NHL: The Best German Hockey Players of All Time

Jacob BetznerCorrespondent IIJune 24, 2012

NHL: The Best German Hockey Players of All Time

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    Coming to you live from Deutschland, I decided to write an article to fit the theme of my study abroad trip to Leipzig, Germany.

    While ice hockey falls well short of soccer in terms of popularity in Germany, as I found out last night during Germany's victory over Greece in Euro 2012, several Deutsche hockey players have made an impact on NHL rosters.

    The Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) produces many talented players every year. Fans the EA Sports NHL games may recognize the league from the game.

    The German national team, under the direction of German Stanley Cup winner Uwe Krupp, is improving and may soon become a fixture at the Olympics.

    While Germany will never be as dominant as the Canadian national team, everyone loves an underdog.  Seeing a country like Germany produce NHL-caliber players shows the game is growing beyond traditional boundaries and quickly becoming a fixture around the world.

Honorable Mention: Olaf Kolzig

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    Olaf Kolzig was born in South Africa to German parents and moved with his family to Canada at a very young age. But since he never applied for Canadian citizenship and held German citizenship, he played for the German national team in international tournaments.

    Kolzig's career highlights include two all-star games, a Vezina trophy in 2000, a King Clancy trophy in 2006 and a DEL championship in 2005, the year of the NHL lockout.

    He played in more than 700 games for the Capitals and holds many franchise records.  He also played for Germany in the 1998 and 2006 Olympics.

Uwe Krupp

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    At 6'6", 255 pounds, Uwe Krupp towered over opposing players during his NHL tenure.  After four seasons  with Kölner Haie, Buffalo Sabres GM Scotty Bowman signed the big man to his NHL club.

    Krupp scored 69 goals in his 729-game career with the Sabres, Islanders, Nordiques, Avalanche, Red Wings and Thrashers. He became the first German-trained player to participate in the NHL All-Star game in 1991.

    Fans probably remember Krupp most for his 1996 Cup-clinching goal in the third overtime of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals between his Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers.

    The German national team thrived under Krupp's direction before he resigned from the position.

Marco Sturm

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    Born in Dingolfing, West Germany, Marco Sturm honed his skills in the DEL with EV Landshut in Bavaria before joining the San José Sharks.

    Sturm became a consistent 20-goal scorer in his fifth season with the Sharks before suffering a recent string of injuries and five team changes in three years.  Sturm has played in one NHL All-Star game in 1999.

    Internationally, Sturm played for Germany in the 1998 and 2006 Winter Olympics, serving as team captain in 2006.

    While Sturm is nearing the end of his professional career, he hopes to play for at least a few more seasons.

Dennis Seidenberg

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    Dennis Seidenberg played for Adler Mannheim before becoming the 172nd overall pick for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2001.

    The 30-year-old has scored 30 goals and 171 points in 535 career games and won a Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011.

    Internationally, Seidenberg has played in three Winter Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010), scoring twice and adding an assist in 16 contests.  Not bad for a player from the small German town of Villingen-Schwenningen.

Christian Erhoff

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    While playing for the Krefeld Penguins in the DEL, the San José Sharks drafted Christian Ehrhoff 106th overall in 2001.

    The German defenseman is 34 games shy of 600 in his career and has scored 58 times, adding exactly 200 assists.  The Moers, West Germany, native is known for his offensive ability from the blue line, but his defensive ability is sometimes questioned.

    Ehrhoff teamed with Dennis Seidenberg in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics.

Jochen Hecht

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    Jochen Hecht played for Adler Mannheim before becoming a second-round pick of the St. Louis Blues in 1995.

    In 786 career games, Hecht has scored 181 times and recorded 449 points.  The Mannheim, West Germany,  native played for Germany in the 2002 Winter Olympics but sat out in 2006 because of injury.

Marcel Goc

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    The San José Sharks selected Marcel Goc with the 20th overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, making him the highest-drafted German player ever.

    Goc hasn't really found his stride in the NHL, scoring only 52 times in 446 games. But he did manage 11 goals and 27 points in only 57 games with Florida this season.

    Known more for his defensive ability and strong face-off numbers, Goc played for Germany in the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics.

    The Calw, West Germany, native has two brothers who also play professionally in Germany and internationally for the team.