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The NHL's 50 Greatest Non-North American Players

Brad KurtzbergContributor IJanuary 17, 2017

The NHL's 50 Greatest Non-North American Players

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    If you ask Don Cherry, this is a sensitive subject, but here is a look at the top 50 non-North American players in NHL history.

    Here are a few guidelines for this list:

    1. To be included, a player could not have been born in the United States, Canad or Mexico (although I don't know of any NHL players born there just yet).

    2. The only thing considered here is what these players did in the NHL. How well they played in Europe, in the Olympics or even the WHA is not taken into account. Therefore, no Vladislav Tretiak (he never played in the NHL) and greats like Ulf Nilsson will be lower on this list than their talent and performance would indicate because Nilsson's best years in North America were spent in the WHA.

    Your comments are always welcome. Feel free to let me know who I may have missed or make a solid case for why you feel a particular player should be higher or lower on the list.

    For now, this is what we have instead of training camps and preseason hockey, so I hope you can all enjoy.

50. Miro Satan

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    Satan had a lengthy and productive NHL career, playing for five different NHL franchises.

    After a brief stint in Edmonton, the Slovakian winger spent eight years in Buffalo, where he led the Sabres in scoring six times.

    Satan also scored 29 or more goals in a season six different times, including a career-high 40 goals back in 1998-99.

    Satan has scored 363 career NHL goals and 735 points in 1,050 games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009 and played in a pair of NHL All-Star Games.

49. Anton Stastny

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    While brother Peter got more attention and put up bigger numbers, Anton Stastny had a very good NHL career of his own.

    The Nordiques made Anton the first Czech-born player to be selected in the NHL entry draft when they selected him in the fourth round with the 83rd overall pick.

    Anton was teammates with both of his bothers, Peter and Marian, during his stay in Quebec.

    Anton spent nine seasons in the NHL, all with the Quebec Nordiques. He finished his career with four seasons of 30 goals or more and totaled 252 goals and 636 point in 650 games.

48. Hakan Loob

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    Hakan Loob is considered one of the greatest Swedish hockey players of all time, but he spent just six seasons in the NHL, which is why he is so low on this list.

    Loob joined the Calgary Flames in 1983-84 and scored 30 goals in his rookie season and was named to the All-Rookie Team.

    In 1987-88, Loob had his best NHL season, becoming the first Swede to score 50 goals and finishing with a career-high 50 goals and 106 points. He was named to the First All Star Team at the conclusion of the season.

    The following year, Loob helped the Flames win their first and only Stanley Cup and scored eight goals and 17 points in 22 playoff games for Calgary.

    After the Cup-winning season, Loob decided to return to Sweden, where he played another seven seasons. He never returned the NHL.

    In 450 career NHL games, Loob scored 193 goals and 429 points.

47. Vinny Prospal

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    Vaclav "Vinny" Prospal has had a steady NHL career with seven different teams.

    The Czech left winger has scored 20 or more goals five times in his NHL career, which has seen him play for the Flyers, Senators, Panthers, Lightning, Ducks, Rangers and Blue Jackets.

    Despite never having a truly outstanding season, the steady Prospal remains a productive NHL player at the age of 37. Last season with Columbus, he scored 16 goals and accumulated 55 points.

    In 1,060 career games, Prospal has scored 243 goals and 735 points.

46. Slava Fetisov

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    Slava Fetisov is considered one of the greatest Russian defensemen of all-time, but because of the Soviet Union's repressive restrictions on emigration, he was not able to play in North America until the age of 31.

    Despite the late start, Fetisov still had a productive NHL career with the Devils and Red Wings. In eight NHL seasons, the  Moscow native scored 36 goals and 228 points.

    Fetisov won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles with the Detroit in 1997 and 1998 before retiring after the second Cup win.

    Fetisov was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame 2001, although that was in a large part due to his play in international competition and in Russian leagues.

    After his retirement, Fetisov served as an assistant coach with the Devils and as Minister of Sport in Russia.

45. Walt Tkaczuk

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    Walt Tkaczuk was the first German-born player to appear in an NHL game. His family emigrated to Canada when Tkaczuk was two years old, and he grew up playing Canadian Junior Hockey with Kitchener.

    Tkaczuk was a solid second-line center for the Rangers for most of his career. He played a variety of roles for the team, leading the club in scoring for his first two seasons and later becoming one of the league's top penalty killers.

    Tkaczuk played on the Rangers' "Bulldog Line," along with Bill Fairbairn and Dave Balon, who was replaced in 1972-73 by Steve Vickers. He was an excellent skater and one of the toughest players in the league to knock off his feet.

    The Rangers reached the Stanley Cup Final twice during Tkaczuk's career—in 1972, when they fell to the Bruins in six games, and again in 1979, when the Canadiens beat them in five games.

