The talent of BC-Born players in the NHL has always been very strong. The likes of Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Paul Kariya, and Ray Ferraro, dominated the league in their career. The current NHL BC-born players look poised for long and steady careers; where some might even become NHL greats.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 BC-born players that are competing in the 2021 NHL playoffs, and see how they are producing for their respective teams.
#10 – Colton Sissons (Nashville Predators)
Colton Sissons plays for the Nashville Predators and was born in North Vancouver, BC; drafted by Nashville back in 2012.
His early playing days began with North Vancouver Minor Hockey. This leads him to play in the BCMML for the Vancouver NW Giants in 2008/09. His 2009/10 season was spent in the BCHL with the then-Westside Warriors, and as a result, he was drafted into the WHL by the Kelowna Rockets.
The Predators grinded out a respectable record of 31-23-2; good enough for 4th in the Central division. In the regular season, Sissons contributed 15 points, 8 goals 7 assists, and a +15 rating in 54 games. Fourth in their division landed the Predators a spot in the 2021 playoffs. Their first-round series was against the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round.
The Predators lost the series 4-2 in an exciting and competitive battle. Sissons recorded 2 points in the series, 0 goals, 2 assists with a -1 rating, and 18:06 of ice time.
#9 – Tyson Barrie (Edmonton Oilers)
Tyson Barrie was born in Victoria BC and drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in 2009; playing for the Edmonton Oilers in 2021.
Barrie played his minor hockey career on Vancouver Island for the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies of the VIAHA. In 2006/07 he began his major junior career with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. He has international success as well, with silver medals at the 2011 World Junior Championships and the 2017 World Championships; along with a gold medal at the 2015 World Championships.
The Oilers finished the season with a record of 35-19-2; good for second in the North Division. They were consistently one of the top teams in the NHL throughout the regular season. In 56 games Barrie was a force for Edmonton contributing 48 points, racking up 8 goals and 40 assists with a +4 rating. Barrie led playoff BC-born players in scoring as well as the NHL for defensemen.
The Oilers qualified for the 2021 NHL playoffs and were matched up with the Winnipeg Jets in the first round. Unfortunately, they were swept at the hands of the Jets. In the four games of the series, Barrie had 1 assist with a +1 rating and averaged 30:28 of ice time.
#8 – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton Oilers)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins plays for the Edmonton Oilers and was born in Burnaby BC; drafted by the Oilers back in 2011 as the #1 overall pick.
Nugent-Hopkins is one of two BC-Born players to play minor hockey in Burnaby Winter Club. He was then eventually drafted 1st overall in the WHL Bantam Draft by the Red Deer Rebels. After getting drafted to the WHL, he went and played in the BCMML for the Vancouver NW Giants in 2008/09. His team went to the AAA Mac’s Midget Hockey Tournament where he earned tournament MVP honors.
He has a lot of international experience, however only one medal to show for it. That was a gold medal back in 2010 at the IH18 tournament. Of all BC born players in the playoffs, RNH had arguably the most accomplished early playing career
He was a key player for Edmonton this year, playing second fiddle to Mcdavid and Draisaitl but still putting up a respectable season nonetheless. RNH finished the regular season with 35 points, 16 goals, and 19 assists in 52 games with a -4 rating. In the 4 game playoff series against the Jets, RNH put up 2 points, a goal, and an assist with a -2 rating on 24:24 of ice time.
#7 – Shea Weber (Montreal Canadiens)
Shea Weber is the oldest of the BC-born players in the NHL playoffs, drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2003. In 2016, Weber was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for fellow defensemen P.K Subban. He is now the current captain for Montreal.
Weber played his minor hockey career in the Sicamous and District Minor Hockey Association. He was not selected in the WHL Bantam Draft. However, the Kelowna Rockets added him to their protected-players list in his second year of bantam hockey. After that year, he moved on to play Junior B hockey for his local team; the Sicamous Eagles of the KIJHL (Kootenay International Junior Hockey League). Weber would go on to join the Kelowna Rockets officially in 2002/03.
The international scene is well documented for Weber, with 5 gold medals and 1 silver medal. Two of the gold medals are from the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.
