Team rosters bulge and shrink due to injuries, players come and go briefly in various roles, but ultimately there’s 23 men in the core. This year, like last, two NHL organizations takes the cake when it comes to employing Europeans: The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Washington Capitals. Not only are the numbers the largest, the diversity is impressive as well.
If you’re out west, or a fan of western conference hockey, then the Nashville Predators or the Calgary Flames are for you, but the Eastern Conference, Metro Division Capitals and Blue Jackets fly the most flags.
We talked a bit about the Cap’s Russian captain here in Hockey Wanderlüst just a brief time ago with a look at all-time NHL records involving European leaders. Since then Alexander Ovechkin has passed Brett Hull and now works alone fourth all-time with 742 career goals. He’s 24 away from catching Czech Jaromir Jagr for third all-time.
Ovie’s countrymen in DC include Evgeny Kuznetsov, who’s second behind the “Great-8” (26) in team points with 21, defenceman Dmitry Orlov, and goaltender Ilya Samsonov.
There’s a Dane, Lars Eller, playing in his 13th NHL season after being drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 1st-round of the NHL draft in 2007. He helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup in 2018.