    Tkaczuk suffered an eye injury in 1981 that prematurely ended his career. In 945 career NHL games, Tkaczuk scored 227 goals and totaled 678 points.

44. Ziggy Palffy

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    Slovakian sniper Zigmund "Ziggy" Palffy was an elite goal scorer for the Islanders, Kings and Penguins from the mid-1990s though the mid-2000s.

    Palffy had three consecutive 40 goal seasons for the Islanders from 1995-96 though 1997-98 including a career-high 48 in 1996-97. He later topped the 30 goal mark for three straight years while playing in Los Angeles.

    Palffy played in four NHL All-Star Games but played his teams only qualified for the playoffs three times in his decade-long NHL career.

    In 684 games, Palffy scored 329 goals and 713 points before returning to Europe where he played for three more seasons before hanging up his skates.

43. Ulf Samuelsson

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    Swedish defenseman Ulf Samuelsson was one of the most hated players in the NHL during his tenure, but he was also an effective blueliner who won two Stanley Cups and played in more than 1,000 games in his NHL career.

    Samuelsson was strong in his own zone and was often accused of crossing the line between being a hard hitter and a dirty player. He earned the ire of hockey fans throughout Boston when he injured Bruins winger Cam Neely and eventually bought Neely's career to a premature close.

    After a productive stat to his career with the Hartford Whalers, Samuelsson was traded to the Penguins in time to win two Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992. He later played for the Ranges, Red Wings and Flyers before retiring in 2000.

    In 1,080 career NHL games, Samuelsson scored just 57 goals and totaled 333 points.

42. Alexei Yashin

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    Alexei Yashin was an offensive force early in his career, topping the 30 goal mark for six straight seasons with Ottawa and the New York Islanders. While he was always productive offensively, he never played a great all-around game.

    The native of Sverdlovsk, Russia, scored a career-high 44 goals and 94 points in 1998-99 and was named captain of the Sens, but several demands to renegotiate his contract and some off-ice incidents helped him wear out his welcome in Ottawa and he was dealt to the New York Islanders.

    Yashin also served as captain of the Isles and helped the team reach the playoffs for thee straight seasons from 2002-2004 before his play tailed off and he failed to live up to the very generous salary the Isles were paying him. The Islanders bought out Yashin's contract after the 2006-07 season.

    After the buyout, Yashin returned to Russia and played in the KHL last season. There were rumors he may return to the NHL, but none of them ever came to fruition.

    In 850 career NHL games, Yashin scored 337 goals and 781 points.

41. Igor Larionov

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    Igor Larionov is considered one of the better passers in hockey history and helped open the door for players from the Eastern Bloc to come to North America and play in the NHL.

    Larionov was nearly 30 when he finally joined the Vancouver Canucks in 1989. After three seasons in Vancouver, he spent a year in Switzerland before coming back to the NHL to play for San Jose in 1993-94.

    Larionov played his best hockey in the NHL with the Red Wings where he was a part of the "Russian Five" unit. Detroit won three Stanley Cups during Larionov's tenure with the club.

    In 921 career NHL games with Vancouver, San Jose, Detroit, Florida and New Jersey, Larionov scored 169 goals and 644 points. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008, largely on the strength of his international play and his tenure in Russia.

40. Pelle Lindbergh

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    Pelle Lindbergh remains one of the great what-ifs in NHL history. He only played three complete NHL seasons with the Flyers before he lost his life in a tragic drunk driving accident at the age of 26.

    Lindbergh earned plenty of honors in his brief NHL career. He was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 1982-83. One year later, he led the league with 40 wins and became the first European-born goalie to win the Vezina Trophy. He was also named to the First Team Postseason All-Star Team.

    In 1984-85, Lindbergh led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final where they lost in five games to the Edmonton Oilers.

    It looked like the future was limitless for Lindbergh but his career was cut short. He died the following Veterans Day just a little more than a month into the 1985-86 season.

    The Flyers retired his jersey shortly after his death.

39. Nicklas Backstrom

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    Nicklas Backstrom's NHL career is off to a good start despite a shaky 2011-12 season.

    The smooth Swedish center has spent most of his career playing with Russian sniper Alex Ovechkin and the two have made a productive and dynamic duo for the Washington Capitals.

    Backstrom was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team in 2007-08 after a 69-point season. His best NHL season so far was 2009-10 when he scored 33 goals and 101 points and finished fourth in the league in scoring.

    Injuries limited Backstrom to 42 games last season but he still scored 44 points.

    In 365 career games, Backstrom already has 101 goals and 367 points. At 24, Backstrom still hasn't entered his prime and his best hockey should be ahead of him.

