Top American NHL Players: Tkachuk Brothers Among U.S.-Born Players Lighting the Lamp

Tage Thompson and Jason Robertson Both On Pace for 50-Goal Season

Injuries Have Taken Hughes, Matthews and Caufield Out of 50-Goal Contention

When Bobby Carpenter became the first American-born player to score 50 goals during the regular season in the NHL during the 1984-85 season and Neal Broten became the first U.S. product to top 100 points the following season, they were viewed as the exception rather than the rule. They set the table for top American NHL players to come at a time when the league was still dominated by Canadian-born products.

There were 20 years between the time when Doug Weight posted his only 100-point season and Patrick Kane hit that mark for the first time.

The 1992-93 season was viewed as a breakthrough when Craig Janney, Pat Lafontaine, Jeremy Roenick and Kevin Stevens all topped 100 points with Lafontaine, Roenick and Stevens hitting the 50-goal mark as well. It was the only time in NHL history that four U.S.-born players had 100 points in the same season and three of them had 50 goals or more.

Piling Up Points

Matthew Tkachuk can join Jimmy Carson, Jeremy Roenick and Kevin Stevens as the only players born in the U.S. to have more than 100 points in back-to-back seasons. He leads the list of top American NHL players.

He is on pace for 40 goals and 109 points in his first season with the Florida Panthers. He was the key piece in a huge trade that saw his time in Calgary come to an end after six seasons.

Tkachuk leads the NHL with 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 19 games since the start of January as the Panthers are just a point out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. He has eight multi-point games during that stretch.

His younger brother Brady isn’t scoring at the same pace, however, the leading scorer for the Ottawa Senators could make a run at a 90-point season.

Youth is Served

Tage Thompson of the Buffalo Sabres and Jason Robertson of the Dallas Stars displayed their potential over the last couple of seasons. However, it has really come together for the two young stars who are emerging among the top American NHL players.

Thompson has already topped his point total from last season and at his current pace he would finish with 55 goals and 54 assists. Robertson, selected 13 spots after Thompson in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, had career-highs of 41 goals, 38 assists and 79 points a season ago. At his current rate of production, he would finish with 50 goals and 55 points.

Thompson is fourth at +1300 and Robertson fifth at +3000 in the odds to win the Rocket Richard Trophy, which is presented annually to the NHL goal scorers. Robertson (+2000) is fourth in the Hart Memorial Trophy odds.

Thompson’s linemate Alex Tuch is very quietly on pace for 87 points as he is out-producing Jack Eichel. Tuch was a key piece of the deal that sent Eichel from Buffalo to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Thriving North of The Border

Who would have thought that Winnipeg would be the NHL franchise getting the most production from U.S.-born products.

Not only is winger Kyle Connor leading the team with 24 goals and 60 points as he has an outside chance to record his first 100-point season, but four of the top eight scorers for the Jets are Americans. Blake Wheeler has 14 goals and 26 assists, followed by Adam Lowry (seven goals and 18 assists) and defenseman Neal Pionk (seven goals, 15 assists).

What Might Have Been

Injuries have kept this from being the most prolific season for Americans in the NHL.

Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils was on pace to top 50 goals and 100 points. However, he is listed as week-to-week on the injury report so that will not happen.

A healthy Auston Matthews is always a threat to score at least 50 goals. He has missed the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ last five games so he will not be approaching the numbers he put up last season. Cole Caufield was on pace to score 46 goals for the Montreal Canadiens. However, he was lost for the season with a shoulder injury.

Who’s Next?

Matty Beniers of the Seattle Kraken is the current front-runner in the odds to win the Calder Trophy. He is on pace to finish with 27 goals and 30 assists.

Clayton Keller gets forgotten at time playing in Arizona, but he is on pace for a 30-goal and a 75-point season. When looking at the NHL player stats, Adam Fox of the New York Rangers and Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks are tied for the fifth-most points among defensemen.

Ottawa’s Drake Batherson has slowed down a bit after a strong run in December when he had seven goals and 11 assists in 14 games.

Defenseman Luke Hughes has 75 points in 71 games for the University of Michigan and it seems like just a matter of time before he joins his older brother Jack with the New Jersey Devils.

The forwards aren’t having all the fun as Jake Oettinger of the Dallas Stars and Jeremy Swayman of NHL-leading Boston Bruins rank third and sixth among goals-against leaders this season.
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