Americans vs. Canadians in the NHL – Who Shoots and Scores

Americans vs. Canadians in the NHL – Who Shoots and Scores

With the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks facing-off for bragging rights as the Stanley Cup champ, which home country—the U.S. or Canada—has the most marketable hockey players? A look at the Nielsen/E-Poll N-Scores of the top 10 active players in the NHL—and a review of the top retired players—reveals the Canadians have a slight breakaway with American audiences. The N-Score evaluates name, image awareness, appeal and attributes such as sincerity, approachability, experience and influence to determine a player’s endorsement potential.

Canadian and Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby tops the list (N-Score 26) along with his fellow countrymen Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews (14), New Jersey Devils’ Martin Brodeur (12) and fellow Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury (11). The Americans don’t quite earn a hat trick with only two players in the top 10—Detroit Red Wings’ Mike Modano (20) and Buffalo Sabres’ Tim Connolly (13) – tying with Russia’s Alex Ovechkin (16) and Evgeni Malkin (12).

“Canadians are known for producing some of the best hockey players. In terms of lasting brands, they certainly have the power play, with eight of the top 10 retired players hailing from Canada,” said Stephen Master, VP Nielsen Sports. “While Sidney Crosby—who’s been revered as one of the best current hockey players in the world—is leaving his mark, Wayne Gretzky is still the brand to beat. A venerable name, Gretzky skates to the top of the list with an N-Score of 203, almost five times greater than his closest competition.”

Top 10 N-Score – Active NHL Players
Rank Player Team Nationality N-Score
1 Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Canadian 26
2 Mike Modano Detroit Red Wings American 20
3 Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals Russian 16
4 Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings Swedish 14
5 Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks Canadian 14
6 Tim Connolly Buffalo Sabres American 13
7 Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins Russian 12
8 Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils Canadian 12
9 Marc-Andre Fleury Pittsburgh Penguins Canadian 11
10 Jarome Iginla Calgary Flames Canadian 10
Source: Nielsen

Top 10 N-Score – Retired NHL Players
Rank Name Nationality Retirement Year N-Score
1 Wayne Gretzky Canadian 1999 203
2 Gordie Howe Canadian 1980 45
3 Mario Lemieux Canadian 2006 32
4 Bobby Orr Canadian 1978 31
5 Mark Messier Canadian 2004 23
6 Steve Yzerman Canadian 2006 20
7 Brian Leetch American 2006 12
8 Cam Neely Canadian 1996 11
9 Mike Richter American 2003 10
10 Adam Graves Canadian 2003 7
Source: The Nielsen Company


Using the combined research expertise of Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research, N-Score is an in-depth look at a sports figure’s overall endorsement potential, factoring in the attributes and demographic measures that align brands with endorsers. E-Poll maintains a national online panel of 250,000 people age 13 and up. Each individual N-Score National survey is administered to 1,100 people within that panel via the Internet. The sample is representative of the general population based on gender, income, age, and education