Rink Ramblings: U.S. Born Players
Nick Nickson looks at the top U.S. born defensemen and goaltenders to play for the Kings
The number of NHL players from the U.S. has risen considerably over the last 20 years and they're coming from all over... from Massachusetts to Minnesota to California and to Alaska. To start this season the Kings had no fewer than nine U.S. born players (of the 23 on the roster).
This year's edition of the Kings features players from Michigan (Matt Greene, Scott Parse and Alec Martinez); New York (Dustin Brown and Rob Scuderi); Utah (Trevor Lewis); Indiana (Jack Johnson); Connecticut (Jonathan Quick) and Wisconsin (Davis Drewiske).
Since the United States is so well represented in the Kings black and silver it prompted us to come up with our all-time U.S. born Kings team.
There were two ways we could go about putting together the Stars and Stripes team. We could select players based on how their overall NHL career went no matter how many games they played for the Kings, or we could pick the squad based on their contributions while just with the Kings. We opted for the latter so a player like Neal Broten, one of the best U.S. players of all-time, doesn't qualify because he played only 19 games for the Kings.
In building our team we chose players to fit specific roles, much like you would build a team today. It's a 23-man roster that includes 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies. Here we go!
Jonathan Quick (Milford, CT) is our No. 1 and Bob Janecyk (Chicago, IL) is our back-up. All Quick has done in his three-plus seasons with the Kings is set or tie over a dozen Kings goaltending records and he is on pace to possibly become the greatest goalie in Kings history. Janecyk played parts of five seasons with the Kings beginning in 1984-85. His best season was his rookie year in 1984-85 when his record was 22-21-8. In his Kings career he finished with 41 wins (10th in club history).
Our first pair is currently with this year's team...Jack Johnson (Indianapolis, ID) and Rob Scuderi (Syosset, NY). This duo has been a pair the majority of the time ever since Scuderi joined the Kings to start 2009-10. Johnson has a strong skill set that he brings to the game and is the second highest scoring U.S. born defenseman in club history while Scuderi excels in his “shut-down” role perhaps better than any other U.S. defender in club history.
Our second pair is Mathieu Schneider (New York, NY) and Aaron Miller (Buffalo, NY). Schneider is the highest scoring U.S. born defenseman in Kings history (124 points) and was a very good quarterback on the power play while Miller, who played 309 games after being acquired from Colorado in the Rob Blake trade of 2001, was a solid stay-at-home type who added a physical element to his game.
Our third pair is Gary Sargent (Red Lake, MN) and current Kings assistant captain Matt Greene (Grand Ledge, MI). Sargent was arguably the first U.S. born player in Kings history that became a regular at his position. His rookie season was the 1975-76 season and his next two seasons on the blue line saw him end up leading all Kings defensemen in scoring with 54 points (14-40=54) in 1976-77 and 41 points (7-34=41) in 1977-78. Greene brings a lot of leadership qualities to the current Kings team, plays a physical game and kills penalties. Our seventh defender is Joe Corvo (Chicago, IL). Corvo played 203 games for the Kings over three seasons beginning in 2002-03 and his shot was one of his biggest assets.