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Thread: Now that Modano has retired, who is the best American player ever to play in the NHL?

  1. #1
    IHF Member Ref72's Avatar
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    Now that Modano has retired, who is the best American player ever to play in the NHL?

    I have seen numerous articles arguing Modano is the best yet, but wondering what you think? The list to consider might be;
    - Modano
    - Hull (Canadian born, but ok, he played his best hockey as an American)
    - Roenick
    - Tkachuk
    - Lafontaine
    - Chelios
    - Leetch
    - Broten
    - Mullen
    - Le Clair

    My personal top 3 are;
    1. Lafontaine - might have had the best stats if his career wasn't cut short by severe concussions. Fantastic skills and could everything at top speed
    2. Modano - ditto on the skills and speed
    3. Chelios - for sheer longevity
    4. Leetch - maybe the smartest player of the bunch

  2. #2
    IHF Staff Jazz's Avatar
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    Can't argue with the list above.

    I have to add Roenick. Former 50-goal man who does what he can to promote the sport....

    Remember his quote on ESPN "I don't understand American's obsession with a boring sport like Baseball" (something like that...)
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  3. #3
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    I don't think it's really a valid debate to lump offensemen, defensemen, and goaltenders together.

    As for each category, the best Americans ever, in my view, are as follows -

    1. OFFENSE -

    Pat LaFontaine. With all due respect, it's not even close. His point per game totals speak for themselves. He had a 168 point season, another 100+ point season, and was, for his career, more than a point per game player in both the NHL and the Olympics. Injuries sadly cut his career short.
    You could argue for Brett Hull, but he's a dual Canadian-American.

    2. DEFENSE -

    Brian Leetch. In short, he was the American's closest thing to Bobby Orr (not that he was as good as Orr, mind you, but even to be reminiscent of Orr is damned impressive). His career stats would have been better if he wasn't stuck on so many terrible NY Rangers teams.

    3. GOAL -

    Mike Richter or Tom Barrasso. Good arguments can be made for both.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post
    I don't think it's really a valid debate to lump offensemen, defensemen, and goaltenders together.

    As for each category, the best Americans ever, in my view, are as follows -

    1. OFFENSE -

    Pat LaFontaine. With all due respect, it's not even close. His point per game totals speak for themselves. He had a 168 point season, another 100+ point season, and was, for his career, more than a point per game player in both the NHL and the Olympics. Injuries sadly cut his career short.
    You could argue for Brett Hull, but he's a dual Canadian-American.

    2. DEFENSE -

    Brian Leetch. In short, he was the American's closest thing to Bobby Orr (not that he was as good as Orr, mind you, but even to be reminiscent of Orr is damned impressive). His career stats would have been better if he wasn't stuck on so many terrible NY Rangers teams.

    3. GOAL -

    Mike Richter or Tom Barrasso. Good arguments can be made for both.
    Lafontaine was spectacular and Modano, in his prime, was as good an all round forward as anyone.
    Neal Broten, IMO, was a vastly under appreciated little player who is still the North Stars/Dallas Stars
    all time franchise leader in assists and points, ahead of HOH Dino Ciccarelli.
    Of all the 1980 US Olympians who had long and successful careers, Broten was the best of them all.
    Joe Mullen, considering his unlikely background, had a simply amazing career.

    Among defensemen, Rod Langway wasn't the offensive wizards Leetch or Housely were but simply a rock solid
    back end D man who earned his nickname 'The Secretary of Defense'.
    The first American to win the Norris, Langway was tough and physical but a skilled and relatively clean player.
    Langway logged 849 PIM in 994 NHL league games, less than a penalty minute per game...an amazing stat for a defenseman.

    Among goaltenders, Barrasso and Richter are tops on many lists but let us not forget the first great American
    netminder and the first American NHL superstar, period....Mr. Zero, Frank Brimsek.
    Brimsek played in the pre 'Original Six' era and along with Hobey Baker, is often considered the best American
    player in the first half of the 20th century on many hockey writer's lists.

  5. #5
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    LaFontaine
    Mark Howe
    Chelios
    Patrick Kane
    Joe Mullen

    My top five with honourable to Modano,leech,Roenick

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