This article was different than the others I have done so far and that is why I was interested in it. This article focuses on the best of the best from 12 NHL cities. There is a lot of parity in today’s NHL and not necessarily all the best players in the league are Canadian or American, but every city, country and state has enough talent to make up an NHL team. I tried to rank the teams in terms of elite talent and those at the bottom of my list either do not have a lot of players from the city or lack all star caliber players. Conversely, those at the very top of the list are loaded with elite talent and had plenty of players to choose from.
I put a premium on teams with elite defencemen and goaltending at the top of the list since I believe that those are the two key elements to winning a Stanley Cup. I also tried to pick forwards that offered a blend of youth and a veteran presence and those that have performed very well in their NHL careers or are future superstars in the league. The perfect blend of youth and veteran leadership was what I was looking for.
Researching for this article was a lot of fun since I learned which cities players came from and I also learned a little bit about the geography of certain states and provinces. All in all, this article offered me something new and different and brought back my days of when I used to play fantasy hockey and building a dream team which was always an enjoying experience.
12 Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks might be the winningest NHL team over the past decade, but when it comes to active hometown players, the state of Illinois is extremely lacking. At the top of the list in terms of career NHL points for forwards are Tommy Wingels, Mike Brown and Ryan Dzingel. On defence there is Connor Carrick and John Moore who are two depth defencemen even on a bad team.
11 Pittsburgh Penguins
There is exactly enough active players in the NHL from the city of Pittsburgh to make up a starting lineup. Philadelphia Flyers centre R.J Umberger, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Brandon Saad and Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck make up the forward group, with the Washington Capitals' Mike Weber and Vancouver Canucks' Matt Bartowski on defence and young Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson in net.
10 Boston Bruins
9 Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres are on this list because they have the best player in the league this year in Patrick Kane. With 106 points during the regular season it was his best season in the NHL and he should win the Hart Trophy as league MVP. All of his skills came to the forefront this year and he was able to put everything together and have a breakout and highlight filled season. Joining Kane up front is current Sabre Marcus Foligno and his brother Nick of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
8 Calgary Flames
Calgary gets the edge over Boston because their elite young talent I believe is just a little bit better. Taylor Hall is a player that is ready to bust out and have a huge year in my opinion as soon as he gets out of Edmonton and William Nylander, who was born in Calgary when his father played for the Flames, has looked really good for the Maple Leafs in the games he has played this year. He has the ability to get goals and points in an instant and shows a keen sense for the game in the offensive zone that is rare to see.
7 Detroit Red Wings
6 Edmonton Oilers
5 Minnesota Wild
4 Montreal Canadiens
This team has a little bit of the old and a little bit of the new. The current leading scorer from Montreal is Vincent Lecavalier with 949 points and even though his career is coming to an end, he still has scored 10 goals for the Los Angeles Kings this year. Also up front is one of the best all round players in the game today, Patrice Bergeron who scored 30 goals for the second time in his career this year. He has also won two Olympic Gold Medals and a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins and is one of the most underrated players in the game today.
3 Winnipeg Jets
2 Vancouver Canucks
The number two team on my list has arguably the best defence out of all the teams I have mentioned. Shea Weber is a perennial Norris Trophy candidate and Brent Seabrook had 49 points this year for the Chicago Blackhawks. If that is not imposing enough, there is last year's Hart Trophy and Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price backstopping this team. Up front you have last year's Art Ross Trophy winner Jamie Benn, Stanley Cup winner Andrew Ladd and former Boston Bruin Milan Lucic.
1 Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto is home to some of the most talented players in the NHL, especially on defence with the likes of young stalwarts Drew Doughty, P.K. Subban and Alex Pietrangelo. They also have Brent Burns who led all defencemen in goals this past season and will be in the conversation for the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenceman and Mark Giordano who also scored 20 goals from the defence position. Up front, Ontario’s leading scorer among active players is Joe Thornton who has 1,341 career points including 82 this year in a renaissance season, multi-time 30 goal scorer Jason Spezza, former MVP Corey Perry, former 60 goal scorer Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and the list goes on and on. Brian Elliott and Cam Talbot make up the team's goaltending.
The one thing that stands out about this team from the other teams on my list is that one can easily make up 3-4 teams out of all the players from the Greater Toronto Area without a problem and be very happy, but with the other teams this is an impossibility. These teams also have all the intangibles to win in the playoffs. Size, speed, skill it really is a general manager's dream to make up a roster of players from Toronto.
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