38. Esa Tikkanen

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    Finnish forward Esa Tikkanen didn't play a pretty brand of hockey, but he made a living as a "super pest,"  getting under the skin of opponents and taking them off their game with his chippy style and non-stop chatter. It worked as the Helsinki native won five Stanley Cups during an NHL career that lasted 16 seasons with seven different NHL teams.

    While he was not an offensive force, Tikkanen did top the 30 goal mark three times in his NHL career, all with the Oilers. He was also the runner-up for the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward three times.

    In 877 career NHL games, Tikkanen scored 244 goals and 630 points. He added 72 goals and 132 points in 186 playoff games.

37. Nikolai Khabibulan

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    In 2004, Nikolai Khabibulan became the first Russian goalie ever to win the Stanley Cup when he led the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first championship. During that season, he had five postseason shutouts to lead the league.

    "The Buhlin Wall" has played in 16 NHL seasons for Winnipeg/Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Chicago and Edmonton.

    The Sverdlovsk native has been named to four All-Star Games and has won 328 games in his NHL career. He has a 2.72 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

36. Pavol Demitra

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    Slovakian forward Pavol Demitra was a solid top-six forward during his 16-year NHL career with the Senators, Blues, Kings, Wild and Canucks.

    Demitra topped the 20 goal mark 10 times in a season and scored more than 30 goals three times. He enjoyed his best season in 2002-03 with St. Louis, scoring 36 goals and 93 points.

    In 847 career NHL games, Demitra scored 304 goals and 768 points.

    Demitra died in September 2011 in the plane crash that killed all the members of the Lokomotiv Yarolsavl team in the KHL. He was just 36.

35. Martin Straka

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    Skilled Czech forward Martin Straka has played for six NHL teams and has a pair of 30-plus goal seasons to his credit.

    He enjoyed his most productive seasons in Pittsburgh including his career-best 95 point year back in 2000-01. Straka has also played for the Senators, Panthers, Islanders, Kings and Rangers. He has spent the last four seasons back in the Czech Republic.

    Straka played in 954 NHL games and scored 257 goals and 717 career points.

34. Anders Hedberg

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    Anders Hedberg was a superstar in the WHA, topping the 50 goal and 100 point marks in each of his four seasons with the Winnipeg Jets. He played on a line with fellow Swedish superstar Ulf Nilsson and Hall of Famer Bobby Hull and helped the Jets win a pair of Avco World Trophies.

    Hedberg and Nilsson signed with the Rangers in the summer of 1978 and helped the Broadway Blueshirts reach the Stanley Cup Final in their first season in New York.

    In six full seasons with the Rangers, Hedberg never scored fewer than 20 goals in a season and reached the 30 goal plateau four times.

    Hedberg won the Masterton Trophy in 1985, his final season in the NHL.

    The super Swede played in 465 NHL games, all with the Rangers and scored 172 goals and 398 points.

33. Henrik Zetterberg

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    Swedish winger Henrik Zetterberg has been an integral part of the Detroit Red Wings since joining the team in 2002.

    Zetterberg got off to a fast start and was named to the league's All Rookie Team after scoring 22 goals in his first NHL campaign.

    His best season was 2007-08 when he scored a career-high 43 goals and 92 points while leading the Wings to a Stanley Cup title. Zetterberg added 13 goals and 27 points in the postseason that year to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

    Zetterberg is an all-around player and is known for his responsible play in his own end as well as his scoring prowess.

    In 668 career NHL games, Zetterberg has scored 252 goals and 624 points.

32. Patrik Elias

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    Patrik Elias is Mr. Devils. He has been with the franchise since 1995-96 and is New Jersey's all-time leader in goals and points.

    The 36-year-old native of the Czech Republic has won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Devils and has played in three NHL All-Star Games.

    His best season came in 2000-01 when he scored 40 goals and 96 points. He has topped the 30 goal mark four times during his career.

    In 1,042 career NHL games, Elias has scored 361 goals and 894 points.

31. Sergei Zubov

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    Ask most Rangers fans who led the 1994 Stanley Cup champions in scoring and most will say Mark Messier, Brian Leetch or Adam Graves. They would all be wrong as the correct answer is actually defenseman Sergei Zubov.

    Zubov became one of the first Russians to get his name etched on the Stanley Cup along with Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Nemchinov and Alexander Karpovtsev. Zubov also won a second Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999.

    Zubov was an underrated passer, was great on the power play and an expert at making the first pass that helped his team transition from defense to offense.

    The Moscow native played in three straight NHL All-Star Games and was a finalist for the 2006 Norris Trophy.

    In 1,068 career NHL games, Zubov scored 152 goals and 771 points.

30. Milan Hejduk

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    Milan Hejduk has spent 13 season with the Colorado Avalanche and he has been one of the most consistent goal scorers in the league over the course of his NHL career.

