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The Four Greatest Asian NHL Players of All Time

The Four Greatest Asian NHL Players of All Time!
Publish Date: 02/19/2021
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Yutaka Fukufuji


Yutaka Fukufuji, or 福藤 豊 in his native language, was the first-ever Japanese player to appear in an NHL game. The goaltender was born in the Japanese city of Kushiro in 1982. The Los Angeles Kings drafted Fukufuji in 2004, but he did not make his first NHL appearance until 2007, when the Kings’ head coach Marc Crawford decided to put Fukufuji in to start the third period, in a game against the St. Louis Blues. Fukufuji currently plays for the Nikko Ice Bucks in Asia League Ice Hockey, and he is due to represent Japan in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. You may not have the skills of Fukufuji, but if you want to have some ice hockey fun, you can test your skills by playing great hockey video games like NHL 20 and the classic Blades of Steel.


Devin Setoguchi


The right-winger Devin Setoguchi was born in the Canadian town of Taber in 1987. He is a fourth-generation-half-Yonsei Japanese Canadian. In 2005, Setoguchi was drafted by the San Jose Sharks. He most recently played for Adler Mannheim in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, but in the NHL, he played for teams like the Minnesota Wild, the Winnipeg Jets, and the Calgary Flames. Many people today know Setoguchi as a popular TV analyst, but he will never be forgotten for his outstanding performances over the years.


Matt Dumba


Recipient of the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy for WHL Rookie of the Year in 2011 and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for the 2019-2020 season, defenseman Matt Dumba currently plays for the Minnesota Wild, having been selected seventh overall by the Wild in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft first round. Dumba previously played for the Red Deer Rebels as a junior and had a brief stint with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. Of Filipino, Romanian and Germanic descent, Dumba was born in Regina, Canada, in 1994. After debuting for the Minnesota Wild in 2013, he soon became one of the team’s most noteworthy players. But it was in the 2015-2016 season where Dumba had his breakout year. He played all games but one for the Wild, achieving career highs with 10 goals, 16 assists, 26 points, and 38 penalty minutes. In 2018, Dumba renewed his contract with Minnesota with a five-year $30-million contract.


Paul Kariya


Born in Vancouver, Canada, to a Japanese-Canadian father and Scottish-Canadian mother, winger Paul Kariya played fifteen seasons in the NHL, for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Colorado Avalanche, the Nashville Predators, and the St. Louis Blues. Now retired, Kariya was well-known for his fast skating and fine offensive skills. In addition to his long and successful NHL career, Kariya represented Canada on the international stage many times. At his second appearance at the World Junior Championships in 1993, he won gold, and in his first appearance at the Winter Olympics in 1994, as an amateur, he won silver. Eight years later, Kariya helped Canada to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. In 2017, Paul Kariya was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Rightly so.

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