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Top 10 NHL Players From Alaska of All Time Rankings

Ranking the best NHL Hockey Players from Alaska such as Scott Gomez, Jeremy Swayman, Phoenix Copley, Tim Wallace and many more

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By admin | July 7, 2023

Hockey Players From Alaska

When thinking about NHL Players From Alaska, despite being the ideal place for hockey, considering how frozen the state is most of the year, the great state of Alaska hasn’t pumped out too many hockey players. Whether that be the enormous cost of hockey, or the level of play in Alaska for youth players, there still have been quite a few great players coming out of The Last Frontier. Here are the top ten NHL players from Alaska. 

Honorable Mention

Barrett Heisten

Team(s): New York Rangers

Another Anchorage native, Heisten started his career playing for the US Development program before playing two seasons with the University of Maine. He was drafted 20th overall by the Sabres in 1999.

Barrett played one season in the WHL before going pro, interesting enough. He played a whole 10 games in the NHL with the Rangers, before spending the rest of his career in the AHL and ECHL. He retired as an Alaska Ace in 2008.

Top 10 NHL Players From Alaska

10. Casey Bailey

Team(s): Iserlohn Roosters, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, HC Slovan Bratislava, Växjö Lakers

Casey Bailey went undrafted in all of his eligible seasons, he was the first player from Penn State University to sign an NHL contract, as well as the first to play in the NHL from PSU.

Bailey was mostly a minor league player, but did play 13 games in the NHL between the Senators and Leafs, only scoring one goal. Since 2020, Bailey has played for the Iserlohn Rooster in the DEL.

9. Phoenix Copley

Team(s): Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals

Phoenix Copley is from North Pole, Alaska, quite the name! Surprisingly, Copley was undrafted in all of his eligible years. After his collegiate career, he signed an entry level contract with the Washington Capitals, playing in Hershey.

He was then shipped out as a part of the T.J. Oshie trade, before making his way back to the Caps. He is currently the starting goalie for the Los Angeles Kings. 

8. Tim Wallace

Team(s): Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Örebro HK, Brynäs IF, Grizzlys Wolfsburg, Sheffield Steelers, Milton Keynes Lightning

Continuing the trend of undrafted players, Tim Wallace wen undrafted after his collegiate career at Notre Dame. He would spend the next five seasons bouncing around the Penguins farm system, playing 20 games, give or take, in Pittsburgh.

After some seasons in the SHL, he has played professional hockey in the United Kingdom for the last four seasons. Funny enough, he did play 60 games for his hometown team, the Alaska Aces, in their final season. 

7. Brian Swanson 

Team(s): Edmonton Oilers, Atlanta Thrashers, Kassel Huskies, Nürnberg/Sinupret Ice Tigers, Iserlohn Roosters

Our first drafted player on the nhl players from Alaska list. Brian Swanson is from Eagle River, Alaska. He played two seasons for the Omaha Lancers, before playing four seasons for Colorado College, he was drafted by the Sharks 115th in 1994, before his college season.

His rights were traded by the Sharks to the Rangers, and then he was traded to Edmonton, before playing his final NHL games in Atlanta. He played six seasons in Germany before coming back overseas and playing two seasons for the Alaska Aces. He retired in 2012. 

6. Joseph Crabb

Team(s): Atlanta Thrashers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers, Växjö Lakers HC, Frölunda HC

Joseph “Joey” Crabb was taken 226th overall by the New York Rangers in 2002 after one season with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. He then went on to play four seasons for Colorado College.

He was a throw in for the massive Blackhawks/Thrashers trade in 2010 that sent Dustin Byfuglien form Windy City to Atlanta. Crabb saw great success playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played a few seasons in the SHL before hanging up the skates in 2016.  

5. Jeremy Swayman

Team(s): Boston Bruins

Jeremy Swayman is still young, but is getting up there as one of the greatest Alaskans to play in the NHL. The Anchorage native played one season in the USHL for Sioux Falls before being drafted by the Bruins 111th overall in 2017.

He then went on to play three seasons for the University of Maine before going pro with the Providence Bruins in 2021.

Swayman didn’t spend a lot of time in the AHL before becoming a mainstay in the NHL. He won the William Jennings Trophy in 2023. 

4. Nate Thompson

Team(s): Ontario Reign, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, Winnipeg Jets

Nate Thompson is the definition of an NHL journeyman; he currently has played for nine NHL clubs. The Anchorage native was drafted in 2003, 183rd overall, by the Boston Bruins.

He played his junior career in Seattle before spending time with the Providence Bruins and a cup of coffee with the Bruins.

He then juggled around the NHL, playing for the Islanders, Lightning, Ducks, Senators, Kings, Canadiens, Jets and Flyers. During the 2012 lockout, he played for the Alaska Aces. 

3. Matt Carle

Team(s): San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators

Matt Carle would be the best Alaskan-born NHL player if not for the two players ahead of him. Carle Started was drafted 43rd overall by the San Jose Sharks in 2003, he then went on to play three seasons with the University of Denver, winning the Hobey Baker before going pro.

He played three seasons for the Sharks before being moved to Tampa, and then being traded to Philadelphia. He was paired with Chris Pronger during the Flyers legendary Cinderella run in 2010.

Carle played four seasons with the Flyers before going back to Tampa and then retiring in 2017. He played 730 NHL games, scoring 45 goals. 238 assists for 283 points. 

2. Brandon Dubinsky

Team(s): New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets

Brandon Dubinsky was an incredible hockey player whose career was tragically cut way too short. Dubinsky played his junior career with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL and was drafted after his first season by the New York Rangers.

The Rangers drafted him 60th overall in the 2004 Draft. He played for the Rangers from 2006 to 2012, playing for the Alaska Aces in the 2012-13 lockout.

Dubinsky was part of the blockbuster trade that sent Rick Nash from Ohio to the Rangers. Dubinsky played seven seasons in Columbus before his career was ended by injury.

1. Scott Gomez

Team(s): New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators

Not only just the greatest Alaskan to ever play in the NHL, but he might also be one of the greatest Americans to play the game.

It would take an entire article in itself to go over Gomez’s incredible career. Drafted 27th overall in 1998, Gomez played most of his career for the Rangers, Devils, and Canadiens.

Gomez also played for the Aces during the lockout. He bounced around at the end, playing for the Sharks, Panthers, Devils again, the Blues, Senators, and then the Hershey Bears. He played 1,079 games in the NHL, scoring 181 goals and 575 assists for 756 points. 

How would you rank the greatest NHL players from Alaska? Rank below to be added in the NHL Power Rankings 

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