The National Hockey League is divided into two conferences. Within each conference, there are two divisions. Since the league features 30 teams battling it out on the ice, the clubs aren’t exactly evenly distributed: There are 14 clubs in the Western Conference and 16 in the Eastern Conference.
The Atlantic Division, as you may have guessed, is primarily made up of teams that are on the East Coast (with a few outliers). The teams include the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The players who make up these teams come from all over the world. How do their nationalities break down on a team-by-team basis? And which country produces the most players in this NHL division? Let’s look at the Atlantic side to see how it all breaks down.
Where Do Players Hail From?
Canada is the home of nearly half of the players that suit up in the Atlantic Division. They clock in at almost 47 percent and are directly followed by the U.S., which claims nearly 28 percent of players. After the U.S., the number of players representing other countries drops off considerably; however, Sweden (6 percent), Russia (5 percent), and the Czech Republic (nearly 5 percent) all have solid turnouts as well.
Other nations with players in this division include Finland (3 percent), Slovakia (2 percent), and Denmark (1 percent). Austria, Estonia, France, Kazakhstan, and Latvia all contribute one player each.
Patrice Bergeron, who’s from L’Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, takes the ice for the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are one of the Original Six NHL franchises; they last won the Stanley Cup title in the 2010-2011 season. Another Canadian who plays in this division is Aaron Ekblad, from Windsor, Ontario. He suits up for the Florida Panthers, a team that enjoyed a franchise-best 2015-2016 season.
Tampa Bay is another team with notable players, including Steven Stamkos from Markham, Ontario, and Jonathan Drouin from Ste-Agathe, Quebec. The Lightning are a relatively newer team, having been around since the 1992-1993 season. They’ve been to the Stanley Cup Final twice – winning in the 2003-2004 season and losing in the 2014-2015 season.
You can find Swedes on a few teams, such as the Ottawa Senators, whose own Erik Karlsson calls Landsbro, Sweden, home. The Senators have been in the league since the 1992-1993 season and have had plenty of success – having made the playoffs 15 out of their 24 seasons. They made it to the Stanley Cup Final in the 2006-2007 season but have yet to win the Cup.
Passing the Puck in North America
Ontario has contributed the most hockey players out of all Canadian provinces in the Atlantic Division – a solid 40 players call it their home. Quebec is next with 14 players, followed by Alberta and British Columbia, which both claim 12 players in this division. It trails off a bit after that, with Saskatchewan and Manitoba logging three players each, and Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia both contributing two players each.
A few northern U.S. states can also brag about their NHL players in the Atlantic Division. Michigan (11 players) and Minnesota (six players) are the top states supplying the Atlantic Division with players. Other states represented are Massachusetts and New York (five players each), Wisconsin and Illinois (four players each), New Jersey (three players), Colorado (two players), Missouri (two players), California (two players), and a handful of U.S. states supplying one player each.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have some remarkable players that emerged from the U.S. – James van Riemsdyk is from Middletown, N.J., and Auston Matthews arose from Scottsdale, Ariz. The Leafs are one of the winningest NHL teams and are a part of the Original Six. They’ve made the playoffs 65 out of their 99 seasons and have captured the Stanley Cup title 11 times, although the last time was in the 1966-1967 season. They also won two NHL Finals before the game the championship became known as the Stanley Cup.
Team to Team
Ottawa checks in with the most Canadians, while Boston has the most Americans. Detroit notably has five Swedes, including Henrik Zetterberg, and hope to get back to the Stanley Cup Final. (They’ve won 11 total, the last being in the 2007-2008 season).
Jack Eichel, from North Chelmsford, Mass., plays for the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are another franchise that has enjoyed many winning campaigns, reaching the playoffs 29 times over 46 seasons.
The Montreal Canadiens have a couple of noteworthy players that fit into two categories. Max Pacioretty is from New Canaan, Conn., and Shea Weber is from Sicamous, British Columbia. The Canadiens are another Original Six team and have taken home the Stanley Cup 23 times, skating their way into the playoffs 82 out of their 99 seasons.
Ice, Ice, Baby
NHL players in the Atlantic Division hail from all over the world, and while most come from northern states with colder climates where hockey is played regularly, that doesn’t necessarily mean guys from southern states like Missouri won’t eventually make their way into the league.
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