The rise of American ice hockey is clearly evident when one takes a look at the recent increase in the number of American-born NHL stars. USA Hockey has stimulated the growth of hockey and now the country has reached goals never done before. They currently rank number 6 in the world and they have the chance to go higher if they have a strong showing in Sochi. Although the United States has seen legends in the form of Mike Modano, Jeremy Roenick, John LeClair, Chris Chelios, Pat LaFontaine, Brian Leetch, Brett Hull, and Keith Tkachuk lace up skates, it has never seen such a big wave of young players in the NHL. Although they do have many good forwards, USA’s strength in Sochi will likely be its goaltending. GM David Poile will have a tough time deciding between the top goalies in the orientation camp. Here is a look at the top 25 American players currently from around the world:
He has been nearly unstoppable at times, especially during crunch time like the playoffs. The 27-year-old Los Angeles Kings netminder won the 2012 Conn Smyhe Award and 2012 ESPY for NHL Player of the Year.
2. Patrick Kane
Another Conn Smythe winner, Kane is a former 1st overall pick and has the ability to score in intense situations. He also had more than a point-per-game in 2012-13.
3. Ryan Suter
Suter was a Norris Trophy finalist in 2012-13 and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team. He was an alternate captain for the United States in 2010 and is able to put up points.
4. Zach Parise
An alternate captain for USA in the 2010 Olympics, Parise scored the late tying goal in the gold medal game against Canada. Parise is one of the top forwards in the NHL.
Anderson put up MVP-calibre numbers in 24 games last season with the Senators, but the netminder will look to prove himself next season as a legitimate Hart Trophy contender.
6. Phil Kessel
Many people criticize Kessel for just being a one-dimensional player, but the 4-time 30-goal scorer is without a doubt one of the best snipers in the game.
7. Bobby Ryan
Not too many people remember that Bobby Ryan went second overall in the 2005 draft behind Sidney Crosby. He is too skilled and strong to not be an NHL star.
8. Keith Yandle
Yandle is one of the most underrated players in the NHL and is entering his prime. Not only is he a great skater, but he has great defensive instincts.
9. David Backes
He is a fan favorite and an all-round centre. He is a true American hockey player.
10. Jimmy Howard
The Red Wings’ goalie has proven that he does not need Niklas Lidstrom in fornt of him to put up good statistics.
11. Joe Pavelski
The 29-year-old has been one of the most reliable top-six forwards in the NHL for the past 6 seasons.
12. Dustin Byfuglien
“Big Buff” is a force to be reckon with on the rising Winnipeg Jets. The forward-turned-defenceman is one of the best offensive defencemen in the world.
13. Jack Johnson
The former third overall pick has not received the recognition he deserves as a reliable defenceman on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
14. Dustin Brown
Brown is a physical forward who can also put up points. The Los Angeles Kings captain will be looking to help lead Team USA in Sochi.
15. Ryan Kesler
Despite having a couple “off” seasons, the two-way centre is still capable of providing help on both sides of the ice.
16. Cory Schneider
There is little doubt that Schneider can be a number 1 goalie in the NHL, but he has been forced to share the role the past few seasons.
17. Derek Stepan
The Rangers’ leading scorer last season is only 23 and is very underrated.
18. Ryan McDonagh
The 24-year-old rising star had a poor 2012-13 season, but the defenceman has great potential.
19. Ryan Callahan
Another American NHL captain, Callahan is a forward who is improving year-by-year.
20. Ryan Miller
He has been criticized recently for not performing as well as he usually does, but the netminder backstopped Team USA in 2010 and is still able to prove people wrong.
21. John Carlson
The Washington Capitals defenceman is a reliable threat at the back end of the powerhouse squad.
22. Brooks Orpik
The Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman has been on the team since 2003-04 and is likely a Dan Bylsma favorite.
23. T.J. Oshie
The all-round St. Louis Blues forward can chip in points too.
The former second overall pick can provide solid top-six scoring on any NHL team.
25. Kyle Okposo
Tags: American Bobby Ryan Craig Anderson Derek Stepan Dustin Brown Dustin Byfuglien Jack Johnson James Van Riemsdyk Joe Pavelski Jonathan Quick NHL Patirck Kane Phil Kessel Ryan Callahan Ryan Mcdonagh Ryan Miller Ryan Suter Sochi Top 25 United States USA USA Hockey Zach Parise