Hockey Day in Canada is Saturday, and to celebrate NHL.com is highlighting the depth of talent from across the country by identifying the best current player from each province that had five or more players in the NHL this season.
Any current NHL player who was born in the province was eligible. We asked writers to identify the player at the top of their game right now, not the best active player from the province.
New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut and the Yukon Territory did not meet the criteria.
Here is what the NHL.com writers had to say.
Alberta — Brayden Point, F, Tampa Bay Lightning: In many ways Point is the ignition for the Lightning with his breakaway speed, tenacity on the puck and ability to drive offense. It was most evident during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when Point was second in the NHL with 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) in 23 games to help the Lightning win the Cup. Point, selected by the Lightning in the third-round pick (No. 79) of the 2014 NHL Draft, rose to prominence out of need and opportunity during the 2016-17 season, when a leg injury to captain Steven Stamkos left the Lightning in need of more offense. What separates Point from most NHL players is his skating, including his edge work, which allows him to win races and puck battles. The 24-year-old, who was born in Calgary, has become one of the most dominant forwards in the NHL. He scored 222 points (98 goals, 124 assists) in 227 games from 2017-18 to 2019-20, and leads the Lightning this season with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 12 games.
Honorable mention: Taylor Hall, F, Buffalo Sabres; Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche
— Dan Rosen, senior writer
British Columbia — Mathew Barzal, C, New York Islanders: Born in Coquitlam, Barzal has scored 220 points (64 goals, 156 assists) in 244 games since the start of the 2017-18 season, most among players born in British Columbia. This was a difficult choice between Barzal and Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price, who was born in Anahim Lake. Price is the Canadiens’ all-time leader with 352 wins, but the 33-year-old hasn’t been as consistent in recent seasons and has an .896 save percentage in eight games this season. Barzal scored an NHL career-high 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists) in 82 games in 2017-18, when he won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL, and the 23-year-old has become a more complete player during the past three seasons. He leads the Islanders this season with 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 12 games.
Honorable mention: Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens; Shea Weber, D, Canadiens
— Tom Gulitti, staff writer
Manitoba — Mark Stone, F, Vegas Golden Knights: Stone, the first Golden Knights captain, is the choice here, but the discussion would have an entirely different flavor were Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews playing; he has been out all season because of a medical issue. Stone, who was born in Winnipeg and played his minor hockey in the city, was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the sixth round (No. 178) of the 2010 NHL Draft. Since becoming a full-time NHL player in 2014-15, the 28-year-old has scored at least 20 goals in six straight seasons and his impact consistently is high because of his elite hockey sense and hands. Traded to the Golden Knights on Feb. 25, 2019, Stone has scored 400 points (152 goals, 248 assists) in 460 NHL games. He is off to another strong start this season, leading Vegas with 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) in 11 games.
Honorable mention: Duncan Keith, D, Chicago Blackhawks; Travis Zajac, F, New Jersey Devils
— Tim Campbell, staff writer
Nova Scotia — Nathan MacKinnon, F, Colorado Avalanche: I can hear Pittsburgh Penguins fans screaming at me for not selecting Sidney Crosby. There’s no doubt Crosby, who was born in Cole Harbour, is the most accomplished NHL player from Nova Scotia. But MacKinnon, who was born in Halifax, is the best player among the six from the province who have played at least one NHL game this season. The 25-year-old leads Colorado with 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 10 games this season and has scored at least 35 goals and 93 points in each of the past three seasons.
Honorable mention: Sidney Crosby, F, Pittsburgh Penguins; Brad Marchand, F, Boston Bruins
— Tracey Myers, staff writer
Ontario — Connor McDavid, F, Edmonton Oilers: Canada’s most populous province has produced more top talent than any other, and McDavid arguably is the best player in the NHL in 2020-21, let alone the top one from Ontario. The 24-year-old is a generational player who rose to prominence playing minor hockey with the York-Simcoe program, near his birthplace of Richmond Hill. Selected by the Edmonton Oilers with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid has won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP (2017); the Art Ross Trophy as NHL scoring champion (2017, 2018); and is a three-time first-team all-star (2017, 2018, 2019). He leads the NHL with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 16 games and has scored 497 points (171 goals, 326 assists) in 367 NHL games. McDavid’s average of 1.35 points per game is sixth all-time among players with at least 100 games.
Honorable mentions: Mitchell Marner, F, Toronto Maple Leafs; Mark Scheifele, F, Winnipeg Jets
— Mike Zeisberger, staff writer
Quebec — Patrice Bergeron, F, Boston Bruins: There surely is a spot reserved in the Hockey Hall of Fame for Bergeron, who was born in Ancienne-Lorette. In his 17th NHL season, Bergeron was the only choice to replace Zdeno Chara as captain of the Bruins this season. The 35-year-old is a four-time winner of the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward in the NHL (2012, 2014, 2015, 2017), and one of the most dependable face-off men in the game. Selected by Boston in the second round (No. 45) of the 2003 NHL Draft, the center continues to shine in all facets of the game. Entering the Bruins’ game at the New York Rangers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS, MSG+, NESN, NHL.TV), Bergeron has scored 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 12 games, with a face-off percentage of 61.3 percent. He has scored at least 30 goals in three straight seasons despite playing 65 games or fewer in each of them.
Honorable mention: Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Vegas Golden Knights; Jonathan Huberdeau, F, Florida Panthers
— Dave Stubbs, columnist
Saskatchewan — Brayden Schenn, F, St. Louis Blues: There is no question that San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, who was born in Aneroid, is the most accomplished active player from the province. But Schenn, who was born in Saskatoon and played his minor hockey in the city, is the best player among the 24 from the province who have played at least one NHL game this season. The 29-year-old was acquired by the Blues in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers on June 23, 2017. He has scored at least 50 points in five consecutive seasons and was a key contributor to the Blues’ Stanley Cup championship in 2019, scoring 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 26 games. Entering the Blues’ game at the Arizona Coyotes on Friday (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-A, FS-MW, NHL.TV), Schenn has scored 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 13 games.
Honorable mention: Jaden Schwartz, F, St. Louis Blues; Ryan Getzlaf. C, Anaheim Ducks
— Shawn P. Roarke, Senior Director of Editorial