The Next Great American NHL Players
As Mike Modano's star fades, Calder frontrunner Kane emerges as the most likely flag bearer for American hockey. (Sorry, Paul Stastny is not included here because, like Brett Hull, he spent his formative years in Canada and is American by choice.) Though not as big or fast as Modano, the 19-year-old Kane is blessed with the kind of unteachable hockey sense and natural scoring ability that set him up to become an elite offensive weapon.
Who says hockey players have to be reserved? DiPietro, 26, is the poster boy for the American invasion of the NHL. Talented, aggressive and supremely confident, DiPietro has the tools to dominate on the ice and the personality to become one of the game's key marketing options.
The Devils have never graduated a forward to the Hall of Fame, but Parise, 23, could be the first. In just his second year the gritty center led the team with 31 goals last season, then found another explosive gear in the playoffs, suggesting great things to come.
Part of an impressive rebuilding campaign in Los Angeles, Brown could emerge as his generation's answer to Hall of Famer Clark Gillies. Strong on the puck and bullish around the net, he has stepped up as one of the game's most effective power forwards at just 22.
The Blues are handling the top pick of the 2006 draft with kid gloves, limiting his exposure as he learns the game. But those who have watched him surely recognize the Prongerian nature of his skills, and his flair for the dramatic -- his first two goals this season were game-winners.
If bloodlines are any indication, Suter, 22, has it made. The son of 1980 Olympian Bob Suter and the nephew of longtime NHLer Gary Suter carries on the family tradition with a booming shot and a nasty physical game that will make him a staple of U.S. international sides for the next decade.
There may not be another goalie who matches Miller's mastery of technique. What the 27-year-old lacks in flash, he makes up for with a tireless attention to detail that has allowed him to emerge as one of the most successful stoppers of the post-lockout era.
From the moment he burst into the spotlight with a star-making performance at the 2006 World Junior Championships, Johnson radiated potential. A punishing hitter with the offensive upside to quarterback the power play, he looks like the 2.0 version of Chris Chelios.
He hasn't yet lived up to the early hype that labeled him as America's answer to Sidney Crosby, but Kessel is an outstanding offensive talent. Blessed with Brett Hull's uncanny release and Pat LaFontaine's speed and tenacity, Kessel, 20, looks like a perennial top-10 scorer.
If Sidney Crosby is this generation's Wayne Gretzky, Whitney will be his Paul Coffey. The 24-year-old is a gifted two-way defender who brings leadership skills and a strong physical presence along with natural offensive ability to Pittsburgh's blueline. He'll be the workhorse of the U.S. Olympic squad in Vancouver.