9 Native NHL Players to Watch This Season

Associated Press Jordin Tootoo, 31, is the first Inuk to play in the NHL

There are many talented Native American players in the NHL, here are just some of them

There’s no shortage of Native players in the National Hockey League. Here’s a closer look at nine who were on the opening day rosters when the NHL kicked off its regular season in October.

Wikipedia.com

Jordan Nolan

Jordan Nolan – Los Angeles Kings

The 25-year-old forward is the youngest son of Buffalo Sabres’ head coach Ted Nolan. Now in his fifth pro season, the younger Nolan has already achieved the sport’s pinnacle twice: helping the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2012, and then again this past spring. Nolan, whose father is Ojibwe and mother is Maliseet, is a 6-foot-3, 221-pound power forward. A role player, he primarily sees some action on the Kings’ third and fourth lines.

Dwight King – Los Angeles Kings

Dwight King – Los Angeles Kings

King, a 25-year-old Metis, has a pro hockey resume that looks rather similar to Jordan Nolan’s. Like Nolan, King joined the Los Angeles squad midway through the 2011-12 campaign, and he also helped the Kings capture both of their league championships in the past three seasons. King is more offensively gifted than Nolan. He collected 30 points, including 15 goals, in 77 regular season contests last season and added 11 points in 26 playoff matches.

Carey Price

Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens

Price, a member of British Columbia’s Ulkatcho First Nation, is one of the NHL’s top goalies. The 27-year-old is now in his eighth pro season and has spent his entire NHL career in Montreal. Price also backstopped Canada to a gold medal at the Sochi Olympics in Russia earlier this year, where he was named the tournament’s top netminder. Price had a career best goals-against average of 2.32 this past season.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Rene Bourque

Rene Bourque – Montreal Canadiens

Bourque, a 32-year-old Metis forward, is a perfect example of a player with a never-give-up attitude. Though he was never drafted by an NHL squad, he eventually made it to the world’s premier hockey circuit. Bourque entered the season having played a total 587 NHL games. Now in his fourth season in Montreal, Bourque is trying to regain his scoring touch, after scoring nine goals in 63 games last year. Twice he scored 27 goals in a season with the Calgary Flames.

AP

Kyle Chipchura – Arizona Coyotes

Kyle Chipchura – Arizona Coyotes

Chipchura, a 28-year-old Metis forward who turned pro in 2006, is coming off his best NHL season. He appeared in 80 games last season with the Phoenix Coyotes and collected 20 points, including five goals. Chipchura, who had bounced between the NHL and the minor leagues early on in his pro career, was highly regarded coming out of the junior ranks a decade ago. He was the Montreal Canadiens’ first-round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

T.J. Oshie – St. Louis Blues

Oshie, a 27-year-old Ojibwe forward, is now in his seventh NHL season. He’s spent his entire NHL career in St. Louis, after starring at the University of North Dakota. Oshie, the Blues’ first-round pick in the 2005 pro draft, was also a member of the United States entry at the Sochi Olympics earlier this year. He’s coming off his most successful NHL campaign as he played in 79 games and had career highs for goals (21), assists (39) and, of course, points (60).

Archive File photo

T.J. Oshie

Vernon Fiddler – Dallas Stars

Though he might not be a household name for most hockey fans, Fiddler, a 34-year-old Metis, has managed to have a lengthy pro career even though he was never drafted. Fiddler, a forward who is known primarily for his defensive play, entered the season having appeared in 685 NHL contests. The Stars’ brass realizes his value and named him an alternate captain this season. Besides Dallas, he’s also played in the league with the Coyotes and the Nashville Predators.

ESPN.com

Vernon Fiddler – Dallas Stars

Cody McCormick – Buffalo Sabres

McCormick, who is Chippewa, will never be considered a goal scorer. But the 31-year-old forward, primarily known for being a team enforcer, has been able to enjoy a lengthy pro career. McCormick was traded from Buffalo to the Minnesota Wild this past March. But he rejoined the Sabres as a free agent during the off-season. McCormick, who broke into the league with the Colorado Avalanche in 2003, had played in 399 NHL games entering this season.

BuffaloHockeyBeat.com

Cody McCormick – Buffalo Sabres

Jordin Tootoo – New Jersey Devils

Tootoo, a 31-year-old forward, is the first Inuk to play in the NHL. Though he was born in Manitoba, he grew up in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Some thought his NHL days were over this past off-season as he was released by the Detroit Red Wings. But he attended the Devils’ training camp in September and impressed enough to earn a contract with the New Jersey club. Tootoo had spent his first nine pro seasons with the Nashville Predators’ organization.

AP

Jordin Tootoo – New Jersey Devils

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