Norwegian would: Espen Knutsen is our pick for Norway's greatest NHL player.
To date, players born in 40 different countries have appeared in NHL contests. Using the current definitions and geographic partitions recognized by the United Nations, here is my list of the greatest NHL player born in each of the countries represented. Debate is encouraged, but not required:
AUSTRIA: Thomas Vanek
The third-year winger has scored 142 points in his first 177 games, including a 43-goal campaign for the Sabres last season.
BELARUS: Ruslan Salei
The ninth overall pick of the 1996 draft (by Anaheim), the bruising Panthers defenseman is still dishing the hits in his 11th season.
BELGIUM: Jan Benda
If you blinked, you missed Benda, who played nine games for the Capitals in 1997-98, recording no goals, but three sparkling assists that some people are still talking about.
BRAZIL: Robyn Regehr
The son of missionaries is now a mainstay of the Calgary Flames defense, just what the Lord intended.
BRUNEI: Craig Adams
The low-scoring winger raised the Cup in his fifth season with the Hurricanes. Fun fact to know and tell: His father, Mike, worked for Shell Oil when Brunei was a British protectorate.
CANADA: Wayne Gretzky
Sorry Gordie, Bobby, Mario and Maurice. He's the Great One.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Dominik Hasek
The netminding institution's six Vezinas and two Harts trump Jaromir Jagr's five Rosses and one Hart.
DENMARK: Poul Popeil
Not a particularly great Dane, but still the best of the bunch, this dogged defenseman scored 13 goals in seven seasons (1965-72) while bouncing among the Bruins, Kings, Wings, Canucks and Oilers before settling down with the Houston Aeros of the WHA for five years.
ENGLAND: Ken Hodge
The former All-Star who potted 328 goals in 880 games for the Blackhawks, Bruins and Rangers (1964-78) was a sticky wicket pick over Steve Thomas and Byron Dafoe.
FINLAND: Jari Kurri
Gretzky's sidekick as well as Finland's all-time leading scorer netted 601 goals and was solid defensively, too.
FRANCE: Paul MacLean
His father served abroad in the Canadian Armed Forces and Paul came into the world in beautiful Grostenquin in 1958. The 1985 All-Star forward posted three 40-goal seasons for the Winnipeg Jets in the '80s and a pair of 30s for the Red Wings.
GERMANY: Walt Tkaczuk
His Ukranian father, Mike, moved coal in a German labor camp before the family emigrated to Ontario in 1949. The center played all 15 of his NHL seasons with the Rangers, scoring 227 goals and 678 points.
HAITI: Claude Vilgrain
His father, Alix, was on business in Port-au-Prince when Claude showed up. Raised in Quebec City, the winger split five seasons with the Canucks, Devils and Flyers, enjoying a career-best 19-goal, 46-point campaign in 1991-92 for New Jersey.
INDONESIA: Richie Regehr
The older blueline brother of Robyn made a brief appearance in Calgary (20 games) the past two seasons, scored four points (enough to claim his place as his birth nation's all-time leader), and is now toiling in Frankfurt, Germany.
ITALY: Nelson DeBendet
His family name was Debenedetto before it was shortened, most likely to spare Nelson bouts of writer's cramp while signing autographs. The defenseman had cups of coffee in Detroit and Pittsburgh in the mid-'70s.
JAMAICA: Graeme Townshend
And you thought Jamaica only had a bobsled team. The winger's family moved to Canada when he was two, and he later played 45 NHL games for the Bruins, Islanders and Senators, sprinkled between 1989 and 1994.
KAZAKHSTAN: Evgeni Nabokov
The Sharks netminder won the 2001 Calder Trophy and has posted three 30-win seasons with a career 2.43 GAA. That's good enough for us.
KOREA: Richard Park
When his family moved from Seoul, South Korea, to L.A., they enrolled the now 10th-year Islanders center in figure skating and he rewarded them by breaking into the NHL with the Penguins in 1995. (Kim Jung Il has not been especially keen on letting people out of the northern half of Korea.)
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