The NHL by nationality: 52 per cent Canadian content

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Here's another stats breakdown I like to run every season: A look at which countries NHLers come from in a given season (based on birthplace).

The basics are that, with 768 players having appeared in a game so far this season, 52.0 per cent of the NHL is Canadian born, followed by 19.9 per cent American, 6.9 per cent Czech, 5.9 per cent Swedish and 4.4 per cent Finnish.

The NHL is down to only 3.5 per cent Russian-born players, a figure that doesn't include Ukranians, Latvians and Kazakhs.

Hope you saved room for pie:

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Make no mistake, with a decreasing number of Russians, Eastern Europeans and even Canadians in the league, the NHL is becoming more and more American. I remember running these numbers 10 years ago and Canada came in around the high 50s and the American representation would be about 11 or 12 per cent.

European players make up 27.3 per cent of the NHL this season, which I'll bet is a bit lower than many expect.

Let's look at things by position:

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I was actually surprised to see Slovakia with as many defencemen as they've got, as that's a relatively new development. It used to be Zdeno Chara and a bunch of "whos?"

Canadians make up 54% of the forwards in the league, with Americans at 20.5% and Europeans 25%. On defence, Canadians fall to 48.9%, Americans are right at the same spot and there are, surprisingly, far more Europeans playing defence (30 per cent) percentagewise than forwards. 

Which brings us to goaltending:

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Note the Finnish representation, as the small Nordic country makes up about 12 per cent of NHL goaltenders. Canadians are 51% of the backstops and Americans only 13 per cent.

Other countries have four or fewer netminders this season.

And here's a crazy stats dump just for you:

Country Forwards Defence Goalies Total %NHL
1 Canada 248 53.7% 116 48.9% 35 50.7% 399 52.0%
2 U.S. 95 20.6% 49 20.7% 9 13.0% 153 19.9%
3 Czech Rep. 31 6.7% 19 8.0% 3 4.3% 53 6.9%
4 Sweden 22 4.8% 19 8.0% 4 5.8% 45 5.9%
5 Finland 17 3.7% 9 3.8% 8 11.6% 34 4.4%
6 Russia 18 3.9% 7 3.0% 2 2.9% 27 3.5%
7 Slovakia 8 1.7% 7 3.0% 2 2.9% 17 2.2%
8 Germany 5 1.1% 3 1.3% 0 0.0% 8 1.0%
9 Switzerland 0 0.0% 1 0.4% 3 4.3% 4 0.5%
10 Ukraine 3 0.6% 1 0.4% 0 0.0% 4 0.5%
11 Austria 2 0.4% 1 0.4% 0 0.0% 3 0.4%
12 Belarus 2 0.4% 1 0.4% 0 0.0% 3 0.4%
13 Denmark 3 0.6% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 3 0.4%
14 Kazakhst. 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 1 1.4% 2 0.3%
15 Latvia 1 0.2% 1 0.4% 0 0.0% 2 0.3%
16 Brazil 0 0.0% 1 0.4% 0 0.0% 1 0.1%
17 Brunei 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 1 0.1%
18 UK 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 1 0.1%
19 Italy 0 0.0% 1 0.4% 0 0.0% 1 0.1%
20 S. Korea 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 1 0.1%
21 Lithuania 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 1 0.1%
22 Norway 0 0.0% 1 0.4% 0 0.0% 1 0.1%
23 Poland 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 1 0.1%
24 Slovenia 1 0.2% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 1 0.1%
25 France 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 1 1.4% 1 0.1%
26 S. Africa 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 1 1.4% 1 0.1%
Totals 462 237 69 768
Forwards Defence Goalies Total %NHL
N. America 343 74.2% 165 69.6% 44 63.8% 552 71.9%
Europe 116 25.1% 71 30.0% 24 34.8% 211 27.3%
Other 3 0.6% 1 0.4% 1 1.4% 5 0.8%
Forwards Defence Goalies Total %NHL
Canada 248 53.7% 116 48.9% 35 50.7% 399 52.0%
U.S. 95 20.6% 49 20.7% 9 13.0% 153 19.9%
Europe 116 25.1% 71 30.0% 24 34.8% 211 27.3%

 

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