Hockey Factories: Which major junior team has produced the most NHL talent in the post-lockout era?

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En route to the NHL, the path for many players goes through the Canadian Hockey League. Made up of 60 teams and three leagues, the CHL is the best there is in Canadian major junior hockey, especially when it comes to producing NHL talent. Yet within those 60 teams, there’s a large gap between which teams have been able to produce top NHL talent and which teams have not.

Below, we’ve ranked all 60 CHL teams based on the talent they’ve been developed and sent on to NHL success, measured in total big-league games played by their alumni since the 2004-05 lockout. Only players who played their first NHL game in or after the beginning of the 2005-06 season were included, and if a player split his junior career between multiple teams, the NHL games has been divided among the CHL teams accordingly. For example, if a player played 150 games with the London Knights and 50 games with the Barrie Colts, London will be credited with 75 per cent of the player’s total NHL games, while Barrie will be credited with 25 per cent of his games.

(Note: All data based on games played totals through the end of the 2018-19 NHL season.)


60. Edmonton Oil Kings: 831
Notable Alumni: Laurent Brossoit, Mark Pysyk

59. Victoria Royals/Chilliwack Bruins: 868
Notable Alumni: Nick Holden, Brandon Manning

58. Baie-Comeau Drakkar: 892
Notable Alumni: Gabriel Bourque, Jean-Francois Jacques

57. Acadie-Bathurst Titan: 1,039
Notable Alumni: Bruno Gervais, Mathieu Perreault

56. Charlottetown Islanders/PEI Rocket: 1,080
Notable Alumni: Maxim Lapierre, Daniel Sprong

55. Blainville-Boisbriand Armada/Montreal Juniors/St. John’s Fog Devils: 1,092
Notable Alumni: Jake Allen, Cedric Paquette

54. Prince Albert Raiders: 1,256
Notable Alumni: Kyle Chipchura, Leon Draisaitl, Josh Morrissey

53. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies: 1,287
Notable Alumni: Sven Andrighetto, Nicolas Deslauriers, Nikita Kucherov

52. Kamloops Blazers: 1,375
Notable Alumni: Erik Christensen, Devan Dubnyk

51. Victoriaville Tigres: 1,411
Notable Alumni: Phillip Danault, Jason Demers, Yanni Gourde

50. Tri-City Americans: 1,431
Notable Alumni: Brandon Carlo, Carey Price, Michael Rasmussen

49. Shawinigan Cataractes: 1,532
Notable Alumni: Anthony Beauvillier, Alex Burrows, Samuel Girard

48. Everett Silvertips: 1,552
Notable Alumni: Radko Gudas, Carter Hart, Ryan Murray

47. Regina Pats: 1,667
Notable Alumni: Brandon Davidson, Jordan Eberle, Jordan Weal

46. Chicoutimi Saguenéens: 1,676
Notable Alumni: David Desharnais, P.A. Parenteau, Antoine Roussel

45. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles: 1,730
Notable Alumni: Pierre-Luc Dubois, Ondrej Pavelec

44. Prince George Cougars: 1,992
Notable Alumni: Derek Boogaard, Dustin Byfuglien, Brett Connolly

43.Vald’Or Foreurs: 2,002
Notable Alumni: Kris Letang, Anthony Mantha, Marco Scandella

42. Sherbrooke Phoenix/Lewiston MAINEiacs: 2,124
Notable Alumni: Jonathan Bernier, Jaroslav Halak, David Perron

41. Saint John Sea Dogs: 2,130
Notable Alumni: Nathan Beaulieu, Thomas Chabot, Charlie Coyle, Jonathan Huberdeau

40. Seattle Thunderbirds: 2,380
Notable Alumni: Mathew Barzal, Brenden Dillon, Thomas Hickey, Shea Theodore

39. Quebec Remparts: 2,405
Notable Alumni: Anthony Duclair, Jonathan Marchessault, Alexander Radulov, Marc-Edouard Vlasic

38. Saskatoon Blades: 2,428
Notable Alumni: Mike Green, Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin

37. Hamilton Bulldogs/Belleville Bulls: 2,551
Notable Alumni: Matt Beleskey, Philipp Grubauer, P.K. Subban

36. Spokane Chiefs: 2,660
Notable Alumni: Michael Grabner, Tyler Johnson, Jared Spurgeon

35. Rimouski Oceanic: 2,796
Notable Alumni: Ryane Clowe, Michael Frolik, Sidney Crosby

34. Kingston Frontenacs: 2,922
Notable Alumni: Sam Bennett, Erik Gudbranson, Chris Stewart

33. Swift Current Broncos: 3,064
Notable Alumni: Jake DeBrusk, Cody Eakin, Zack Smith, Ian White

32. Saginaw Spirit/North Bay Centennials: 3,075
Notable Alumni: T.J. Brodie, Brandon Saad, Chris Thorburn, Vincent Trocheck

