Montreal Canadiens: Five Best American Players To Suit Up For Habs

INGLEWOOD, CA - JUNE 16, 1990: Chris Chelios #24 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo By Bernstein Associates/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - JUNE 16, 1990: Chris Chelios #24 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo By Bernstein Associates/Getty Images) /
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The Montreal Canadiens have had plenty of great players from the United States. Here are the top five.

The Montreal Canadiens best players of all-time are mostly from Canada. While their top goal scorer, Maurice Richard and highest point scorer, Guy Lafleur, as well as their best goaltenders, Jacques Plante and Patrick Roy are all from the same province they played the bulk of their careers, not all Habs stars have come from Quebec.

They have had great players from all across Canada. Carey Price and Shea Weber are from the western parts of the country. Ken Dryden and Larry Robinson were born in Ontario. Bobby Smith was born in Nova Scotia.

There have been great players suit up for the Habs from all across the globe. Mats Naslund became one of the first stars from Europe when the Swedish winger scored 612 points in 617 games with the Canadiens throughout the 1980’s. That paved the way for Andrei Markov, Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu and Tomas Plekanec to play huge roles in the city of Montreal in the 1990’s and 2000’s.

By their centennial season, the team had Cristobal Huet from France, Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn from Belarus, Jaroslav Halak from Slovakia, Plekanec, Roman Hamrlik and Robert Lang from Czech Republic. Koivu from Finland, Markov and Kovalev from Russia, a handful of Canadians, and Chris Higgins, Mike Komisarek and Mathieu Schneider from the United States.

Today being July 4, which is Independence Day in the United States, it seemed appropriate to shine a light on the players from just south of the border to Quebec. While they have had contributions from literally all over the globe, the Canadiens would not have been able to win their last two Stanley Cups without huge contributions from American born players.

John LeCalir’s two overtime winning goals in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993 and Schneider’s excellent play were huge factors in the team’s last Cup win. Chris Chelios was a huge part of the 1986 Cup winning team while Chris Nilan and Craig Ludwig played important depth roles.

Without those Americans, the Canadiens might not have won a Stanley Cup since 1979. Back then, the NHL was mostly made up of Canadian players, but the American’s have been closing that gap since they won “The Miracle On Ice” in 1980 by taking down the Soviet Union in the Winter Olympics. popularity in the sport has grown rapidly in the country and today, if there was a best on best between Canada and the United States today, it would be a coin flip.

Currently, the Canadiens are fortunate to have Jeff Petry in their lineup, and have a number of great prospects from America, like Cayden Primeau, Ryan Poehling, Jayden Struble, Jordan Harris and Rhett Pitlick.

In honour of Independence Day, let’s take a look at the five best players from the United States in the history of the Montreal Canadiens.