The Top 5 NY Islanders Born In the USA

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders
Washington Capitals v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Happy Independence Day! While hockey has always been considered Canada's game, plenty of players have left their mark on the NHL and the NY Islanders who were Born in The USA.

The Isles' roster as it currently stands, assembled by Johnston, Rhode Island native Lou Lamoriello, consists of five American-born players: Captain Anders Lee (Edina, MN), Brock Nelson (Warroad, MN), Kyle Palmieri (Smithtown, NY), Scott Mayfield (St. Louis, MO), and Hudson Fasching (Milwaukee, WI).

At the Islanders' peak in the 1980s, the organization rattled off four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-1983, the most consecutive championship titles for a US-based team in NHL history - each setting off a Party In The USA down Hempstead Turnpike.

Though the franchise has yet to return to the glory days of the 80s, the Islanders have churned out some high-level American talent over 50 years. So before you jump in the pool, fire up the grill, and enjoy a piece of American Pie, check out the top five American players in Islanders' history.

New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

5. Kyle Okposo (St. Paul, MN)

Drafted seventh overall in the 2006 NHL Draft, Kyle Okposo spent parts of nine seasons on Long Island before signing with the Buffalo Sabres in the summer of 2016. A highly touted forward with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL, Okposo jumped to the collegiate ranks at the University of Minnesota following his draft year.

Okposo played a year and a half for the Golden Gophers before leaving college midway through his sophomore season in 2007-08, signing a contract with the Islanders and reporting to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. After 35 games in Bridgeport, totaling 28 points (9 goals, 19 assists), he earned a call-up to the big club for the season's final nine games. Okposo was impressive during his short stint, scoring twice and adding three assists. From there, he didn't look back, remaining a staple in the Islanders' lineup for the duration of his time on the island.

After a career year in 2015-16, finishing with 64 points, Okposo departed for Buffalo. He totaled 369 points during his career with the Islanders, remaining a fan favorite to this day.

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

4. Anders Lee (Edina, MN)

The captain of the Islanders ship, Lee, earned his ticket to the NHL the hard way. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Draft, Lee was never a shoo-in to become a full-time NHLer.

A star high school athlete in hockey and football, Lee played one season in the USHL before joining the University of Notre Dame. Lee wasted no time leaving his mark with the Fighting Irish, finishing his first year as the NCAA's leading freshman goal scorer with 24. Before his junior year, Lee was named team captain, finishing the season as the teams leading point producer (38). After being upset as the region's top seed in the NCAA tournament, Lee elected to turn pro and join the NY Islanders.

Lee scored during his NHL debut against the Winnipeg Jets on what may be the flukiest goal of his career. A shot from the left wall managed to slip past Jets' netminder Ondrej Pavelec, leaving Lee as the most shocked person at Nassau Coliseum to learn the puck had gone in.

With a career season in 2017-18, Lee eclipsed the 40-goal mark - the first time an Islander had done so since Jason Blake in 2006-07, and the only one to do so since.

Not only has Lee been the team's top goal scorer since joining the Islanders, he remains one of the top net-front presences in the league.

New York Islanders v Pittsburgh Penguins
New York Islanders v Pittsburgh Penguins / Justin Berl/GettyImages

3. Brock Nelson (Warroad, MN)

After trading up for the final pick of the first round at the 2010 NHL Draft, the Islanders selected Nelson after registering a staggering 73 points in 25 games as a senior at Warroad High School.

Nelson played two seasons at the University of North Dakota before joining the Sound Tigers full-time in 2012-13. After one season in the AHL, he became a stalwart in the Islanders lineup and has been so ever since.

Frustrating at times, Nelson was incredibly inconsistent during his first eight seasons with the Islanders but has managed to find another gear the past two once he turned 30. His 37 goals in 2021-22 were a career-high before he potted 39 last season, finishing with 75 points.

He's been a critical piece to the Islanders' forward group and has become one of the top second-line centers throughout the league.

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Graig Abel/GettyImages

2. Ken Morrow (Flint, MI)

There are few players in the game's history to have a year similar to that of Ken Morrow in 1980. Before winning the Stanley Cup with the Islanders, Morrow was a member of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team that beat the Soviet Union in the greatest upset in sports history. Following the Miracle on Ice, the US defeated Finland 4-2 to claim the gold medal, inspiring young Americans across the country to pursue the game of hockey.

Drafted by the Islanders in the fourth round of the 1976 NHL Draft, Morrow joined the team towards the tail end of the 1979-80 season. Paired often with Hall-of-Famer Denis Potvin, Morrow became an integral addition to the Islanders' blue line through their four consecutive Stanley Cup victories.

Morrow played all ten of his NHL seasons with the Islanders, tallying 105 points (17 goals, 88 assists) in 550 games as a stay-at-home defenseman.

Though his number doesn't hang from the rafters of UBS Arena, Morrow was inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Islanders Hall-of-Fame on New Year's Eve 2011. Morrow has remained a part of the Islanders staff as Director of Pro Scouting since 1992.

New York Islanders v  New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

1. Pat LaFontaine (St. Louis, MO)

There's no argument that Pat LaFontaine is the greatest American-born player in the Islanders' history. Drafted in 1983 as the third overall pick, LaFontaine made his Islanders debut at 19 years old, appearing in the team's final 15 games of the 1983-84 season, lighting the lamp 13 times and adding six assists.

LaFontaine's play improved with each passing year, reaching his pinnacle in the 1989-90 season. His 105 points were good enough for eighth best in the NHL - making him only the sixth Islander at the time to reach the 100-point plateau.

The highlight of Lafontaines' tenure with the Islanders and one of the organization's greatest post-dynasty moments came on Easter morning of 1987. In Game 7 of the 1987 Patrick Division Semifinals, the Isles trailed the Washington Capitals 2-1 before a third-period goal from Bryan Trottier nodded the game up with under six minutes remaining, forcing overtime. The game that began on April 18 carried into the night as the clock struck twelve into Easter morning. With 8:47 remaining in the fourth overtime period, LaFontaine beat Caps goaltender Bob Mason to send the Islanders to the next round.

LaFontaine remained with the Islanders through the 1990-91 season, when he was abruptly traded to the Sabres in a deal that sent Pierre Turgeon to the Islanders. He played seven more seasons in the NHL with the Sabres and NY Rangers before his retirement in 1998.

LaFontaine was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 2003 and was named one of the NHL's Top 100 Greatest Players, during the league's 100th anniversary in 2017.