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  • Writer's pictureDerek Ochej

First, last and only: players who stayed with the franchise that drafted them.

In the era of free agency, trade deadlines and salary caps, a player spending his entire career with the team that drafted him is becoming increasingly rare. Ken Daneyko, feature in this post, may be one of the last of his kind. Daneyko was drafted in 1982 by the New Jersey Devils, a team he spent his entire career with, playing in 1283 games. Even more rare, Daneyko was by no means a star player - he never was named to an all-star team or played in an all-star game and the only individual award he won was the Bill Masterton Trophy. He is, however, a team legend, a tough-as-anyone defensive defenceman and a three-time Stanley Cup winner.

Daneyko's story inspired me to see where he sat on the list of most games played by a player for the franchise he was drafted by, with the caveat that the player only ever played for that one team. After crunching the numbers, Daneyko sits 11th on the list, behind some pretty illustrious company:

  • Nicklas Lidstrom sits first, playing 1564 games for Detroit. His former teammate Steve Yzerman is fourth at 1514 games. Another Red Wings alumnus, Alex Delvecchio, sits second at 1550 games. The Red Wings certainly breed loyalty.

  • There are two players ahead of Daneyko who played all their games for the same franchise, but different teams. Shane Doan played 1540 games with Winnipeg/Phoenix and Joe Sakic played 1378 games for Quebec/Colorado.

  • Stan Mikita from Chicago is the only original sixer outside of the Red Wings players named above, having played 1396 games with Chicago.

  • The Sedin twins, Daniel at 1330 games and Henrik at 1306 games, sit eighth and ninth respectively, with Dustin Brown 10th at 1295 games for Los Angeles.

  • The one active player on the list, Alex Ovechkin, sits seventh with 1331 games, and should pass Sakic and Mikita before the end of his career.

Card 430 - Todd Richards

A defenceman, Richards was drafted 33rd overall by Montreal in 1985. Selected straight from high school in Minnesota, Richards played four years of college hockey at Minnesota, captaining the Golden Gophers his senior year. He turned pro in 1989-90 with Sherbrooke in the AHL, and was traded in October 1990 to Hartford for future considerations.

Richards made his NHL debut with the Whalers that season, playing in two regular games, recording four assists, as well as six playoff games. Additionally, he won a Calder Cup with Springfield in the AHL that season. During the 1991-92 season Richards played in four regular season and five playoff games, recording three assists.

His time in Hartford would be all of Richards’ NHL experience. For a few seasons he bounced between the AHL with Springfield and the IHL with Las Vegas before finding a home with Orlando of the IHL in 1995-96. During his first season with the Solar Bears he scored 19 goals and 73 points, winning the league’s best defenceman award. Over five seasons in the Sunshine State Richards would be a three time all-star (two first-team and one second-team), and win a Turner Cup in 2001. His final pro season came in 2001-02 in the Swiss second league, where he also won a league title.

Richards boasts a unique NHL career, having played in more post-season games (11), then regular season games (6), recording seven points in total. He jumped right into coaching, first in the AHL with Milwaukee and Scranton Wilkes-Barre, then spending the 2008-09 season as an assistant with San Jose. He became head coach of his home state Minnesota Wild in 2009, lasting two seasons. In 2011-12 he joined Columbus as an assistant, taking over the head coaching role mid-season. Richards was replaced by John Torterella in 2015-16, and has since been an assistant in Tampa Bay (2016-2020) and Nashville (2020-present).

Card 431 - Kip Miller

A centre, Miller was drafted 72nd overall by Quebec in 1987 after his freshman season at Michigan State. The younger brother of Kelly and Kevin, Kip was a Hobey Baker finalist in 1989 and won the award as the best US college hockey player in 1990. He turned pro in 1990-91, playing mostly with Halifax in AHL while squeezing in 13 NHL games, scoring four goals and seven points.

Late in the 1991-92 season Miller was traded to Minnesota for Steve Maltais. He played three games for the North Stars, recording three assists. Over the next six seasons (1992-93 to 1998-99), Miller would play 38 NHL games for four separate teams (San Jose, New York Islanders, Chicago and the Islanders again), scoring four goals and 14 points. He played primarily in the IHL, making stops in Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Denver, Indianapolis, Chicago and Utah. During the 1994-95 season with Denver he scored 40 goals and 106 points, winning a Calder Cup and being named playoff MVP. Miller produced three other seasons of 90 plus points during this time in the IHL, and won the all-star game MVP in 1998.

Miller had his big NHL break in the 1998-99 season when he was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh. That season he played in 77 games, scoring 19 goals and 42 points, while also contributing nine points in 13 playoff games. Miller equaled his 42 points the next season, which was split between the Penguins and Anaheim following a January 2000 trade.

He re-signed with the Pens for the 2000-01 season, then signed with the Islanders for a third go-round the following season. During that season’s playoffs he scored four goals in six games as the Islanders were eliminated by Toronto in the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals.

Miller played his final two NHL seasons with Washington, scoring a career-high 50 points in 2002-03. He played three final pro seasons in the AHL from 2004-2007. In 12 NHL seasons, Miller played in 449 games, scoring 74 goals and 239 points. He played for a total of eight NHL franchises, appearing in 30 games or less for four of them. Since 2019 he has coached high level youth hockey in his home state of Michigan.

YouTube clip: scoring the overtime winner versus Nashville in a February 1999 game while playing for Pittsburgh.