    The native of the Czech Republic won the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2003 when he scored a career-high 50 goals and 98 points. Five times during his career he scored 30 or more goals.

    Hejduk has played in three NHL All-Star Games and won a Stanley Cup with the Avs in 2001.

    In 991 NHL games, Hejduk has scored 371 goals and 794 points.

29. Evgeni Nabokov

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    Veteran netminder Evgeni Nabokov holds nearly every meaningful Sharks' franchise goaltending record.

    The 37-year-old native of Kazakhstan burst onto the NHL scene in 2000-01, winning the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. He played in a pair of NHL All-Star Games and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2008.

    After spending a half season in the KHL, Nabokov tried to sign with the Detroit Red Wings but was claimed on waivers by the Islanders. After initially refusing to report to the Isles, Nabokov spent 2011-12 on Long Island and signed an extension with the club.

    Nabokov won his 300th NHL game last season and now has a career total of 312 wins, a GAA of 2.40 and a .912 save percentage.

28. Marian Gaborik

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    Slovakian sniper Marian Gaborik has scored more than 30 goals in seven NHL seasons thus far in his career and has topped the 40 goal mark three times.

    After spending eight years with the Minnesota Wild, Gaborik signed with the New York Rangers and continued to score at a productive pace.

    Gaborik has played in three NHL All-Star Games and was named MVP of the 2012 game in Ottawa.

    Despite playing injured throughout the playoffs, Gaborik helped the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference Final last season for the first time since 1997.

    In 722 career NHL games, Gaborik has scored 324 goals and has 647 points.

27. Miikka Kiprusoff

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    Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff has been a difference maker for the Calgary Flames for the past eight seasons.

    The 35-year-old native of Turku, Finland, helped lead the Flames to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004 after setting a record-low GAA of 1.69 during the regular season.

    Since then, Kiprusoff has been a workhorse for the Flames, playing in 70 or more games for seven straight seasons. He won the Vezina and Jennings Trophies in 2006 and played in the 2007 NHL All-Star Game.

    "Kipper" now has a career record of 311 wins, a GAA of 2.45 and a .914 save percentage. He also has 44 shutouts, with a record 41 of them in a Flames jersey.

26. Alexei Kovalev

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    Alexei Kovalev had more natural hockey talent than almost anybody in the NHL during the course of his playing career. Unfortunately for the Russian winger, he only flashed that raw ability on occasion but never quite developed into the consistent superstar many scouts felt he was capable of becoming.

    Still, Kovalev managed a very respectable NHL career, scoring more than 1,000 career points over 19 seasons in the NHL.

    In 1993-94, Kovalev became one of the first four Russians to get his name on the Stanley Cup when he won it with the Rangers. Still, he often clashed with Coach Mike Kennan for his failure to come off the ice when asked and his failure to buy into the team concept.

    Kovalev's best statistical season came in 2000-01 with Pittsburgh when he scored 44 goals and 95 points.

    The talented Russian played in three NHL All-Star Games and was named MVP of the 2009 contest. In 2008, he won the Saku Koivu Trophy as the NHL's comeback player of the year.

    Over the course of his career, Kovalev scored 428 goals and 1,024 points in 1,302 career games while playing for the Rangers, Penguins, Canadiens and Senators. He played in the KHL last season at the age of 39.

25. Kent Nilsson

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    Slick skating Swedish center Kent Nilsson got off to a fast start in the WHA, topping the 100-point barrier in each of his two seasons with the Winnipeg Jets.

    Nilsson then joined the Flames for their last season in Atlanta before heading to Calgary with the club in 1980. He scored more than 40 goals in each of his first two NHL seasons with the Flames including a career-best 49 goal, 131 point effort in 1980-81. Two years later, he broke the 100 point barrier again and he finished with 99 points in 1984-85, his final season in Calgary.

    After a season and a half with the North Stars, Nilsson was traded to Edmonton and won the Stanley Cup with the Oilers in 1987. He scored 19 points in 21 playoff games that year.

    Nilsson returned to Europe the following season and made only a six game cameo for the Oilers in 1994-95 after that. He was the last Atlanta Flames player to appear in an NHL game.

    Although he is largely overlooked today and only played in eight NHL seasons, Nilsson was one of the most talented and dynamic players of his era. Nilsson's final NHL numbers include 264 goals and an impressive 686 points in 553 career games.

24. Peter Bondra

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    Longtime Washington Capitals star Peter Bondra was almost an afterthought when the Caps selected him in the 8th round of the 1990 NHL Draft, but the native of Lutsk, Ukraine, went on to a stellar NHL career.

    He played 14 seasons in Washington before finishing his career with brief stints with Ottawa, Atlanta and Chicago.

