Outside of the Miracle on Ice (the guys drafted/eligible from 76-81), the greatest era for USA Hockey was 1987-1992. I am talking specifically about drafts in a row. That is the era that brought much of the 1996 World Cup Gold winners together, and the core group for 1998/2002 Olympics as well. These are the years that brought us Mike Modano, Jermey Roenick, Doug Weight, Billy Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, Derian Hatcher, Bryan Smolinski, Tony Amonte, etc, etc etc.. No doubt in my mind the greatest span for USA Hockey.
You can look at 2003 -2007 and make a nice case for that as well, but I think what has been happening since 2014 could be the best this country has ever seen.
I am going to go out and call this era 2014-2019 will be the best era of drafted players EVER for USA Hockey.
As of right now, there are 10 Americans in the top 20 for rookie scoring - half of the entire top 20 rookies are from the US. 2016 was a monster rookie crop as well with Matthews, Tkachuk, Werenski, Skjei, Guentzel, Dvorak, etc..
Here are the last 3 years of rookie classes entering the NHL (including this year) from the USA. I understand that some names are drafted at other years, just showing for reference the last 3 seasons of rookies in the NHL for this country and how crazy it has been.
...my lord that is an insane amount of talent entering this league the past 3 years...I can't recall ever seeing this before for USA Hockey. Obviously not all of these kids will stay in the NHL, but for right now the vast majority of them are NHLers and will be for the future. This is still leaving out names like Yamamoto, Logan Brown, Casey Mittelstadt, etc as they are not NHL regulars or close to it yet.
Plus the 2018 draft that will have such talent as Brady Tkachuk, Oliver Wahlstrom, Quinn Hughes, Joel Farabee, Mattias Samuelsson, Jake Wise, Bode Wilde, Blake McLaughlin, etc...
And of course 2019- Jack Hughes.
Is this the greatest era for USA Hockey ever? Maybe if we ever get a true damn best on best one of the years we can see how they stack up...