In case you didn't read the thread I linked, Russia's numbers include only the first team team players so the actual number of players in one age group is actually significantly larger. Also from what I've gathered, the teams have their own hockey schools under which they develop their juniors. I think the teams does pay for the development of their players all the way up where as in comparison in Finland the parents pay for most of development. Only the SM-Liiga teams juniors from the C-juniors up (around 15 years old) don't have to pay for playing (equipment, ice time etc.). Only the licensing fee remains which isn't that big.
Yeah that's kind of what I mean. With lower average income in Russia kids are more reliant on the pro teams who pay for their development, and I doubt they're going to spend much time and money on kids who don't show talent. So basically the way I look at it Russian youth hockey is mostly A level, where Canadian youth hockey is a wide variety of A, B, C, and D level.
The number of Americans will just continue to rise, I think.
They have such a gigantic population there that the odds are against the rest of us. It's a shame, really. One of the best things about the NHL is its diversity. You don't see a lot of Canadians, Russians, Czechs, Swedes, etc. in the NFL or NBA, and I'd hate to see the NHL become a homogenized American league in the future, just because America's population numbers mean it generates a higher number of pro athletes than the other countries.
While Americans should certainly be allowed to play the game, I feel like too many Americans in the league will affect the culture of hockey, which has previously been dominated by Canadians and Europeans. I don't want to see that happen, but I don't know what can be done about it.
Maybe the NHL could eventually get some kind of quota system like the CFL where a certain number of Canadian players are required on each team (assuming, decades from now, the league becomes dominated by US-born players)?
Contrary to what may be believed the USA doesnt have the largest population among countries.