By Daniel Friedman
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The great states of New York and New Jersey aren’t exactly known as a breeding ground for star hockey players, though there are quite a few people who’d say differently.
Massapequa’s Sonny Milano was drafted by Columbus in this year’s first round, and there are a number of young players from the area who could find themselves in NHL lineups in the coming years.
Here are the 10 best active ones from NY/NJ:
10. Rob Scuderi — Syosset, NY
Known more for his defensive ability, Scuderi has been part of multiple Stanley Cup winners in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. He’s lost a step but is still a quality blueliner.
9. Erik Cole — Oswego, NY
Cole’s best days are behind him, but his ability as a forward shouldn’t be questioned. He’s a veteran presence with plenty of mileage.
8. Brian Gionta — Rochester, NY
Another veteran forward who is past his prime. Wasn’t too long ago that Gionta was a respectable point producer, even despite his (lack of) size.
7. Ryan Callahan — Rochester, NY
The ex-Ranger captain wears his heart on his sleeve and there’s no reason to expect anything different from him in Tampa Bay.
6. Dustin Brown — Ithaca, NY
Brown’s a good leader and a physical presence, but he’s also capable of putting up points, if and when he wants to do that again. I think he’ll get back there.
5. Jimmy Howard — Ogdensburg, NY
Howard might be one of the more underrated goaltenders in the NHL. He’s done an excellent job for Detroit the last few years.
4. Bobby Ryan — Cherry Hill, NJ
He hasn’t been as productive since the trade to Ottawa, but as far as talent goes, Ryan is off the charts.
3. James van Riemsdyk — Middletown, NJ
Finally blossoming into the star forward he was expected to become, “JVR” is not only one of the best wingers on the Maple Leafs, but also one of the best in America.
2. Kevin Shattenkirk — New Rochelle, NY
He’s an elite puck-moving defenseman and a top-three in the U.S. at that position. Shattenkirk should be a big part of a Blues squad that will contend for years to come.
1. Patrick Kane — Buffalo, NY
Kane is a top-tier player. He’s just about everything you want in a superstar forward and is one of the most dynamic wingers in the NHL. Scoring ability, hands, speed — it’s all there.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Sutter (Huntington, NY), Lee Stempniak (Buffalo, NY), Kyle Palmieri (Smithtown, NY), Chris Higgins (Smithtown, NY), Eric Nystrom (Syosset, NY).
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