31. North Bay/Brampton Battalion: 3,103
Notable Alumni: Mike Amadio, Matt Duchene, Jay McClement

30. Halifax Mooseheads: 3,156
Notable Alumni: Jonathan Drouin, Nikolaj Ehlers, Nico Hischier, Nathan MacKinnon, Timo Meier, Jakub Voracek

29. Drummondville Voltigeurs: 3,197
Notable Alumni: Derick Brassard, Sean Couturier, Mike Hoffman, Dmitry Kulikov, Ondrej Palat

28. Gatineau Olympiques: 3,315
Notable Alumni: Paul Byron, Claude Giroux, David Krejci, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Max Talbot

27. Niagara/Mississauga IceDogs: 3,331
Notable Alumni: Dougie Hamilton, Patrick O’Sullivan, Alex Pietrangelo, Andrew Shaw

26. Winnipeg/Kootenay Ice: 3,345
Notable Alumni: Mike Green, Brayden McNabb, Sam Reinhart, Roman Polak

25. Erie Otters: 3,471
Notable Alumni: Alex DeBrincat, Travis Dermott, Connor McDavid, Ryan O’Reilly, Dylan Strome

24. Peterborough Petes: 3,501
Notable Alumni: Zach Bogosian, Ryan Spooner, Jordan Staal

23. Lethbridge Hurricanes: 3,676
Notable Alumni: Tomas Kopecky, Luca Sbisa, Brent Seabrook, Kris Versteeg

22. Mississauga Steelheads/St. Michael’s Majors: 3,924
Notable Alumni: Peter Budaj, Casey Cizikas, Kevin Klein, Devante Smith-Pelly

21. Oshawa Generals: 4,150
Notable Alumni: Calvin de Haan, Michael Del Zotto, Boone Jenner, John Tavares

20. Ottawa 67’s: 4,314
Notable Alumni: Logan Couture, Travis Konecny, Sean Monahan, Petr Mrazek, Tyler Toffoli

19. Brandon Wheat Kings: 4,361
Notable Alumni: Matt Calvert, Micheal Ferland, Ivan Provorov, Ryan Pulock, Brayden Schenn, Mark Stone

18. Sarnia Sting: 4,514
Notable Alumni: Jakob Chychrun, Alex Galchenyuk, Matt Martin, Steven Stamkos, Nail Yakupov

17. Medicine Hat Tigers: 4,742
Notable Alumni: Jay Bouwmeester, Darren Helm

16. Sudbury Wolves: 4,934
Notable Alumni: Marcus Foligno, Nick Foligno, Benoit Pouliot, Mike Smith, Marc Staal

15. Guelph Storm: 5,068
Notable Alumni: Ryan Callahan, Drew Doughty, Dan Girardi, Daniel Paille

14. Windsor Spitfires: 5,235
Notable Alumni: Josh Bailey, Ryan Ellis, Cam Fowler, Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Mikhail Sergachev

14. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds: 5,277
Notable Alumni: Jeff Carter, Robin Lehner, Colin Miller, Matt Murray, Jake Muzzin, Darnell Nurse, Nick Ritchie

12. Barrie Colts: 5,328
Notable Alumni: Andreas, Athanasiou, Aaron Ekblad, Kevin Labanc, Bryan Little, Tanner Pearson, Mark Scheifele, Andrei Svechnikov

11. Moncton Wildcats: 5,420
Notable Alumni: Corey Crawford, Andrew MacDonald, Brad Marchand, Johnny Oduya, Keith Yandle

THE TOP 10

10. Vancouver Giants: 5,590
Notable Alumni: Cody Franson, Brendan Gallagher, Evander Kane, Milan Lucic, Jordan Martinook, Andrej Meszaros

Winning the 2007 Memorial Cup on home ice with a group led by Milan Lucic and Cody Franson after coming up just short in 2006 was arguably the organization’s greatest moment. The Giants were also one goal away from advancing to the Memorial Cup last season, losing an overtime heartbreaker against the Prince Albert Raiders in Game 7 of the WHL Championship.

9. Moose Jaw Warriors: 5,653
Notable Alumni: Kyle Brodziak, Troy Brouwer, Joel, Edmundson, Travis Hamonic, Brayden Point, Morgan Rielly,

The Moose Jaw Warriors haven’t had a great stretch since the 2005 lockout, missing the playoffs in five of the past 13 years. Still, they’ve managed to develop top players such as Travis Hamonic, Morgan Rielly and Brayden Point. There has been some recent success, including a finish atop the WHL two seasons ago, but the Warriors were bounced in the second round of the post-season.

