What Percentage of NHL Players Are American?

As of 2023, 28% of NHL players are American. This is higher than in past decades when American players were not nearly as common. Some of the best current NHL players are American, such as Auston Matthews, Quinn Hughes, Adam Fox, and Matthew Tkachuk.

While hockey is often known as a Canadian sport and has been dominated by Canadian players throughout history, other nationalities have become more involved in the sport in recent years. That includes Americans, who currently make up the second-largest group of NHL players.

But what percentage of players in the NHL are actually American? Keep reading to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • As of the 2022-23 season, 28% of NHL players are American.
  • The rate of American players in the NHL has risen dramatically in recent years. In fact, even just 20 years ago in the 2002-03 season, under 15% of NHL players were American.
  • Some of today’s best players like Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk are American, and the future is bright for Americans with players like Jack Hughes, Jason Robertson, Trevor Zegras, and others leading the charge.

What Percentage of NHL Players are American?

Currently, 28% of active NHL players are American. That means there are 297 players from the USA in the big leagues. This also means that Americans are the second largest group in the NHL behind Canadians, who represent a whopping 42% of all players in the league.

Behind the Americans, it is Sweden with 10%, Russia with just shy of 6%, and Finland with a little over 5%.

While these numbers for Americans may seem small (especially when comparing them to the number of Canadians) it is actually much higher than it used to be. In fact, back in the 1970s, well under 10% of NHL players were American for most of the decade.

Even only 20 years ago, under 15% of NHL players were from the USA. As you can see, more and more American players are joining the NHL, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the percentage continue to climb.

The Best American Players in the NHL

Now we know how many Americans are in the NHL, but how many of them are actually good players? Well, the answer is a lot of them. Auston Matthews is arguably the best American player currently in the NHL.

He has led the league in goals twice, and won the Hart Trophy as most valuable player in the NHL back in the 2021-22 season. He already has nearly 300 goals in his NHL career, and is still only 25.

Matthew Tkachuk is another great American player, and has scored over 100 points in both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, with more than 40 goals in each season. In addition to scoring, Tkachuk is also a physical player who isn’t afraid to be a pest to play against.

Some of the best young defensemen in the NHL are also from the USA. Both Adam Fox and Quinn Hughes are some of the best scoring defensemen in the league, as both have put up around 70 points in each of the last two seasons (2021-22 and 2022-23).

In addition to these players, there are several young American players that many believe will have a significant impact on the future of the league. This includes Jack Hughes, Jason Robertson, Cole Caulfield, and Trevor Zegras. The future for Americans in the NHL is bright.


Here are a few common questions about American NHL players, along with their answers.

Who are the best American players of all time?

Some of the best American players in the history of the NHL include Mike Modano, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, and Patrick Kane. They have all had over 1,000 points in their NHL careers.

Who was the first American-born player in the NHL?

The first American-born player in the NHL was Pierce George “Gerry” Geran, who played in a few games for the Montreal Wanderers in 1917-18, which was the very first season in NHL history.

Final Thoughts

The prevalence of Americans has increased rapidly in the NHL over the last few decades. Some of the best players in the league are American, and there are several young American players who look to be a major part of the future of the NHL.

Who is your favorite American hockey player of all time? Let me know in a comment below.

About Kale
Being from Canada, hockey is essentially a way of life. I instantly fell in love with the game since I was being put on skates. From playing as a child (and the occasional street hockey game with friends today) to being a fan for over 20 years, I’m here to share my knowledge and passion for hockey. Email: kale@hockeyhow.com

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