguins right winger Phil Kessel, who was born in Madison, Wisconsin, led the 228 NHL players born in the United States with 92 points.
SWEDEN – 90 PLAYERS
Vegas Golden Knights star William Karlsson, who hails from Märsta, led all Swedish-born NHL players with 78 points.
FINLAND – 38 PLAYERS
Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen, who was born in Nousiainen, Finland, led his NHL countrymen with 84 points.
CZECH REPUBLIC – 37 PLAYERS
Philadelphia Flyers right winger Jakub Voracek, who was born in Kladno, Czechoslovakia, leads his countrymen with 85 points.
RUSSIA – 35 PLAYERS
Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov, who was born in Maikop, Russia, narrowly out scored fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin 100 to 98.
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 Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar, the lone NHL player from Slovenia.
BY THE NUMBERS
In terms of percentages, the breakdown of NHL players by nationality during the 2017-18 season were 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%).