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  • 11/30/2011, 01:59PM ET

Best European Country for developing NHL talent -Grue's NBAT

Mitch Cumstien (29-10-5) vs Argos. (183-101-29)
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Good luck Argos!

This TD is for Grue's NBAT

So obviously the best country for developing NHL talent is the great white north. This TD, however, excludes Canada and North America as a whole. So this only really leaves us with a few choices. I will go out on a limb here and say:

The Best European Country for developing NHL Talent is - Sweden

Currently 76.1% of the NHL players' nationalities represent Canada and the United States. This leaves a mere 23.9% for the rest of the world. Of that Sweden contributes the highest % at 7.2%. In True numbers this is 392-CAN 165-US 53-SWE

Now, I do not intend to say that pure numbers is the only reason why Sweden is my choice. Sweden has contributed some of the games top players as well. As of 2010 TSN rated the top 50 players in the NHL, and outside of US and Canada, Sweden had the highest number of players represented on that list with 8.

Flat out there is no European country that comes close to the output of Sweden when it comes to NHL Talent. I do not deny that there are some big named players and even NHL legends that have arrived from other Euro nations, but no nation has provided the overall talent Sweden has.


Russia has taken a hit with NHL talent in recent years with the development of the KHL. However, they are still the best hockey nation outside of Canada. We have agreed that Russia does qualify for this.

First, the up to date TSN rankings (2011-2012 version) has Sweden with 7 players, which still out numbers Russia's 4 (down from 6). However, Russia has 3 in the top 25 (most of any nation outside of NA), and 2 in the top 3!

Due to the KHL, there may be more Swede's now, but in terms of quality, the Russians still win.

If you look at NHL goal scoring since the lockout, a Russian has lead it twice and finished in the top ten in scoring 12 times. A Swede has yet to lead the league in goal scoring, and since the lockout only 4 times.

In terms of points, both the Russians and Swedes have had 2 league leaders in points, but the Russians have had 12 top ten finishes, compared to Sweden's 10.

Russia has also won 2 Hart's to Sweden's 1 since the lockout.


Russia's top end NHL talent of Ovie, Datsyuk, Malkin, Semin, Kovalchuk, Markov, Gonchar, etc. can only be matched by Canada.


Next argument, I'll talk historically & international play.


Starting out I need to correct one of your facts you have listed. You state that Russia's 3 in the top 25 is the most of any nation outside of NA, however Sweden has 4 in the top 15 (D. Sedin-4, H. Sedin-5, Lidstrom-12, Zetterberg-15Here)

Russia does have some solid talent, but it is rather top heavy with Ovie, and Datsyuk at 2-3. After that it tapers off a bit. Even with that said:

As it stands right now Swedish players have accounted for 371 pts in the NHL this year, while Russia has only 191. Among active players career totals Sweden has accounted for 7958 while Russia accounts for 4317. It isn't even close.

Another big factor why Sweden should be recognized as the top Euro country for NHL talent is Captaincies.

Currently Sweden holds 3 captain positions in the NHL most of any nation not named US or Canada. Russia holds one, and even that one the alternate captain to Ovie is Backstrom. When you start talking historical, this fact it gets even more separated. Sweden was the first country outside of US/CAN to hold a captain position with Mats Sundin, and the position was held by a Swede 7 times, by Russians 2.

Next historical.


First off, of course Swedish players are gonna have more all-time points. Swedish hockey players started to come to the NHL in the early 70's, and by the late 70's there was a ton of great Swedes.

Russians on the other hand had to stay in USSR, and the first Russian hockey player didn't come until 1988. Even then, the first Russian defector didn't come until 1989 (Alex Mogilny). Players weren't allowed to leave the USSR and come to the NHL without being a defector until the Soviet Collapse.

However, lets compare the all-time per game stats, for all players (not just active).

Goals Per Game:
Russians - .205
Swedes - .182

Points Per Game:
Russians - .528
Swedes - .545

Swedish players have played close to 14,000 more games in the NHL. However, they've barely scored 1000 more goals, and have an advantage of just over 6000 more points.

Some of the greatest players of all-time, and most talented, guys like Pavel Bure, Sergi Federov, Alex Mongilny, & Alex Kovalev are all Russians.

However, many of the best Russians, players like Tretiak, Fetisov, & Kharlamov never even got a chance because of politics.

Russia has better quality players.


This TD is about NHL talent, to speculate how Tretiak, Fetisov and others WOULD have done is dangerous. Not everybody translates to the NHL play style. The fact is we can only talk those that actually played.