8. Calgary Hitmen: 5,903
Notable Alumni: Karl Alzner, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Getzlaf, Martin Jones, Andrew Ladd, Travis Sanheim

The Hitmen have produced players who have been able to stand the test of time in Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd. More recently, notables such as San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim have come through Calgary. As for the future, Vancouver Canucks 2018 second-round pick Jett Woo is one to watch.

7. Owen Sound Attack/Platers: 6,409
Notable Alumni: Jordan Binnington, Mark Giordano, Bobby Ryan, Andrej Sekera, Wayne Simmonds, Joel Ward

While the Attack’s impressive group of alumni includes Mark Giordano, Bobby Ryan and Wayne Simmonds, the graduate getting the most attention right now is Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Jordan Binnington. Fans of the Attack and OHL aficionados knew long ago that Binnington could handle the pressure of a championship round. He helped the Attack to an OHL crown in 2011 as a 17-year-old.

6. Red Deer Rebels: 6,512
Notable Alumni: Matt Dumba, Martin Hanzal, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer, Brandon Sutter, Cam Ward

Even though Red Deer hasn’t managed a trip to the WHL final since the early 2000s, that hasn’t stopped the Rebels from developing top NHL talent. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a first-overall selection in 2011, while Matt Dumba continues to solidify himself as a top defenseman with the Minnesota Wild. Alumnus Cam Ward, who recently retired, is the winningest goaltender in Carolina Hurricanes history. That’s one more achievement to add to Red Deer’s list.

5. Flint Firebirds/Plymouth Whalers: 6,602
Notable Alumni: J.T. Miller, James Neal, Rickard Rakell, Tyler Seguin, Tom Wilson

While the Firebirds organization hasn’t seen much success since arriving in Flint, the team produced some of the NHL’s top offensive talents during its time in Plymouth. From J.T. Miller and Rickard Rakell to Tyler Seguin and beyond, the organization has developed several top-six NHL forwards. The Whalers captured the 2007 OHL championship with a team that featured Jared Boll, James Neal, Michal Neuvirth, Tom Sestito and Chris Terry.

4. Portland Winterhawks: 6,758
Notable Alumni: Oliver Bjorkstrand, Braydon Coburn, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Johansen, Seth Jones, Nino Niederreiter

Since missing the playoffs in each season from 2006-07 to 2008-09, Portland has risen to become one of the top teams in the WHL over the past decade. Sven Baertschi, Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter all played together with the Winterhawks in 2011 and their 2013 WHL championship-winning team, headlined by Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones, is one of the best in recent memory. Watch for forward Cody Glass, who graduated the WHL last season, to make his mark in the NHL sooner rather than later.

3. Kitchener Rangers: 7,875
Notable Alumni: Mikkel Boedker, David Clarkson, John Gibson, Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog, Mike Richards, Jeff Skinner

The Kitchener Rangers are consistently competitive in arguably the toughest division in the CHL and won the 2008 OHL championship. Since the lockout, they’ve produced top-10 picks in Mikkel Boedker, Gabriel Landeskog, Jeff Skinner and Nazem Kadri (though Kadri was selected as a member of the London Knights). In addition, they’ve done what many CHL teams have failed: groom a legitimate top NHL goaltender, the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson.

2. Kelowna Rockets: 9,129
Notable Alumni: Mikael Backlund, Tyson Barrie, Jamie Benn, Blake Comeau, Alex Edler, Josh Gorges, Duncan Keith, Tyler Myers, Luke Schenn, Damon Severson, Shea Weber

The Kelowna Rockets are a blueline factory. Tyson Barrie, Duncan Keith, Tyler Myers, Damon Severson, Shea Weber and many more have come through Kelowna. The Rockets captured three WHL championships from the 2004-05 season onwards and on top of the talented defensemen, Kelowna has also produced talents such as Mikael Backlund and Jamie Benn. In the 2019 draft, the Rockets were represented by first-round picks Lassi Thomson and Nolan Foote, as well as second-round pick Kaedan Korczak.

1. London Knights: 12,034
Notable Alumni: John Carlson, Max Domi, Sam Gagner, Bo Horvat, Patrick Kane, Mitch Marner, Steve Mason, Patrick Maroon, Corey Perry, Matthew Tkachuk, Dennis Wideman

If you follow junior hockey – or really any hockey for that matter seeing the Knights atop the list shouldn’t come as a surprise. Led by Dale and Mark Hunter, London has been the best team in junior hockey since the 2004-05 lockout, capturing four OHL crowns and two Memorial Cups. The Knights have had 13 players drafted in the first round in the past nine years, cementing themselves as the best junior hockey program when it comes to developing NHL talent.

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