This article is the eighth in a series ranking all Penguins throughout history from different countries. Some lists will rank just the top 10, due to the number of players from those countries. Today, we continue by ranking the top Penguins players from the United States.
There have been 132 American players to suit up for the Penguins in their history — 73 forwards, 50 defensemen and nine goaltenders
Let’s rank the top 10 American Penguins, not necessarily in terms of overall skill, but by their impact on the Penguins during their time in Pittsburgh.
10. MOE MANTHA
The Penguins acquired Mantha from the Jets in May 1984, as the "future considerations" part of the Randy Carlyle trade that had occurred in March.
Mantha was the Penguins' best defenseman in the early years of the Mario Lemieux era. He led all Penguins defensemen in scoring in his first season with the team, recording 11 goals and 40 assists in 71 games. He set a career-high point total in his second season in Pittsburgh, scoring 15 goals and 52 assists in 78 games.
Mantha was a valuable veteran presence on the blue line during his time in the organization, taking young rookie defensemen like Ville Siren under his wing.
Over nearly three and a half seasons, Mantha recorded 37 goals and 131 assists in 232 games. He's the highest-scoring American defenseman in Penguins history, and ranks seventh among all Penguins defensemen in scoring.
The Penguins traded Mantha, Craig Simpson, Chris Joseph and Dave Hannan to the Oilers in November 1987 in exchange for Dave Hunter, Wayne Van Dorp and another key defenseman, Paul Coffey.
Mantha retired from professional hockey after playing one game for the Hershey Bears in 1992-93. He's currently the general manager and head coach for the St. Cloud Blizzard of the NAHL.
9. ROB SCUDERI
"The Piece" deserves a spot on this list.
Scuderi was the Penguins' fifth-round pick in 1998. He became an NHL regular in the 2006-07 season, after splitting much of his first five professional seasons between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Scuderi played on a shutdown pairing alongside Hal Gill in the 2008-09 season. His most memorable moment came in the final seconds of Game 6 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final against the Red Wings, with the Penguins leading 2-1 and needing a win to force Game 7. Marc-Andre Fleury had slid to his left to make a save, and was out of the crease when Johan Franzen picked up the rebound. Scuderi jumped in the crease and made back-to-back saves on Franzen to preserve the lead.
“For a while I thought I blacked out and came to and we still had the lead,” Scuderi later said. “I remember the play. Like any player, you just want to put yourself in the right place and try to help the team out the best you can.”
The Penguins won Game 7, and Scuderi won the first Stanley Cup of his career. That offseason, he signed with the Kings after eight seasons in the Penguins organization. After four seasons in Los Angeles and another Stanley Cup win, Scuderi returned to Pittsburgh.
At age 34, Scuderi had slowed down significantly by his second stint in the organization. The Penguins trade him to the Blackhawks in exchange for Trevor Daley in December 2015.
Scuderi played just 17 games with the Blackhawks, and three games with the Rockford Ice Hogs after being sent to the AHL. The Blackhawks traded him to the Kings in February, where Scuderi finished his NHL career. He played 15 games with the Kings' AHL affiliate Ontario Reign the following season, then retired from professional hockey.
In June 2019, the Predators hired Scuderi as a player development coach.
8. RYAN MALONE
Malone was the Penguins' fourth-round pick in 1999. When he made his NHL debut in 2003, he became the first player to be born and raised in Pittsburgh to play for the Penguins.
Malone's 22 goals led the Penguins his rookie season, and his 43 points were the third-most on the team. He matched his goal total in the season following the lockout, and recorded 22 assists.
Malone set new career highs in 2007-08, his final season with the Penguins, with 27 goals and 24 assists in 77 games. He finished fourth in scoring during the Penguins' 2008 run to the Stanley Cup Final, with six goals and 10 assists in 20 games. He signed with the Lightning the following season.
Malone spent six seasons with the Lightning. He played six games for the Rangers in 2014-15, and 24 for their AHL affiliate in Hartford. After sitting out for two seasons, he attempted a comeback in the Wild organization in 2017-18, but played only 12 games for their AHL affiliate in Iowa, recording two assists.
He currently coaches in Da Beauty League in Minnesota in the summer.
Note: His father, Greg, isn't on this list because he is Canadian.
7. JAKE GUENTZEL
Guentzel was the Penguins' third-round pick in 2013. He made his NHL debut in his first professional season, in November 2016.
Guentzel was part of the Penguins' youth movement in the 2017 Stanley Cup run. He scored a hat trick, including the overtime game-winner, in the Penguins' 5-4 Game 3 win in the first round matchup with the Blue Jackets. He was the first rookie in team history to score a playoff hat-trick, and the second rookie in league history to score a hat trick and overtime goal in the same playoff game. He scored 13 goals and eight assists in 25 games that postseason, finishing fourth in team playoff scoring and tying the NHL's record for most points by a rookie in a single postseason.
Guentzel recorded a 40-goal season in 2018-19, along with 36 assists in 82 games while playing alongside Sidney Crosby on the top line. He's scored 78 goals and 79 assists in his 204 regular season games with the Penguins.
6. PHIL BOURQUE
The undrafted Bourque joined the Penguins organization in 1982 with the AHL's Baltimore Skipjacks, and he became an NHL regular in 1988-89.
