This is the first part to a three part series of breaking down who the top Canadian born skaters of all-time are.
Due to the high amount of Canadian contributions to the sport of hockey, and the evolution of the NHL from six teams to now on its way to 32 with the Seattle expansion team, the first list will be post-1980, the second will be pre-1980, and the third will current skaters.
Let’s take a look at the Top Ten Canadian Skaters Post 1980.
10. Ron Francis:
From Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Ron Francis was drafted fourth overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft by the Hartford Whalers.
Playing in 1,731 games, Francis recorded 549 goals, and 1,249 assists for a career total of 1,798 points.
Francis had three 100 point seasons, with his best coming in 1996 where he recorded 119 points in his 27 goals, and 92 assists.
The four time all-star won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991, and 1992, along with the Selke Trophy in 1995, and the Lady Byng Trophy in 1995, 1998, and 2002.
Ron Francis would lead the 2002 Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Finals, and was awarded the King Clancy Trophy; however the Hurricanes would be defeated by the Red Wings.
9. Bryan Trottier:
Bryan Trottier was drafted 22nd overall in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders.
The Saskatchewan native played a total of 1,279 games, and scored 524 goals, and 901 assists for 1,425 total points.
Trottier was awarded the Calder Trophy in 1976 as rookie of the year, and would go on to win four consecutive Stanley Cups with the Islanders from 1980-1983, and back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991, and 1992.
The nine time all-star had six 100 point seasons, including 1979 where he recorded 134 points in his 47 goals, and 87 assists.
Individually Trottier was awarded the Art Ross, and Hart Memorial in 1979, along with the Conn Smythe as playoff’s MVP in 1980, and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1989.
Representing Canada, Bryan Trottier played in the 1975 World Junior Championships, and then the 1981, and 1984 Canada Cups, where he would win Silver and Gold respectively.
8. Ray Bourque:
From Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Bourque was drafted 8th overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft.
Ray Bourque was also a part of the gold winning 1981, 1984, and 1987 Canada Cup teams.
Playing in 1,612 games, the Defenseman scored 410 goals, and 1,169 assists for 1,579 points.
Bourque would be awarded the Norris Trophy as best defenseman in the league in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, and 1994.
The 19 time all-star, had four 90 point seasons, was awarded the King Clancy in 1992, and Lester Patrick in 2003.
As the Calder Trophy winner in 1980, I’m sure Ray Bourque did not expect to have to wait until 2001 to finally get his hands on the Stanley Cup, winning his first and only cup with the Colorado Avalanche.
7. Joe Sakic:
From Burnaby, British Columbia, Joe Sakic recorded 1,641 career total points with his 625 goals, and 1,016 assists.
Sakic’s best seasons were 1996, and 2001.
In 1996 Sakic recorded 120 points with his 51 goals, and 69 assists, won his first Stanley Cup with the Avalanche, and was awarded the Conn Smythe as playoff’s MVP.
In 2001, Sakic added his second Stanley Cup to his resume with Colorado, along with the Ted Lindsay, Lady Byng, and Hart Memorial Trophy, and recorded 54 goals, and 64 assists for 118 points.
The 13 time all-star also represented Canada extremely well.
In 1988 Sakic won gold for Canada in the World Junior Championships, in 1996 he won silver in the World Cup, and in 2004 he won gold in the World Cup.
Sakic would also win silver in the 1991 World Championships, and gold in the 1994 World Championships.
Most impressively, Joe Sakic won an Olympic Gold Medal in 2002 for Canada.
6. Paul Coffey:
Defenseman Paul Coffey was drafted sixth overall in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers.
Coffey would play in 1,409 games, and would score 396 goals, and 1,135 assists for 1,531 points, and finish his career with a plus-minus of plus-298.
The Weston, Ontario native won the Norris Trophy in 1985, and 1986 with Edmonton, and in 1995 with Detroit.
Coffey was a part of four Stanley Cup teams, 1984, 1985, and 1987 with Edmonton, and 1991 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 14 time all-star also had five 100 point seasons, his best seasons being 1986 where he recorded 138 points, and 1984 where he scored 40 goals, and 86 assists.
Representing Canada, Coffey won gold in the Canada Cup in 1984, 1987, and 1991, along with silver in the 1996 World Cup.
5. Mike Bossy:
The Montreal native was drafted 15th overall in the 1977 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, and would only play in 752 games due to injuries.
However, despite his drastically shortened career, Bossy would record 573 goals, and 553 assists for 1,126 points, and a plus-minus of plus-380.
Only playing in ten seasons, Bossy had seven 100 point seasons, five 60 goal seasons, and a record nine consecutive 50 goal seasons.
His best coming in 1982 where he recorded 147 points in his 64 goals, and 83 assists.
Bossy was awarded the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1978, and the Lady Byng Trophy in 1983, 1984, and 1986.
The goal scorer was also an instrumental part in the Islanders four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980-1983, even being awarded the Conn Smythe in 1982 as playoff’s MVP.