    Bondra's best season was 1997-98 when he scored a career-high 52 goals and helped lead the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history. Twice he led the NHL in goals scored in a season and he was selected to play in five NHL All-Star Games.

    Bondra is the Caps' all-time leading goal scorer and has scored more points in a Capitals uniform than anybody in the franchise's history.

    In 1,081 career NHL games, Bondra finished with 503 goals and 892 points.

23. Marian Hossa

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    Slovak winger Marian Hossa has been a steady point producer since joining the NHL's Ottawa Senators in 1998.

    Seven times since then, he has topped the 30 goal mark in the NHL including three seasons of 40 goals or more. His best campaign was 2006-07 when he scored 43 goals and 100 points for the Atlanta Thrashers.

    Hossa had an usual quest for a Stanley Cup title, playing in three consecutive final series but not emerging with his name on the Cup until 2010 when he finally won a title with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    Hossa's 2011-12 postseason came to a premature end when he suffered a concussion after a blindside hit by the Coyotes Raffi Torres.

    In 978 career NHL games, Hossa has scored 417 goals and 904 points.

22. Ilya Kovalchuk

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    Devils sniper Ilya Kovalchuk has been one of the league's top goal scorers since his rookie year with the Thrashers in 2001-02.

    The native of Tver, Russia, has played in three NHL All-Star Games and won the Rocket Richard Trophy after leading the NHL in goals in 2003-04.

    Twice Kovalchuk has topped the 50 goal mark, scoring 52 in both 2005-06 and 2007-08 with Atlanta.

    Last season, Kovalchuk scored eight goals and 19 points to help lead the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final.

    Kovalchuk has now played in 10 NHL seasons and has a career total of 406 goals and 785 points in 779 games. At 29, "Kovy" should have plenty of good hockey left in him to add to those totals.

21. Henrik Lundqvist

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    Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been a model of excellence and consistency since joining the Rangers in 2005.

    The Swedish star is the only goalie in NHL history to win 30 or more games in seven straight seasons. "King Henrik" has done everything in the NHL except winning a Stanley Cup. He has played in three NHL All-Star Games, was named to the All-Rookie Team and won the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender last season after being a finalist for the award on three other occasions.

    Last year, he led the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Final, their deepest playoff run since 1997.

    Off the ice, Lundqvist is known for his fashion sense and his involvement with local charities.

    The Rangers star has already won 252 career games at the age of 30 and has an impressive 2.27 career GAA, a .920 save percentage and 43 shutouts.

20. Alex Ovechkin

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    Alexander Ovechkin has already achieved so much in just seven seasons in the NHL.

    The Moscow native was the first overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft and scored 52 goals and 106 points to win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie in 2005-06.

    Ovechkin already has four seasons of 50 or more goals and four 100-plus point seasons to his credit. He has also won two Hart Trophies as league MVP, two Rocket Richard Trophies as the league's top goal scorer and an Art Ross Trophy for leading the NHL in points.

    His best season so far came in 2008-09 when Ovechkin scored 65 goals and 112 points.

    "Ovie" has struggled a bit the past two seasons, dropping to 38 goals and 65 points in 2011-12 due to injuries to his center Nicklas Backstrom and the team's more conservative style of play.

    Ovechkin already has 339 goals and 679 points in just 553 games. At 27, he should just be entering his prime.

19. Evgeni Malkin

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    Penguins center Evgeni Malkin is one of the top  players in the NHL today. The native of Magnitogorsk, Russia, seems to have the ability to lift his game to new heights when it counts most.

    Malkin won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 2006-07. He already has three seasons of 100 or more points to his credit. He led the NHL in scoring in 2008-09 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy that same year as he helped lead the Penguins to their third Stanley Cup championship.

    Last season, "Geno" was recognized as the NHL's MVP by both the hockey writers and the players, winning both the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award. He has also played in four NHL All-Star Games and been named to three postseason All Star Teams.

    In just 427 career NHL games, the 26-year-old Malkin has scored 208 goals and 527 points while adding another 81 points in 62 career playoff games.

18. Henrik Sedin

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    Henrik Sedin and his twin brother Daniel have been among the best players in the National Hockey League since their arrival from Sweden in 2000.

    The two brothers have been inseparable on and off the ice throughout their careers with Henrik becoming one of the league's best setup men and Daniel a great finisher.

    Henrik has already played in three All-Star Games and been named to a pair of postseason All Star Teams. In 2010, Henrik led the league with 112 points to win the Art Ross Trophy and was also named league MVP. He has also topped the 50 assist mark in his last seven NHL seasons.

    In 892 NHL games, Henrik has scored 171 goals and 747 points. He was also instrumental in leading the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

17. Daniel Sedin

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    Daniel is the goal scoring half of the NHL's top set of twins. He has played on a line with his brother Henrik throughout their youth, in Sweden and again on the Vancouver Canucks.

