As part of my never-ending quest to look at NHL data, I recently pulled some nationality and birth state information to understand the make up of the NHL these days and how that has changed over time.
US gains while Canada declines
The growth of the game in the United States has been well documented and the trend of that growth is also starting to manifest itself in elite hockey players making it to the NHL from new regions of the country. Taking three different snapshots since 1980, you can see where the player pool is growing. There are 31 states represented this season vs just 13 states in 1980-81.
If you overlay the players on a map over time, you can see the migration south, where NHL players coming out of Arizona, Texas, and Florida are becoming the norm.
Rise of Finland and Sweden
The growth of the Americans and declines of Canadian players has been widely reported. Finland and Sweden have been producing great hockey players for a while but both countries have reached record levels of NHL players over the last two seasons.