Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Player nationalities by position

Among NHLers who played at least one game in 2006-07:

Forwards
Canada 303 54.4%
USA 103 18.5%
Czech Rep. 38 6.8%
Sweden 27 4.8%
Russia 24 4.3%
Finland 22 3.9%
Slovakia 16 2.9%
Other 24 4.3%

557


Defencemen
Canada 153 50.8%
USA 65 21.6%
Czech Rep. 23 7.6%
Sweden 18 6.0%
Finland 11 3.7%
Russia 9 3.0%
Slovakia 7 2.3%
Other 15 5.0%

301


Goaltenders
Canada 43 51.2%
USA 14 16.7%
Finland 9 10.7%
Czech Rep. 4 4.8%
Sweden 4 4.8%
Switzerland 2 2.4%
Russia 2 2.4%
Slovakia 2 2.4%
Other 4 4.8%

84

17 Comments:

At 1:44 PM, June 13, 2007, Anonymous kwyjibo said...

so it's true about finland being the new goalie factory.

Mikka, Jussi, Kari, Niklas, Vesa, Fredrik, Hannu and Antero are breaking down barriers.

 
At 4:02 PM, June 13, 2007, Anonymous Anshu said...

It would be interesting to see this data correlated with other data, like scoring.

For example, my guess is that Swedish players might be disproportionately represented among the top scorers relative to their overall numbers. Is that true for all non-North American nationalities?

That is to say, players coming from outside North America are typically "skill" players, whereas Canada and the US contribute both "skill" players and "grinders"?

Is there even any such thing as a European "grinder", and if so, from which European country is such a player most likely to originate?

And maybe these generalizations are not as true for defencemen as they are for forwards?

 
At 4:12 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I could put something like that together. These numbers took considerably less time to do, but an average number for games played, points, PIM for each nationality wouldn't be that difficult.

 
At 4:30 PM, June 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i suspect these numbers overrepresent US and Canadian players, since I would guess (it's just a feeling) that non-North Americans are less likely to be the ones playing in 1, 2, 3, etc. game call-up stints. Perhaps a man-games per nationality breakdown would look different.

 
At 4:33 PM, June 13, 2007, Anonymous Matt Gunn said...

I'm surprised, although not entirely sure why, that the Czech's are the top european importer for forwards. I would have expected The Swedes or Russians to be leading that category.

Thanks for the interesting post, James.

 
At 4:35 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

A lot of the lower level players will be Canadian or American, for a couple of reasons. #1 is bias, as people prefer the physical North American player for the smaller roles. #2 is that they are more likely to accept a demotion to the minors. This is "every player", not every regular. A quick glance at AHL rosters will show that the European content is very low.

 
At 5:23 PM, June 13, 2007, Anonymous Matt Gunn said...

saskhab... the main reason for AHL rosters contain very few Europeans is mostly due to the fact these European players can return home and receive upwards to 10 times the amount of money they'd earn playing in the minors.

 
At 5:41 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger JavaGeek said...

Stats by country of origin.

Forwards:
Canada:
G/game = 0.20
PTS/game = 0.48
US:
G/game = 0.19
PTS/game = 0.42
Slovakia:
G/game = 0.25
PTS/game = 0.59
Czeck:
G/game = 0.22
PTS/game = 0.59
Russia:
G/game = 0.29
PTS/game = 0.67
Swedish:
G/game = 0.24
PTS/game = 0.64
Finland:
G/game = 0.21
PTS/game = 0.50

Defenseman:
Canada:
min/game = 19
PTS/game = 0.30
US:
min/game = 19
PTS/game = 0.29
Slovakia:
min/game = 22
PTS/game = 0.38
Czeck:
min/game = 21
PTS/game = 0.36
Russia:
min/game = 21
PTS/game = 0.40
Swedish:
min/game = 21
PTS/game = 0.28
Finland:
G/game = 20
PTS/game = 0.37

Goalies: (Shot quality neutral save percentage [SQN%] looks at chances rather than shots).
Canada: SQN%: 0.900
US: SQN%: 0.898
Czeck: SQN%: 0.910
Russia:
Swedish: SQN%: 0.899
Finland: SQN%: 0.904

I suspect that Finland has a number of grinders (eg. Ruutu).

James: What's your source for the nationality data?

 
At 5:44 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

NHL.com

 
At 10:11 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

I suspect that the reason the roster filler is primarily North American is exclusively economic. The talent distribution means that those last guys on the roster, the ones that will shuttle between the NHL and the AHL, are extremely plentiful. Throw a rock at a major junior team, and it would be hard to not hit three or four guys who fill that role.

Given that, there really is no incentive to look for those kinds of guys in Europe. You not only have the expense of bringing them over, but you have language issues and all sorts of little problems. Why bother? How could it possibly be worth the hassle, for either the team or the player?

I'm certain that there are lots of European grinders. They're just grinding in Europe.

 
At 3:29 AM, June 14, 2007, Anonymous berestoff said...

At a glance this data don't look correct at all.
I just counted players from my homeland and have to say that Russia was represented this season by 3 (not 2) goalies - Khabibulin, Nabokov, Bryzgalov - and at the very least by 13 (not 9) defenders - Zubov, A.Markov, D.Markov, Gonchar, Volchenkov, Kalinin, Zyuzin, Zhitnik, Tyutin, Vishnevski, Tverdovsky, Babchuk, Semenov. Kasparaitis may be counted in this list as well cos he has Russian citizenship.
I didn't even start to count Russian forwards.

 
At 9:15 AM, June 14, 2007, Anonymous Anshu said...

Interesting that American players have the lowest point per game numbers (by a fair margin) of any nationality.

I also didn't realize that the Russians would top the scoring numbers for both forwards and defence.

The next thing it would be neat to see is some kind of correlation between nationality of players and overall team success.

For example, do the Russians score a lot on losing teams? Or do they contribute to helping their team win?

Do the lower scoring Americans have a tendency to drag their team down? Or are these the grinders that help a team win, at the expense of personal glory?

 
At 9:28 AM, June 14, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Some of those players you list are listed as either Ukraine or Kazakhstan on NHL.com, including Zhitnik, Vishnevski, Babchuk and Tverdovsky.

 
At 1:52 PM, June 14, 2007, Anonymous berestoff said...

All of them were born in the USSR on the territory of modern Ukraine or Kazakhstan but moved to Russia after Soviet Union collapse.
For exaple Zhitnik played for Team Russia at 1998 Olympics and 4 worlds.

 
At 2:40 PM, June 14, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

James, just make a "Commies" section for everyone born before the collapse of Communism in the USSR.

 
At 12:58 PM, June 17, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

GavaGeek's numbers can be misleading, if one uses them to compare the relative skill level of players from each contry

The euros and US players in the NHL, are the best their countries have to offer. The Canadians on the other hand represent the best of Canada plus a lot of grinders - as has already been noted by others in this discussion. Therefore to use all players to compute averages disadvantages the Canadians.

A more appropriate analysis would be to look at the average points per game of the top 20 forwards from each country; the minutes per game of the top 10 defencemen from each country; and the shot quality save percentage of the top 4 goalies from each counntry.

This would compare the skill level of the elite players each country produces.

 
At 2:48 AM, September 07, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site has charts that show a time series of player and goalie production across nationalities.

http://www.quanthockey.com/TS/TS_PlayerNationalities.php

The only bias I can see is that Canadian players have a disproportionate number of penalty minutes compared with other nationalities.

And yes, this also confirms how the Finnish goalies began to dominate at the beginning of the Millenium.

 

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