    Daniel won the Ted Lindsay Award as league MVP in 2011. That year, he also won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's top point getter and totaled a career-high 41 goals and 104 points. That year, he also helped the Canucks reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994 where they fell in seven games to the Boston Bruins.

    Twice Daniel has been named to postseason NHL All Star Teams and he has also played in a pair of All-Star Games.

    In 859 career games, the NHL's top goal scoring twin has lit the lamp 279 times and totaled 718 points.

16. Pavel Bure

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    Pavel Bure was one of the NHL's most exciting players and deadliest goal scorers in the 1990s before injuries forced him to retire from hockey at the age of 32,

    Bure's speed and hard shot earned him the nickname "The Russian Rocket." Bure led the NHL in goal scoring three times during his career.

    He won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie in 1991-92. Bure played in six NHL All-Star Games and was the MVP of the 2000 All-Star Game.

    "The Russian Rocket" topped the 50 goal mark five times during his career including a career-high 60 in both 1992-93 and 1993-94.

    In 1994, Bure led the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final where they fell to the Rangers in seven games. His Game 7 double overtime goal against Calgary in the opening round of the playoffs gave the Canucks momentum for the playoff drive. Bure scored 16 goals and 31 points in 24 postseason games that season.

    Bure finished his NHL career after stints with Florida and the Rangers. He scored 437 goals and 779 points in 702 career games. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

15. Alexander Mogilny

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    Russian winger Alexander Mogilny was one of the NHL's most dangerous goal scorers in the 1990s. He played 16 seasons in the NHL with Buffalo, Vancouver, New Jersey and Toronto.

    Mogilny had great speed and a quick release which always kept goalies on their toes. His best NHL season came in 1992-93 when he scored a league-leading 76 goals and 127 points.

    Mogilny was named to six NHL All-Star Games and two postseason All Star Teams. He also won the Lady Byng Award for gentlemanly play in 2002-03.

    In 990 career NHL games, Mogilny scored 473 goals and 1,032 points. He was inducted into the Sabres Hall of Fame in 2011.

14. Markus Naslund

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    Long-time Canucks winger Markus Naslund spent parts of 12 seasons in Vancouver and left his mark on the franchise.

    Six times during the Swede's NHL career he topped the 30 goal mark including a career-best 48 goals and 104 points in 2002-03.

    Naslund became the first European-born captain in Canucks' history in 2000 and served in that capacity until he left Vancouver after the 2007-08 season.

    The Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, native had a deadly wrist shot and excelled on the power play.

    Naslund played in five NHL All-Star Games and was named to three post-season All Star Teams.

    By the time his NHL career ended after the 2008-09 season, he had scored 395 goals and 869 points in 1,117 games.

    Naslund was a leader and one of the best players in Canucks' history. He still holds Vancouver franchise records for career goals and points.

13. Sergei Fedorov

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    There have been few players who have played a better all-around game of hockey than Sergei Fedorov did in his prime.

    The native of Pskov, Russia, won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, was the first European-born player to win the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP and won a pair of Selke Trophies as the NHL's top defensive forward.

    Fedorov had great speed and hockey sense. He enjoyed his best statistical season in 1993-94 when he scored a career-best 56 goals and 120 points.

    He was also a clutch player, scoring 15 career game-winning goals and an NHL record 27 career overtime points.

    Fedorov later had stints with the Ducks, Blue Jackets and Capitals after leaving Detroit.

    He scored 483 goals and 1,179 points in 1,248 career NHL games.

12. Daniel Alfredsson

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    Senators' captain Daniel Alfredsson has not just been the face of the franchise for the past decade, but its heart and soul.

    Alfredsson won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie back in 1995-96 and has now accumulated more than 1,000 points in his illustrious NHL career. He has played in six NHL All-Star Games and was named the captain of one of the teams in the 2012 game which was played in Ottawa.

    The native of Gothenburg, Sweden, has scored more than 20 goals in 13 different NHL seasons including a career-high 43 goals and 103 points in 2005-06. The following season, he led the Sens to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in the modern history of the franchise.

    At the age of 39, Alfredsson announced he would return to Ottawa for the 2012-13 season, but the lockout has put those plans on hold.

    Thus far in his NHL career, Alfredsson has scored 416 goals and 1,082 points in 1,131 games.

11. Mats Sundin

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    Mats Sundin managed to combine being both steady and spectacular during the course of his 18-year, NHL career.

    The Swedish center served as captain of the Maple Leafs from 1997-2008 and topped the 20 goal mark in each of his first 17 NHL seasons, tying him with Marcel Dionne for the most in NHL history.

