Ohio is not know to have produced many major NHL players, having more success in producing NBA legends – like LeBron James and Steph Curry.
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However, the Buckeye State had a few names that hockey fans will recognize. Some of them played for the local NHL team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, some did not. Here are our top 5 of best NHL players from Ohio.
Top NHL Stars in The History of Ohio
- Pat Jablonski
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Pat was a goaltender who played in the NHL from 1988 to 1997. He represented the St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, the Phoenix Coyotes and the Carolina Hurricanes.
Jablonski played as a junior in Ontario, Canada, for the Windsor Spitfires, until he was drafted by St. Louis in 1985. He had a modest career, ending up retiring in 2001, before having spent the last 3 professional years in Sweden playing for Västra Frölunda HC.
- J.T. Miller
Another player born in Ohio, Jonathan Miller began playing in his home town of East Palestine. At age 29 he is currently playing for the Vancouver Canucks, after spending several seasons in the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
He was selected by the Rangers in the 2011 Draft, after spending his junior years in the minor United States Hockey League (USHL). Miller was the 15th pick. A center or left wing, Miller is considered a versatile forward.
- Bryan Smolinski
Also born in Toledo, but raised in Genoa, Bryan is the player from Ohio who has scored the most number of points in the NHL (651). The center played college hockey for the Stratford Cullitons and the Michigan State Spartans.
The Bruins would draft him in the first round in 1990, where he would stay until 1995, when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. During a long NHL career where he played in 7 teams, he ended his career in 2010, playing for the Montreal Canadiens, playing his 1000th career game precisely against the Bruins.
Bryan is arguably the best NHL player from the Buckeye state.
- David Ellett
Ellett is also a legend from Ohio who played several seasons in the NHL. Curiously, Ellett has double nationality and has represented Canada national team, because his father was Canadian. He was born in Cleveland, when his father was playing minor hockey league for the Cleveland Barons.
In 1982 Ellett was drafted the Winnipeg Jets, but played the next two seasons in the Bowling Green State University, in Ohio. He joined the Jets definitely in 1984, where he played until 1990. He was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs then, playing also in the New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues.
Despite being a defenseman, Ellett was a prolific scorer and assister. He holds the record of most assists by a Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman in a playoff year and most points by a Leafs defenseman in a playoff year.
Ohio’s Columbus Blue Jackets NHL team present
Blue Jackets have made three playoff appearances which included their most successful season occurring in 2009 when they qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time. The team plays games at Nationwide Arena, located near downtown Columbus, Ohio.
The current roster is populated with stars like Zach Werenski, Seth Jones, and Pierre-Luc Dubois, who have been instrumental in leading the Blue Jackets to success. With a loyal crowd and a dedication to winning the Blue Jackets are poised to achieve further success this season and in the years to come.
The team is known for its fan-based traditions, including The Cannon Blast, where a cannon is fired following every Blue Jackets goal. The team also has the annual “Hockey Fights Cancer” night to pay tribute to those who have been affected by cancer as well as to raise money for research.
With the amount of talent that comes from Ohio and beyond, it’s easy to imagine the possibilities for Ohio’s NHL stars.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are an exciting team to watch and we’re looking forward to cheering them on to win Stanley Cup glory. No matter if you’re a fan across the nation or here in Ohio, be sure to come out to cheer on this team. Go CBJ! Go Jackets! Go Ohio!