Mike Modano and the NHL'S All-Time American Born Team
On Wednesday, Mike Modano—arguably the best American born player ever—announced he will retire. This announcement marks the end of not only a great career but a legendary era.
Although Modano was not part of the 1980 Miracle on Ice, he was a part of some other international USA hockey moments, especially the 1996 World Cup.
In his time, Modano was part of a golden age for American hockey, playing with names like Chelios, Hull and Richter to name a few. This presentation highlights those players providing a lineup for the ages.
Without further adieu, allow me to present the all-time American-born hockey team!
First-Line Center: Jeremy Roenick
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Hailing from Boston, Ma., none other than J.R. himself.
Playing in 1363 games, scoring 513 goals and 703 assists for 1,216 points, Jeremy Roenick centers team USA's top line.
Roenick was the complete-package power forward. He could score, check and if he had to, drop the gloves.
Some will surely ask why Modano is not in this spot. All I can say is Roenick is a guy I'd like on the ice first to set the tone with his physical, irritating style of play. So it is basically preference.
First-Line Right Wing: Brett Hull
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Although Born in Canada, Hull chose to use his dual citizenship to play for Team USA. While this is supposed to be the American-born team, I made an exception in Hull's case.
Aside from his father's Canadian roots, Brett's mother was American so at the very least he's somewhat American-made. Foreign parts assembled in an American factory is the norm of manufacturing these days anyway.
In 1,269 games, Hull registered 741 goals and 640 assists for 1391 points.
Hull and former linemate Adam Oates formed the "Hull and Oates" line while playing in St. Louis.
A one-time Hart Trophy and two-time Stanley Cup winner, Hull carved a legend of his own in hockey immortality with his wicked but accurate shot.
First-Line Left Wing: Keith Tkachuk
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Known as "Big Walt" for a play on a player's name from the '70s, Walter Tkaczuk, Keith Tkachuk played 18 years in the NHL.
In that time he played 1,201 games, scored 538 goals with 527 assists for a total of 1065 points.
Tkachuk became the first American player to lead the NHL in goals with 52 in 1997. He also became the fourth player all-time to score over 50 goals with 200 penalty minutes.
Second-Line Center: Mike Modano
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Recently retired, Mike Modano heads up the second but not least line of American greats.
Only appearing in one fight against Rod Brind'amour, Modano was a "Gretzky" among upstart Americans.
In 1,499 games Modano registered 561 goals and 813 assists for 1374 points.
Modano played an instrumental part in the Dallas Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup win.
Second-Line Right Wing: Joe Mullen
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Joe Mullen almost became a piece of American history but went pro instead of joining the 1980 U.S. Olympic team.
"Slippery Rock Joe," known for his dazzling moves and rock-solid, tough style of play, won three Stanley cups—one with Calgary and two with Pittsburgh.
In 1,062 games he scored 502 goals and 561 assists for 1,063 total points.
His Lady Byng Trophy is sure to help this line stay out of the penalty box.
Second-Line Left Wing: John Leclair
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Known for a knack to create havoc in the crease and a heavy shot, John Leclair rounds out a tough but disciplined line for Team USA.
In 967 games, Leclair tallied 406 goals and 413 assists for 819 points.
Leclair was the second player in Philadelphia Flyers history to record three consecutive 50-goal seasons and the first American player to do so.
Although a member of the 1993 Stanley Cup-winning Montreal Canadiens, Leclair is immortalized as a member of the "Legion of Doom" line.
Third-Line Center: Doug Weight
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If it wasn't for Doug Weight, I might have cut this short at two lines but I could not overlook a player of his caliber.
The premier playmaker and hockey player did manage to win a Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes despite being injured in Game 2.
In 1,238 games, Weight scored 278 goals and 755 assists for 1,033 points.
Although not a prolific goal scorer, Weight had a knack for setting up teammates for the lamp-lighting. He also brought a level of leadership through his play, exemplified by his King Clancy Memorial Trophy.
Third-Line Right Wing: Tony Amonte
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A smooth skater with a sharp shot, Tony Amonte would benefit greatly on a line centered by Doug Weight.
In 1,174 games, Amonte registered 416 goals, 484 assists and 900 points.
Amonte will be forever remembered for scoring the game-winning goal against Team Canada in the 1996 World Cup.
Third-Line Left Wing: Brian Rolston
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Every team needs a do-anything player and Rolston is just that.
Drafted by the NJ Devils Rolston was part of their first of many Stanley Cup championships in 1995.
In 1,186 games, Rolston has 335 goals and 402 assists for 737 points.
Defense: Phil Housely
Phil Housely never won a Stanley Cup but he came close in 1998 with the Washington Capitals and did win a World Cup in 1996 with Team USA.
Until Mike Modano surpassed him, Housely was the all-time leading American point-scorer.
In 1,495 games Housely tallied 338 goals and 894 assists for a total 1,232 points, making him the second-highest American scorer.
Defense: Brian Leetch
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Two-time Norris Trophy winner Brian Leetch was one of the best American-born defensemen.
He will forever be enshrined in hockey immortality for his Conn Smythe-worthy performance in the 1994 playoffs.
In 1,205 games, Leetch is credited with 247 goals and 781 assists for a total of 1,028 points.
Defense: Chris Chelios
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With a mile-long list of awards, Chris Chelios is the most highly decorated of American players.
Just last year, Chelios became the second-oldest player to ever lace up the skates with the Atlanta Thrashers at the ripe age of 48!
Norris Trophies, Stanley Cups and a plethora of All-Star appearances make him Captain America of this all-time team.
In 1,651 games, Captain Chris has 185 goals and 763 assists for 948 points.
Defense: Gary Suter
Rounding off the front-five skater assembly is Gary Suter.
Part of the 1989 Stanley Cup-winning Calgary Flames, Suter is also a 1986 Calder Trophy winner—the first American to ever do so.
In 1,145 games, Suter has 203 goals and 642 assists for a combined 845 points.
Goalie: Mike Richter
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Aside from being the goaltender for the World Cup-winning team in 1996, Richter also served as a phenomenal goaltender through 14 years for the New York Rangers.
In that time, he backstopped the Rangers to a memorable Stanley Cup run in 1994.
Forced into retirement by a skull fracture, Richter was an acrobatic goaltender who aggravated shooters.
Considered the best of American goaltenders, another might soon take that title from him.
In 666 games, Richter has 301 wins, 258 losses and 73 ties. He boasts a career GAA of 2.89, a .904 save percentage and 24 shutouts.
Goalie: Tim Thomas
Another goalie to stymie the Vancouver Canucks in a Stanley Cup Finals, Tim Thomas is quickly making a case to be the starter for this all-time American team.
The Tank, as he is affectionately known by Boston Bruin fans, seemed to will his team to their Stanley Cup this year.
Aside from his Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe awards, Thomas also has a William Jennings Trophy, a couple Vezina Trophies, a Roger Crozier award and an ESPY award.
Originally I had Richter being the starter for this all-time squad. However, upon review of these two prolific goalies' resumes, I have to reconsider.
Americans on the Rise
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As the careers of these greats have almost all concluded, a new generation looks to take up the torch representing their country on the ice.
Here are some of those names:
James Van Riemsdyk
If you have any you would like to add, please list them in the comments below. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.