The Canadiens had a rollercoaster season, flipping in and out of a playoff spot. Montreal finished the season with a record of 24-21-11, securing them 4th in the division and spot in the playoffs. Dressing in 48 games this year, Weber was an anchor on the blue line. He racked up 19 points with 6 goals, 13 assists, a -4 rating, and logging 22:42 of ice time.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Canadiens were matched up with long-time rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs. The series was history in the making, as the Leafs and Canadiens hadn’t met in the playoffs since back in 1979. The Canadiens came back from a 3-1 deficit to stun Toronto in arguably the most story-filled series of the playoffs so far, winning on the road in game 7. Weber didn’t record a point in the series, however was a rock on the back end averaging roughly 25 mins of ice time.
The Canadiens swept the Winnipeg Jets, with Weber putting up two assists in the four games, and will move on to the next round.
#6 – Devon Toews (Colorado Avalanche)
Devon Toews plays for the Colorado Avalanche. He was drafted by the New York Islanders in 2014, and was born in Abbotsford BC.
Toews played minor hockey in Abbotsford, before joining the Fraser Valley Bruins of the BCMML. He then moved up to play with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. Playing in the BCHL earned him a full scholarship to play hockey at Quinnipiac University. Toews is the only one to take the university route on his way to the NHL out of all other BC-born players on the list.
Devon Toews had a solid season for the Avs, recording 9 goals 22 assists for 31 points, and a monster +29 rating. His points total slotted him in the top 25 of league defensemen in scoring. Colorado was a force all season long, winning the president’s trophy with 82 points and a record of 39-13-4.
The Avalanche began the Stanley Cup playoffs by sweeping the 2019 cup champions in the St. Louis Blues. Colorado is currently in a battle with the Vegas Golden Knights, arguably the two top teams in the NHL. The two teams are split at 2 games apiece, with game 5 on June 8th taking place in Colorado.
So far through the 8 games in the playoffs, Toews has been solid once more. He has 4 assists, a +7 rating while logging 25:21 of ice time. Toews will be crucial if the Avalanche are going to get past their equal rival in the Golden Knights.
#5 – Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Morgan Rielly plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs and is the star on the team’s blue line. Rielly was born in Vancouver BC and was drafted by the Leafs in 2012.
Rielly is the only one of the ten BC-born players on the list who did not play his minor hockey career in BC. He moved to Saskatchewan and played for the Notre Dame Hounds. Morgan Relly was then drafted by the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.
In his final season with the Hounds, Morgan Rielly was the top-scoring defenseman in the Saskatchewan AAA league. He has built up a solid resume of international hockey for Team Canada that includes bronze and two gold medals.
The Leafs were dominant throughout the regular season, never faltering out of the top spot in the North Division. They finished with a record of 35-14-7. Rielly had a strong season putting up 35 points, 5 goals, and 30 assists with a +11 rating. Morgan Rielly finished 15th in scoring for all defensemen in the NHL.
Rielly and the Leafs, unfortunately, blew another 3-1 series lead, the worst series lead in Toronto hockey history; this time to the Montreal Canadiens. In the 7 game series, Rielly recorded 3 points, a goal, and 2 assists while logging 25:48 of ice time.
#4 – Ryan Johansen (Nashville Predators)
Ryan Johansen was born in Vancouver BC. Drafted back in 2010 by the Columbus Blue Jackets, he currently plays for the Nashville Predators.
Ryan’s junior career began with one season playing for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. He then moved up to play for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. In 2011, he was chosen to represent Canada at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships earning a silver medal.
Out of all BC-born players on this list, Johansen had the lowest impact season for his respected team, only tallying 22 points; 7 goals, and 15 assists in 48 games played. In the 6 game playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes, Johansen contributed 4 points with 3 goals and 1 assist on 18 minutes of ice time.
#3 – Alexander Kerfoot (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Alexander Kerfoot plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Born in Vancouver BC, he was drafted in 2012 by the New Jersey Devils.
Kerfoot was drafted in 2009 by the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, however, as a midget player, he chose to wait a year and play for the Vancouver Northwest Giants of the BCMML (BC Hockey Major Midget League). He is only one on this list of BC-Born players to play an extra year of major midget hockey.