Bourque was a key role-player during his time with the Penguins, playing on the fourth line in both the 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup runs. He finished seventh in playoff scoring in 1991 with six goals and seven assists in 24 games, and he finished 10th in playoff scoring in 1992 with three goals and four assists in 21 games.
Bourque played 344 games over eight seasons with the Penguins, and scored 75 goals and 85 assists.
Bourque signed with the Rangers following the 1992 Stanley Cup win. He played with the Rangers, Senators, and the Detroit Vipers and Chicago Wolves of the IHL before moving to Germany in 1997. He retired from professional hockey in 2000, and has worked as the color commentator for the Penguins' radio broadcasts since 2003.
5. PHIL KESSEL
The Penguins acquired Kessel from the Leafs on July 1, 2015, and he proved to be a major catalyst in the back-to-back Stanley Cup runs that followed.
In the 2016 run, Kessel, along with Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino, played on the HBK Line that was so key to the Penguins' 2016 playoff success. Kessel led the Penguins in scoring in the playoffs with 10 goals and 12 assists in 24 games, and just barely missed out in Conn Smythe voting to Sidney Crosby.
Kessel played alongside Evgeni Malkin in the 2017 run, and finished third in postseason scoring with eight goals and 15 assists in 25 games.
Kessel has the third-most points of any American to play for the Penguins, with 303 in 328 games.
The Penguins traded Kessel, prospect Dane Birks and a fourth-round pick to the Coyotes in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk and prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph in June, reuniting Kessel with former Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet.
4. BROOKS ORPIK
Orpik played more games (704) for the Penguins than any other American player. He recorded 13 goals, 119 assists, 879 blocked shots, and 1,595 hits as a member of the Penguins.
Orpik became the first native of California to win the Stanley Cup when the Penguins won in 2009. He registered four assists, 51 blocked shots, and 112 hits in the 24 games of that Stanley Cup run.
Another highlight of Orpik’s time with the Penguins was in the 2013 playoffs, his penultimate season in Pittsburgh. Orpik scored his first career playoff goal in overtime of Game 6 to eliminate the Islanders in the first round of the playoffs.
Orpik retired from professional hockey in June 2019, after spending the final five seasons of his career with the Capitals, winning a second Stanley Cup in 2018.
3. JOE MULLEN
The Penguins acquired Mullen from the Flames in exchange for a second-round pick in June 1990. Mullen was a huge piece in the two Stanley Cup runs that followed.
In 1990-91, he recorded 17 goals and 22 assists in 47 regular-season games, and finished fifth on the team in scoring in the playoffs with eight goals and nine assists in 22 games, including three goals and five assists in the Stanley Cup Final.
Mullen finished third on the Penguins in scoring in the 1991-92 season with 42 goals and 45 assists in 77 games, trailing only Lemieux and Kevin Stevens. His postseason was cut short due to injury, scoring three goals and one assist in nine games.
Mullen remained in Pittsburgh for the next three seasons, recording 177 points in 199 games, before leaving as a free agent to sign with the Bruins. He returned to Pittsburgh after one year for one final season before retiring in 1997.
Mullen was most recently an assistant coach with the Flyers from 2007-17.
2. KEVIN STEVENS
Stevens was one of the best power forwards of his generation, and is the greatest American skater of all-time for the Penguins.
Stevens was a key part of the Penguins' first two Stanley Cup runs. He played alongside Lemieux and Mark Recchi in the second half of the 1990-91 season, and dominated in the playoffs. He scored a league-best 17 goals in 24 games in the 1991 Cup run. When the Penguins fell into a two-game series deficit against the Bruins to start the Wales Conference Final, Stevens famously declared the Penguins would win four straight to win the series, then stepped up and scored eight points over the next four games to fulfill the prophecy.
Stevens was dominant in the 1991-92 season. He set career highs in assists (69) and points (123) and scored 54 goals. He again stepped up in the Conference Final, scoring four goals in a 5-1 Game 3 win as the Penguins went on to sweep the Bruins.
Stevens scored a career-high 55 goals the following season. He shattered most of the bones in his face in Game 7 of the Patrick Division finals that spring, and was never quite the same after he recovered.
The Penguins traded Stevens and Shawn McEachern to the Bruins in August 1995, in exchange for Glen Murray, Bryan Smolinski and a third-round pick.
The Penguins re-acquired Stevens in January 2001, sending John Slaney to the Flyers in a one-for-one deal. He scored eight goals and 15 assists in 32 games to finish the season with the Penguins. He scored one goal and four assists in the 2001-02 season before retiring at age 36.
Stevens played the second-most games of any American for the Penguins, with 522. He recorded 555 career points as a Penguin, the most of any other American, and eighth all-time for the Penguins. He's first among Americans in both goals (260) and assists (295).
The Penguins hired Stevens as a special assignment scout with a focus on amateur scouting and the scouting of college free agents in 2017.
1. TOM BARRASSO
Barrasso is the second-best goaltender in franchise history. He was the Penguins’ starting goaltender for more than a decade and was part of nine playoff runs in total, including the first two Stanley Cup championships in franchise history.
He’s second all-time among Penguins goaltenders in games played (490), wins (226), and shutouts (22), trailing only Fleury. He’s the league’s all-time leading scorer among goaltenders with 48 assists, and was the first U.S. born goaltender to reach 300 wins.
Barrasso was a controversial figure off the ice during his playing days, earning criticism for his locker room presence and dealings with the media. That doesn't take away from what he accomplished with the Penguins, however.
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