It’s not too common for hockey players from the Philadelphia area to play in the NHL. The prospect hotbeds of the Ontario Hockey League and other junior levels in Canada produce a much higher percentage of the talent pool at the professional level.

NHL Hockey Players From Philadelphia

However, local success stories become more impressive when they’re not as common. The career of Johnny Gaudreau has captivated fans of the Philadelphia Flyers.

If you need proof, just think back to the burst of outrage in 2022 when the Flyers passed on the opportunity to sign the South Jersey native for a homecoming. “Johnny Hockey” headlines the influx of NHL talent from the state of New Jersey during the 21st century. Bobby Ryan, Tony DeAngelo, and James and Trevor van Riemsdyk have also built up the reputation of the Garden State.

The city of Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania suburbs haven’t produced the most accomplished NHLers. Mike Richter from Abington became the star of the New York Rangers during the 1990s. He also carried Team USA in international competition. Journeyman Mark Eaton also became the pride of Wilmington, Delaware in 13 NHL seasons.

A prominent NHL franchise like the Flyers also means that sons of former professionals have local connections. Two prominent examples made the list. How do you define the word local though? For the purposes of a good list, the entire of state of New Jersey needed to qualify to solidify the goaltending position.


97.5 The Fanatic has put together rosters of the best professional athletes from the Philadelphia area who could make up rosters of the four major sports franchises.


 

  • Forwards

  • Johnny Gaudreau

    Any roster of local players has to start with Johnny Gaudreau. The South Jersey native blossomed into an NHL superstar in nine seasons with the Calgary Flames before moving to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’ll likely retire as the most accomplished NHL player with local connections.

    Johnny Gaudreau, one of the few local NHL hockey players, playing against the Philadelphia Flyers

  • Ross Colton

    The Mercer County, New Jersey native scored the game-winning goal of the Stanley Cup clincher for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2021. Colton has developed into a strong depth scoring option in a full-time NHL role with the Colorado Avalanche.

    Ross Colton

  • Kasperi Kapanen

    Isn’t he from Finland? Kasperi Kapanen spoke highly of childhood years spent in the area days before the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft at the Wells Fargo Center. His father Sami Kapanen spent five seasons with the Flyers from 2002-03 through 2007-08, and his son made Philadelphia his quasi-hometown. 

    “Cheesesteaks, hoagies – you miss it. When I come to the States and smell the fresh air, I feel like I’m at home.” -Kasperi Kapanen (The Hockey News, 2014)

    Kasperi Kapanen

  • Defensemen

  • Tony DeAngelo

    DeAngelo spent his only season in Philadelphia in 2022-23. He spoke during his introductory press conference about cheering for the Flyers while growing up in South Jersey and his family’s roots in South Philly. His skill set provides a solid option as a power-play defenseman.

    Tony DeAngelo

  • Mattias Samuelsson

    The Buffalo Sabes drafted Mattias Samuelsson in the second round in 2018. His father Kjell spent nine of his 14 NHL seasons with the Flyers. His sister has also become a respected member of the Flyers organization in a PR role. His background of exposure to the organization helped prepare him for the NHL level.

    The young defenseman has developed into a strong option for a franchise looking to shake loose of a brutal stretch of futility.

    Mattias Samuelsson

  • Goaltender

  • Anthony Stolarz

    Does Edison, NJ count as a local connection? The Flyers drafted Anthony Stolarz in the second round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He has put together a solid professional track record although he’s never been a full-time NHL starter.

    Edison is closer to the New York market, but the Philadelphia area doesn’t have many options. You could bring Richter out of retirement to finalize the all-local roster. You could resort to the EBUG and start former Temple University goaltender Eric Semborski.

    The local pool of talent has grown tremendously in recent seasons. However, a solid roster might not be able to compete without a full-time NHL goaltender. Stay tuned for the next Richter.

    Anthony Stolarz, Philadelphia Flyers

  • 97.5 The Fanatic

    Listen to 97.5 The Fanatic, the flagship radio partner of the Philadelphia Flyers.

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