Most impressively, Mike Bossy set the stage for 50 goals in 50 games, when he did just that in 1981.
4. Steve Yzerman:
Drafted fourth overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, Yzerman would play in 1,514 games, and would record 1,755 points with his 692 goals, and 1,063 assists.
Individually, Steve Yzerman won the Ted Lindsay Award, and Lester Pearson Award in 1989, the Selke Trophy in 2000, the Bill Masterston Award in 2003, and the Lester Patrick in 2006.
The ten time all-star won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, 1998, and 2002, along with the Conn Smythe in 1998.
The Cranbrook, British Columbia native had six 100 point seasons, including 1989 where he scored 65 goals, and 90 assists for 155 points, and 1990 where he recorded 127 points between his 62 goals, and 65 assists.
Yzerman also had five 50 goal seasons over the course of his career.
Representing Canada, Yzerman’s resume is impressive.
In 1983 he won bronze in the World Junior Championships, in 1984 he won gold in the Canada Cup, in 1985, and 1989 he won silver in the World Cup, along with fourth place in the 1990 World Cup, and silver in the 1996 World Championships.
Steve Yzerman was also a key role in Canada’s 2002 Olympic Gold medal team.
3. Mark Messier:
The Edmonton native played in 1,756 games, and recorded 694 goals, and 1,193 assists for 1,887 points.
Messier also had a plus-minus rating of plus-211, and had six 100 point seasons, his best being 1990 where he scored 45 goals, and 84 assists for 129 points.
The 15 time all-star won six Stanley Cups, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990 with the Oilers, and 1994 where he captained the New York Rangers to their first cup in 54 years.
Individually, Messier was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, and Lester B. Pearson Award in both 1990, and 1992, and the Conn Smythe Award in the Oilers first Stanley Cup in 1984.
Representing Canada Messier won gold in the 1984, 1987, and 1991 Canada Cups, silver in the 1989 World Championships, and silver in the 1996 World Cup.
2. Mario Lemieux:
Another Montreal native who’s career was cut drastically short due to injuries, however Lemieux still was able to cement his legacy as one of the greatest of all-time.
Playing in 915 games, Mario Lemieux scored 690 goals, and 1,033 assists for 1,723 points.
Lemieux’s best season was in 1989 where he recorded 199 points in his 85 goals, and 114 assists.
The ten time all-star, also had ten 100 point seasons.
Lemieux would lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991, and 1992, winning the Conn Smythe both years.
He would also win the Art Ross six times (1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997), the Ted Lindsay four times (1986, 1989, 1993, 1996), the Hart Memorial Trophy three times (1988, 1993, 1996), the Lester Patrick Award in 2000, and the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1985.
Representing Canada, Lemieux played on the some of the greatest teams to ever to take the ice.
In 1983 Lemieux won bronze in the World Junior Championships, in 1985 he won silver in the World Cup, gold in the 1987 Canada Cup, an Olympic Gold medal in the 2002 Olympics, and gold in the 2004 World Cup
1. Wayne Gretzky:
Born in Brantford, Ontario, Wayne Gretzky is the greatest player of all-time.
Playing in 1,487 games, The Great One scored 894 goals, and 1,963 assists for 2,857 points, and a plus-minus of plus-520.
Individually Gretzky simply dominated the 1980s, and early 1990s.
Gretzky was awarded the Art Ross ten times as the league’s leader in points (1981-1987 EDM, 1990, 1991, and 1994 LAK), the Hart Memorial Trophy nine times as league’s MVP (1980-1987 EDM, 1989 LAK), the Ted Lindsay Award and Lady Byng Award each five times, and the Lester Patrick Award in 1994.
Stat wise, no one even comes close to him.
Wayne Gretzky had fourteen 100 point seasons, and even four 200 point seasons.
Add to it four 70 goal seasons, his best scoring season coming in 1982 where he scored 92 goals, a record still to this day, one that’ll never be broken in my opinion.
However, this wasn’t even Gretzky’s best season statistically.
In 1986 Gretzky scored 52 goals, and 163 assists for 215 points.
Gretzky also led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cups in five years, winning in 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988.
He would be awarded the Conn Smythe in 1985, and 1988.
Representing Canada, Gretzky won bronze in the 1978 World Junior Championships, bronze in the 1982 World Cup, silver in the 1996 World Cup.
In the Canada Cup, Gretzky won gold in 1984, 1987, and 1991, and won silver in 1981.
Gretzky: www.oilersnation.com www.timetotoast.com
Lemieux: www.hockeycentral.com www.youtube.com
Messier: www.hhof.com www.mydailynews.com
Yzerman: www.sportsnet.ca www.twitter.com
Bossy: www.si.com www.pinterest.com
Coffey: www.pinterest.com www.ebay.com
Sakic: www.canadianolympiccommittee.com www.hhof.com
Bourque: www.habseyesontheprize.com www.NESN.com
Trottier: www.NHL.com www.amazon.com
Francis: www.ebay.com www.hhof.com
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