On the 4th of July Weekend, A Look at the Best America Has Ever Given Us
Saturday, 07.5.2008 / 4:18 PM CT / Feature
By Seamus O'Callahan - Hockey Historian
Mike Modano is the greatest American scorer in the history of the NHL, holding the mark for most goals and points by a U.S.-born player. Obviously we here at DallasStars.com place him at the top of any list of the greatest American players in the history of the NHL.
But who would round out that list? I’ve taken the liberty of ranking the top 10 players (outside of Modano) that were born in the USA and made us proud. Hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend. Enjoy:
10) Neal Broten (17 seasons; retired): 289 goals, 923 points in 1,099 games.
Possibly the greatest player to come out of the state of Minnesota. He played 15 of his 17 seasons with the Stars. Broten won the Stanley Cup in 1995 and became the first American to score 100 points in a season in 1984-85. He was unducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000 and had his number 7 retired by Dallas in 1998.
9) Keith Tkachuk (17 seasons; active): 500 goals, 984 points in 1,055 games.
Practically a point-per-game player, Tkachuk has a chance to top Modano’s American marks if he plays a couple more seasons more than Mo. Tkachuk is a two-time 50-goal scorer, a four-time NHL All-Star, and a two-time second team All-NHL. He was a member of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team and a member 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team.
8) Tom Barrasso (19 seasons; retired): Career 369-277-86 record, 3.24 goals against average and .892 save percentage.
He has the second-most wins (John Vanbiesbrouck) of any American-born player. Barrasso won the Calder Trophy and the Vezina, as well as the Jennings. He won the Stanley Cup twice in Pittsburgh. Barrasso was also a member of the 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team.
7) Phil Housley (21 seasons; retired): 338 goals, 1,232 points in 1,495 games.
He has played in more games (1,495) and has more assists (888) than any other American-born player. Housley played in 70+ games in 16 different seasons, was a member of the NHL All-Rookie team and was a seven-time NHL All-Star. A member of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team and a member 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team. A true gentleman as well.
6) Jeremy Roenick (19 seasons; active): 509 goals, 1,203 points in 1,321 games.
Almost another point-per-game guy, Roenick is a two-time 50-goal scorer and a three-time 100-point scorer. He has played in 70+ games in 13 different seasons. Roenick is a nine-time NHL All-Star and was a member of the 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team. A great showman and as colorful as they get. His teeth are still cemented into the boards at Reunion courtesy of Derian Hatcher. ;)
5) Mike Richter (14 seasons; retired): Career 301-258-73 record, 2.89 goals against average and .904 save percentage.
A true winner, Richer is a three-time NHL All-Star and won the Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994. He was also a member of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team and the 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team. A true clutch goalie.
4) Joe Mullen (17 seasons; retired): 502 goals, 1063 points in 1062 games.
Speaking of a point-per-game, Mullen led the way for practically all of these others (save Broten). He was the first American to 50 goals in one season and also netted 100 points. He held the goals mark at 502 until Modano passed him in March, 2007. He is a two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner and won the Stanley Cup three times. Mullen is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
3) Brian Leetch (18 seasons; retired): 247 goals, 1,028 points in 1,1205 games.
These top three selections all could have been chosen as my number one. Leetch is the best offensive defenseman on our list. He is a one-time 100-point scorer, won the Calder and is a two-time winner of the Norris. Leetch was a ten-time NHL All-Star, winning the Stanley Cup in 1994. He was a member of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team and the 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team. Born in Corpus Christi, Texas.
2) Chris Chelios (24 seasons; active): 185 goals, 948 points in 1,616 games.
Will he ever retire? Chelios is probably the best leader on our list. He won the Norris three times and is an 11-time NHL All-Star. He has won three Stanley Cups. Chelios was a member of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team and the 2002 Olympic Silver Medal team. Solid as a rock.
1) Pat LaFontaine (14 seasons; retired): 468 goals, 1,013 points in 865 games.
If his career wasn’t shorted by concussions, he would be the greatest American ever to play the game and he would hold all of the scoring records. His 1.17 points per game would give him 1,544 career points and 714 goals if he played as many games as Modano has thus far! LaFontaine is a two-time 50-goal scorer and a two-time 100-point scorer. He won the Masterson Trophy and was a member of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal team. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.