    Sundin started his career with the Quebec Nordiques who made him the first overall choice in the 1989 NHL Draft. After four productive seasons in Quebec, the Nords traded Sundin to Toronto where he spent the bulk of his career.

    Sundin's best season came in 1996-97 when he scored a career-high 41 goals and 94 points. He was selected to play in nine NHL All-Star Games and made a pair of postseason All Star Teams.

    In 1,346 career NHL games, Sundin scored 564 goals and 1,349 points. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2012.

10. Peter Stastny

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    Peter Stastny was one of the first players to come from the Eastern bloc, defecting from Czechoslovakia in 1980 along with his brother Anton.

    Stastny quickly made his mark on the NHL, winning the Calder Trophy in 1981 after scoring 39 goals and 109 points for the Nordiques. His 70 assists set a new NHL rookie record that was later tied by Joe Juneau.

    Stasnty topped the 100 point mark seven times in his NHL career including his first six NHL seasons. He also scored 30 or more goals eight times including a career-high 47 goals in 1982-83.

    After a decade in Quebec, Stastny was traded to New Jersey where he spent more than three seasons. He finished his career with the St. Louis Blues.

    Stastny played in six NHL All-Star Games during his NHL career. He retired after scoring 450 goals and 1,239 points in 977 games. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998.

9. Peter Forsberg

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    Peter Forsberg was one of the best all-around hockey players of his generation. He was a great passer, had excellent hockey sense and played a strong game in all three zones.

    Forsberg won the Calder Trophy with the Quebec Nordiques in 1994-95 and then followed the Nords franchise to Denver where he spent the next nine seasons.

    The Swedish center enjoyed his best NHL season in 1995-96, scoring 30 goals and 86 assists for an impressive 116-point campaign. He also scored 10 goals and 21 points in 22 games as the Avalanche won their first of two Stanley Cup titles.

    Forsberg was named the Hart Trophy winner as the league's MVP in 2002-03. He also led the NHL in scoring that season, winning the Art Ross Trophy.

    Injuries slowed Forsberg down as he got older. He spent time with the Flyers and Predators before returning to Colorado to close out his NHL career.

    He finished with 249 goals and 885 points in 708 career NHL games, won a pair of Stanley Cups and was named to three postseason All Star Teams. He is a surefire Hockey Hall of Famer once he becomes eligible in 2014.

8. Jari Kurri

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    Jari Kurri accomplished a lot in his NHL career. Perhaps his biggest honor was becoming the first Finnish-born player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.

    The speedy winger also won five Stanley Cups with the Oilers, played in eight NHL All-Star Games and was named to five postseason All Star Teams.

    His best season was 1984-85 when Kurri scored 71 goals and 135 points and won the Lady Byng Trophy. He led the NHL in goals the following season, potting 68.

    After 10 seasons in Edmonton, Kurri joined Wayne Gretzky in Los Angeles and was part of the Kings team that reached the Stanley Cup Final in 1993. He closed out his career with brief stints with the Rangers, Mighty Ducks and Avalanche.

    Kurri is often overshadowed by Gretzky when people remember the great Oilers dynasty teams of the 1980s, but he was an integral part of those teams and one best European-born players of all-time.

7. Borje Salming

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    Swedish defenseman Borje Salming was a pioneer for European players and his importance is reflected in his high standing on this list. Salming was the first European trained player to become an NHL star. He joined the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Inge Hammarstrom in 1973. Hammarstrom became a journeyman, Salming ended up in the Hall of Fame.

    Opposing players constantly challenged Salming. They took physical liberties with him and called him a "Chicken Swede." Salming never let the attacks stop him and he let his play on the ice do the talking.

    Salming spent 16 seasons with the Maple Leafs before ending his career with one season in Detroit. Salming played in three NHL All-Star Games and was named to a postseason All Star Team on six occasions.

    He enjoyed his most productive season in 1976-77 when he scored 78 points, the first of four straight years when he accumulated more than 70 points in a season.

    Salming played in 1,148 games in his NHL career, scoring 150 goals and 787 points. He also helped pave the way for European players to bring their talents to the NHL. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

6. Pavel Datsyuk

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    Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk is considered one of the best all-around players in the NHL today. The 34-year-old native of Sverdlovsk, Russia, has great hockey smarts, plays well in his own zone and is dangerous both with and without the puck.

    Datsyuk has a lot of hardware during his 10-season NHL career, winning four Lady Byng Trophies for gentlemanly play and three Selke Trophies as the league's top defensive forward. Most importantly, Datsyuk won two Stanley Cups with Detroit, one in 2002 and another in 2008.

    Datsyuk has topped the 30 goal mark three times during his NHL career and accumulated a career-best 97 points in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

    In 732 career NHL games, Datsyuk has scored 240 goals and 718 points.