In the 2010/11 season, he joined the Coquitlam Express of the BCHL. For the 2011 season, Alexander agreed to return to the Express and halfway through the season was called upon to play for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge.
Kerfoot had an average season for the Leafs, recording 8 goals and 15 assists for 23 points in 56 games. However, in the 7 game series against the Montreal Canadiens Kerfoot was a key player for Toronto. He racked up 6 points in 7 games, with 1 goal and 5 assists on 17:11 of ice time.
#2 – Shea Theodore (Vegas Golden Knights)
Shea Theodore is a product of Langley BC, drafted in 2013 by the Anaheim Ducks and currently plays for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Shea played minor hockey in the Aldergrove minor hockey association, and in 2010 was selected for the WHL Bantam Draft by the Seattle Thunderbirds where he served as team captain. He has plenty of international experience with gold medals at the 2013 U18 World Championships and the 2015 World Junior Championship, plus a silver medal at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.
Theodore was an absolute monster this season for Vegas, totaling 42 points with 8 goals and 34 assists in 53 games played and a +28 rating. Theodore finished 9th in NHL scoring for blueliners. Vegas as a team had a dominating season in 2020/21, being the only team in the NHL with 40 wins. They finished 2nd in the West division, tied with Colorado in points.
The Golden Knights won a thriller of a first-round series against the Minnesota Wild, winning at home in a dominant game 7 victory. Currently, in the second round, the Knights are in a battle of a series against their division rivals the Colorado Avalanche; locked at two games apiece.
In 11 games this postseason, Theodore has only put up 4 assists and a +2 rating but has logged 23:38 of ice time and played matchups against the opposing team’s top players. Not an easy task when you are asked to shut down Colorado’s Nathan McKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog.
#1 – Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders)
Mathew Barzal is the clear-cut top BC-born player in the NHL right now. The kid has become a star for the New York Islanders, becoming their key contributor since the departure of former captain John Tavares. Barzal was born in Coquitlam BC and drafted by the Islanders back in 2015.
Mathew’s early playing career established him as a clear winner, dominating everywhere he went. He was the captain of his minor hockey team at Burnaby Winter Club, arguably the top hockey team in the province.
In 2010, he and his BWC team were selected to travel and play in the Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament. Mathew’s 2012/13 season, he played in the BCMML for the Vancouver NE Chiefs, dominating the league by putting up 29 goals and 74 assists for 103 points in 34 games played.
He was chosen 1st overall in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft by the Seattle Thunderbirds, where he eventually went on to become captain of the team.
The list of Barzal’s accolades as a hockey player up to this point in his career is accomplished, and that is putting it mildly. His list of major awards are:
- International success for Team Canada – 2014 IH18 Gold Medal, 2014 WJC18 Bronze Medal, 2015 WJC18 Bronze Medal, and 2017 World Junior Championship Silver Medal.
- BC Hockey Player of the Year in 2013
- BCMML Most points in 2013 League Scoring
- WHL West All-Star team – 2016, 2017.
- WHL Playoff MVP – 2017.
- Rookie of the Month NHL (January) – 2018.
- NHL Calder Memorial Trophy Winner (Rookie of the Year) – 2018
- NHL All-Star – 2019, 2020.
Barzal had a strong 2020/21 NHL season, recording 45 points in 55 games, totaling 17 goals and 28 assists with a +15 rating. He helped the Islanders secure the 4th spot in their division, with a record of 32-17-7; setting up a first-round playoff matchup with the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Islanders pulled out 4 games to 2 series win against the Penguins in round 1, and New York is currently in a war of a series with the Boston Bruins. After a 5-4 road win on June 7th, the Isles will take a 3-2 series lead back to Long Island hoping to book their ticket to the next round.
In 11 games this postseason, Barzal has been a big reason why New York is one of the favorites for the Stanley Cup this year. He has put up 3 goals 6 assists for 9 points and 18:24 of ice time. Barzal will need to continue his strong play if the Islanders hope to find themselves playing in the Stanley Cup Finals.
I am from British Columbia, Canada so this was a fun post to write. I hope it provided adequate information, and hopefully, something in the article surprised you. If you want to read more NHL-related articles, click here. If you want to check out another sport, clicking here is where to go.