You contradict yourself in your own argument. You use PPG and GPG, but then say that the Sweds have over 14,000 more games. More games played tends to drive down averages, take US and CAN as examples, Their Per-Game averages have them no higher than 11th on either list due to the sheer number of games played.

Looking at the "some of the greatest" list you provided, let's compare them against "some of the greatest" that Sweden has provided.

RUS Federov 1179pts .945PPG
SWE Sundin 1349pts 1.002PPG

RUS Mogilny 1032pts 1.042PPG
SWE Alfredsson 1034pts .962PPG

RUS Kovalev 1024pts .784PPG (not a D-man)
SWE Lidstrom 1125pts .742PPG (and he is a D-man)

RUS Bure 779pts 1.110PPG
SWE Forsberg 885pts 1.250PPG

Comparing the top players you have listed with the top Swed players it's not close.

When all is said and done, Sweden not Russia holds the title of "Best Euro nation for developing NHL talent"

Great TD and good luck.


This is on NHL talent, and we all know that guys like Tretiak (who is arguably the greatest goalie EVER) had more than enough talent to succeed in the NHL, but due to politics couldn't.

I don't know why you compare the players randomly in your argument. However, if you wish to do so, I can say my players were more dominate. All of the four Russians you mentioned at one point or another finished top 5 in goals and points in a season. None of your players, not even Forsberg, were ever top 5 in goals and points in a single season.


Lets talk goaltending. Sweden has only ever produced 1 good goalie (Lundqvist) and has only ever had 2 starting goalies in the NHL (Tommy Salo the other). In fact, Lundqvist in the only Swedish goalie ever to post a SV% above .905 with at least 60 games played. Russia has produced 5.

Among those five include all-star and Cup winner Nikolai Khabibulin, and Vezina runner-ups Nabokov and Bryzgalov.

Russia clearly has produced better NHL-talent goalies, even if you don't include Tretiak.


Russia has always been a hockey power, and has always been the #2 country in hockey after Canada. They are the best Euro nation for developing NHL talent.

Comment #1 has been removed
November 30, 2011  02:05 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

Would be my choice as well.

There are 2 others that could be argued reasonably here. Should be a good TD though.

Comment #3 has been removed
November 30, 2011  02:08 PM ET

We are including Russia in this conversation, right?

November 30, 2011  02:10 PM ET

If only it was still Czechoslovakia...

November 30, 2011  02:10 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

We are including Russia in this conversation, right?

You can include California for all I care. It's up to you to define and support.

November 30, 2011  02:13 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

You can include California for all I care. It's up to you to define and support.

I just wanna check with Sweetness first.

November 30, 2011  02:14 PM ET

Sweden would have been my choice as well. I only see 2 other possible choices.

November 30, 2011  02:18 PM ET

Dang, the highest scoring Russian this year sits 42nd in points.

November 30, 2011  02:22 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

We are including Russia in this conversation, right?

I thought about making it near impossible by saying only European countries... but in order to make this fair I will say that Russia is acceptable as well.

November 30, 2011  02:24 PM ET

I would advise putting in your arg that we agreed on Russia, if you use them, just so you don't get voters against you on that principal. People don't allways read the comments before voting. hell people don't allways read args before voting...

November 30, 2011  02:32 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

I would advise putting in your arg that we agreed on Russia, if you use them, just so you don't get voters against you on that principal. People don't allways read the comments before voting. hell people don't allways read args before voting...

That's fine, but stretching further east than Moscow might get questionable. I don't know how many stars come from Kiev or Vladivostok, but that probably goes against the spirit of the TD.

Comment #13 has been removed
November 30, 2011  02:35 PM ET
QUOTE(#12):

That's fine, but stretching further east than Moscow might get questionable. I don't know how many stars come from Kiev or Vladivostok, but that probably goes against the spirit of the TD.

Kiev is in Ukraine. But I agree.

November 30, 2011  02:36 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

Good point. Vote right.

hahaha what about if I sold myself and said go pack go as well? then would you vote for me? I'll even use !!!!! (5) of these as opposed to argos' 4!

Comment #16 has been removed
Comment #17 has been removed
November 30, 2011  02:52 PM ET
QUOTE(#9):

Dang, the highest scoring Russian this year sits 42nd in points.

There is a ton from breakaway USSR countries, but not many from Russia.

November 30, 2011  03:11 PM ET

Basically, this is going to turn into the Sedins, Zetterberg, and Lidstrom against Datsyuk, Ovie, and Malkin

 
November 30, 2011  03:13 PM ET
QUOTE(#19):

Basically, this is going to turn into the Sedins, Zetterberg, and Lidstrom against Datsyuk, Ovie, and Malkin

I see no reason why it has to be limited to 2011.

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