5. Dominik Hasek

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    Dominik Hasek was considered the best goalie in the NHL for much of the 1990s and 2000s. "The Dominator" won a pair of Stanley Cups and led his teams to another Final series during his 16-year, NHL career.

    Hasek had an unorthodox playing style. While most NHL goalies were playing a variation on the butterfly style, Hasek stopped the puck by any means necessary. He was often seen lunging at pucks while sprawled out on the ice and making snow angels. It may not have been typical, but it certainly worked.

    The native of the Czech Republic won six Vezina Trophies as the league's best goalie and two Hart Trophies as the NHL's MVP. He was named to six postseason All Star Teams and selected to play in half a dozen All-Star Games.

    Thus far, he has won 389 NHL games, 81 of them via shutout. Hasek also has a 2.13 career GAA and a save percentage of .922.

    Hasek last played in the NHL with Detroit in 2007-08 although he did announce he was interested in returning to the league again once play gets underway.

    Regardless of when he finally hangs up his skates, he will be a shoo-in for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

4. Stan Mikita

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    Stan Mikita was born in Czechoslovakia and was one of the first European-born players to reach the NHL. His family escaped that Communist nation when Mikita was a boy and he grew up in Canada where he played his junior hockey.

    Mikita joined the Blackhawks during the 1958-59 season and remained with the team through 1979-80.

    In 1961, Mikita helped lead the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup win. He also helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final four other times during his career.

    Mikita pulled off a rare feat. He led the NHL in penalty minutes in 1963-64 but later went on to win two Lady Byng Trophies for gentlemanly play after his young child asked him why he spent so much time sitting in the penalty box.

    He also led the league in scoring four different times and was named league MVP in back-to-back seasons in 1966-67 and 1967-68. Mikita also played in nine NHL All-Star Games and was named to eight postseason All Star Teams.

    In 1,394 career NHL games, Mikita scored 541 games and accumulated 1,467 points. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.

3. Teemu Selanne

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    Teemu Selanne made an immediate impact on the NHL, setting a rookie record by scoring 76 goals in his first NHL season with the original Winnipeg Jets back in 1992-93.

    Selanne has been one of the NHL's best goal scorers over the course of his 19-year, NHL career. He has scored more than 40 goals in a season seven different times and either led or tied for the lead league in goals scored three times. Four times he scored more than 100 points in a season.

    "The Finnish Flash" has been selected to play in 11 NHL All-Star Games and was the MVP of the 1998 All-Star Game. He was also named to four postseason All Star Teams.

    Selanne spent most of his career with the Anaheim Ducks and won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007.

    In 1,341 career NHL games with Winnipeg, San Jose, Colorado and Anaheim, Selanne has scored 663 goals and accumulated 1,406 points. He was scheduled to return to the Ducks this season prior to the lockout.

2. Jaromir Jagr

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    Czech winger Jaromir Jagr won the Stanley Cup in each of his first two seasons in the NHL, helping Mario Lemieux lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to championships in 1991 and 1992.

    Jagr quickly became a star in his own right, winning five NHL scoring titles, three Lester B. Pearson Trophies as the MVP as voted on by the NHL players and one Hart Trophy as MVP as voted on by the media.

    Jagr topped the 30 goal mark 15 different times in his NHL career including a career-high 62 goals and 149 points in 1995-96.

    The native of Kladno, Czech Republic, uses his size and strength to set up his heavy shot. Even now at the age of 40, Jagr is capable of using his large butt to shield opponents from the puck while lugging it into the offensive zone to set up a shot.

    After his early stint with Pittsburgh, Jagr later played for Washington, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia. Jagr signed with Dallas this past summer as a free agent and when the NHL season gets underway will play for his fifth different NHL club.

    Jagr needs just 12 more assists to each the 1,000 mark for his NHL career. He presently has 665 goals and 1,653 points in 1,346 career NHL games.

1. Nicklas Lidstrom

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    No European-born player has had a more amazing career than Swedish-born Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.

    For 20 seasons Lidstrom patrolled the blueline and his unparalleled hockey intelligence made the game look almost effortless.

    Lidstrom won seven Norris Trophies as the NHL's best defenseman a Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP and was chosen to participate in 12 NHL All-Star Games. Most importantly, the native of Vasteras, Sweden, helped lead the Wings to four Stanley Cup championships and served as Detroit's captain for six seasons.

    Lidstrom was always a model of consistency. His best statistical season was 2005-06 when he scored 80 points. He had one 20 goal season back in 1999-2000.

    In 1,564 career NHL games, Lidstrom finished with 264 goals and 1,142 points. He added 183 points in 263 postseason games. Lidstrom retired after the 2011-12 season and is a guaranteed Hall of Famer as soon as he becomes eligible in 2015.

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