Card 432 - Jason Prosofsky

A right winger, Prosofsky was drafted 40th overall by the New York Rangers in 1989. Selected ahead of players such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Bure, Prosofsky fit the archetype of big (6 foot 4 inches, 220 pounds), tough (170 penalty minutes with Medicine Hat) and Canadian (born in Medicine Hat) that was in style in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Although junior scoring numbers are not everything, his 23 points in 67 games should have rung some alarm bells.

Prosofsky played two seasons of junior in Medicine Hat following the draft, turning pro in 1991-92 when he played in three separate leagues: the AHL with Binghamton, the ECHL with Erie and IHL with San Diego, where he played 31 games, racking up 111 penalty minutes and zero points. The following season was his final season of pro hockey, playing 14 games with Greensboro in the ECHL, scoring four points.

In retirement Prosofsky has worked in a variety of fields, most recently in the Alberta energy sector. He also coaches minor hockey in his hometown of Medicine Hat.

YouTube clip: a fight from Prosofsky’s time in the IHL with San Diego.

Card 433 - Stephane Morin

A centre, Morin was taken 43rd overall in the 1989 draft by Quebec, three picks after our previous featured player, Jason Prosofsky. Morin was the exact opposite type of player, however, scoring 77 goals and 186 points during his draft year, leading the QMJHL and CHL in points while being named QMJHL MVP and a first-team all-star.

Morin turned pro for the 1989-90 season, playing in six games with the Nordiques, recording two assists while scoring 60 points with Halifax in the AHL. In his true rookie season with the Nordiques Morin posted a ridiculous 20.6 % shooting percentage, recording 13 goals and 40 points in 48 games while winning rookie-of-the-month honours in March,

His rookie season would turn out to be the peak of his NHL career, as over the next three seasons he would play in 36 games between Quebec and Vancouver, scoring 13 points. During Morin’s two seasons with Vancouver’s AHL team in Hamilton he recorded 194 points, earning a second-team all-star selection in 1994. From 1994 to 1996 he played in the IHL with the Minnesota/Manitoba Moose franchise, leading the IHL in scoring with 114 points in 1994-95.

Morin played in the IHL until the 1998-99 season when he left to play in Germany. During his seventh game of the season, he collapsed on the bench during the second period from heart failure. Team staff were unable to revive Morin and he died in hospital later that day at age 29. It was later revealed he suffered from chronic bronchitis and an enlarged heart, which may have contributed to his death.

In 5 NHL seasons Morin played in 90 games, scoring 16 goals and 55 points.

Card 434 - Brian McReynolds

A centre, McReynolds was drafted 112th overall by the New York Rangers in 1985 out of junior A hockey in Ontario. He played three seasons at Michigan State, winning a NCAA title in 1986, then spent the 1988-89 season with the Canadian National Team. McReynolds signed with Winnipeg as a free agent in June 1989, turning pro that season. He played primarily with Moncton in the AHL, but managed nine games with the Jets, scoring two assists.

In the summer of 1990 he was traded back to the New York Rangers for Simon Wheeldon. In three seasons with the organization he played entirely with Binghamton in the AHL, save one game with the Rangers. In the 1992-93 season he recorded 100 points in 79 games with Binghamton.

July 1993 saw McReynolds sign with Los Angeles, where he played 20 games that season, scoring his first and only NHL goal to go with 3 assists. He played 1994-95 season in the IHL with Phoenix and Atlanta before moving to Europe. McReynolds played in both Sweden and Germany before retiring after the 1998-99 season.

In 3 NHL seasons he played in 30 games, scoring one goal and six points. The most recent news on McReynolds from 2015 places him living in Barrie and working in sales.

Card 435 - Ken Daneyko

A defenceman, Daneyko was drafted 18th overall by New Jersey in the 1982 draft. He played two additional seasons in the WHL following the draft, sneaking in his first 11 NHL games during the 1983-84 season, scoring 4 points. Daneyko turned pro in 1984-85 with Maine in the AHL, where he would develop over the next few seasons while getting in some games with the Devils.

Daneyko became a full-time NHLer in the 1986-87 season, scoring two goals and 14 points while racking up 183 penalty minutes. In later years Daneyko would become the classic defensive defenceman, but early in his career he did put up some offensive numbers, scoring five goals and 12 points in 1987-88 while recording 239 penalty minutes. In the 1988 playoffs he scored 7 points as the Devils made a run to Game 7 of the Prince of Wales Conference Finals before losing to Boston. The following season Daneyko recorded a career-high six goals and 21 points.

During the lockout shortened 1994-95 season he played in only 25 regular season games, but played in 20 playoff games, scoring one goal as the Devils won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. He was also named an assistant captain that season, a role he held until 1999. Over the next eight seasons, Daneyko would score only eight goals in over 500 games, but won two more Stanley Cups (2000 and 2003), adding a Bill Masterton Trophy in 2000. He retired following the 2003 Cup victory, having played in 1283 games, scoring 36 goals, 178 points and recording 2516 penalty minutes, good for 22nd all-time. Daneyko five times eclipsed the 200 penalty minute mark, including 283 in 1988-89.

Daneyko’s #3 was retired by the team in 2006, and he currently works as a broadcaster for Devils television broadcasts.

YouTube clip: career highlights for the man who ranks first all-time in games played and penalty minutes for New Jersey.

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