New York has grown to become one of the biggest hotspots in the world. The state boasts three NHL teams, eight total Stanley Cups, and one of the greatest dynasties in hockey history in the 1980s New York Islanders. With all of that hockey history, they’ve had to have produced a lot of NHL players.
They have 130 to be exact, as of March 22, 2021. But we’re here to find the cream of the crop when it comes to talent from the Empire State. To do that, we must go over the best player in each position on the ice, as of right now, and build the best team possible.
Which more and more players being drafted out of New York each year, the lineup may become drastically different in the next decade, but here’s the best what the state has had to offer.
G – Jimmy Howard
Syracuse native Howard, who recently announced his retirement from the NHL, had been one of the most underrated goaltenders of the 2010s. Howard ranks 62nd all-time in wins with 246 and 100th all-time in shutouts with 24. The two-time All-Star has a career save percentage (SV%) of .912 and a goals-against-average (GAA) of 2.62.
Howard had his best season in 2012-13, where he made his first All-Star Game appearance and finished sixth in Vezina Trophy voting. He finished that season with a .923 SV% and a 2.13 GAA. He also upped his play in the playoffs that year, ending the run with a .924 SV% and a 2.44 GAA after falling to the eventual champion Chicago Blackhawks in seven games.
He was the Detroit Red Wings’ starting goaltender for seven of the 25 seasons of their NHL record playoff streak and ranks third in wins and fourth in shutouts in franchise history, fitting in quite nicely with legendary names like Terry Sawchuk, Chris Osgood, and Dominik Hasek.
D – Mathieu Schneider
Ranking 22nd all-time in points as a defenseman with 743, 15th in goals with 223 and 12th in power-play with 100, Schneider was quietly one of the greatest blueliners in NHL history. Despite ranking so high in these statistics, he has not yet been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The two-time All-Star played in the NHL for 21 seasons, suiting up in 1,289 games. He played for 10 different teams, playing his first eight years with the Montreal Canadiens. He won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1993 and made a couple of deep playoff runs with the Red Wings.
Schneider’s best season came in 2005-06 when he scored 21 goals and 59 points in 71 games and finished sixth in Norris Trophy voting.
D – Charlie McAvoy
As the youngest entry on this list, McAvoy has already proven to be one of the best defensemen in today’s game. The Long Beach native has 65 points in 212 career games and has been a part of some very good Boston Bruins teams in his four-year career.
Ever since he burst on to the scene in the 2017-18 season, McAvoy has been one of the best two-way defensemen in the NHL. In his rookie season, he scored seven goals and 32 points in 63 games and finished fifth in Calder Trophy voting.
In the next season, McAvoy was a part of the Bruins team that lost in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final to the St. Louis Blues. He had six points in 23 games during that span and played big minutes, averaging over 24 minutes on the ice per game.
His magnum opus thus far has been his shortened 2019-20 campaign, where he totaled 32 points in 67 games and finished 10th in Norris Trophy voting. With Zdeno Chara and Torrey Krug gone via free agency, McAvoy has now become the face of the Bruins’ defense.
C – Craig Conroy
In 1,009 career games, Craig Conroy scored 182 goals and 542 points, which is the most by any New York-born center. He is best known for his time with the Calgary Flames, as he spent nine years of his 16-year career in Western Canada.
Conroy was known as a very good two-way forward receiving a vote for the Selke Trophy in 10 of his 16 seasons in the league. The highest he finished in Selke voting was when he finished second in 2001-02. In that season, he also had the best season of his career, netting 27 goals and 75 points.
He was also a part of the 2003-04 Flames team that lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Tampa Bay Lighting. During that playoff run, Conroy scored six goals and 17 points in 26 games.
LW – Erik Cole
Cole made a name for himself as one of the crucial pieces of a Carolina Hurricanes team that won the Stanley Cup in the 2005-06 season. During that season, he scored 30 goals and 59 points in 60 games in the regular season. He only played two games in the playoffs due to injury.
In total, Cole scored 265 goals and 532 points in 892 games. The Oswego-native was thought to be one of the best goal-scoring power forwards of the 2000s, ranking 10th all-time in points as a Carolina Hurricane with 363.
What most people don’t know about Cole is that he actually had his best season as a Montreal Canadien, scoring 35 goals and 61 points in a full 82 game season.
RW – Patrick Kane
This man needs no introduction, his numbers speak for themselves. With 401 goals and 1,064 points in 1,005 career games, three Stanley Cups, a Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy on his resume, Kane is easily one of the greatest American-born players in NHL history, which makes him a shoo-in for this list.
The fact that the decision to put Kane on this list over Hall of Fame right winger Joe Mullen was this easy says everything you need to know about how good he is. In fact, he just passed Mullen to become the highest scoring New York-born player, and he accomplished that feat in just under 60 fewer games.
The iconic moments of Kane’s career are plentiful: the overtime winner that won the Blackhawks the first of their three Stanley Cups, the goal that sealed the third of their three Stanley Cups in the 2010s against the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015, the list goes on.
Kane currently ranks sixth in points scored by an American-born player, just one point behind Keith Tkachuk, and he is quickly climbing up the list. He was also the first American-born player to win the Art Ross Trophy. The list of accolades goes on and on, as he is the undisputed leader of the All-Time New York Team.
There are plenty of young New Yorkers who can challenge Kane for the throne within the next couple of decades, however. From Trevor Zegras to Joel Farabee, New Yorkers will continue to make their mark on the NHL.
Colby Guy is a writer for the Florida Panthers department here at THW. He’s a junior at Florida Atlantic University and currently serves as the Editor In Chief for the school’s newspaper, the University Press. Previously, Colby has written for FanSided as a New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, and Nashville Predators writer.
Colby grew up an Islanders fan and had season tickets before moving to Florida.