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Best pick at No. 18: Ken Daneyko, Devils

Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 1:32 PM ET / Features
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Best pick at No. 18: Ken Daneyko, Devils
Canadian defenceman Ken Daneyko drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1982 is the best player taken at the 18th spot all-time in the NHL Draft.



To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first NHL Draft, NHL.com assembled a 13-member panel to select the best first-round picks of all time, based on selection number. NHL.com will feature one of the top first-round picks each day, beginning with the best No. 30 pick on June 1 and culminating with the all-time No. 1 pick on June 30, the day of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Today: The best No. 18 pick: Ken Daneyko, New Jersey Devils, 1982

The New Jersey Devils made their debut at the 1982 NHL Draft, which was held at the Montreal Forum. The Colorado Rockies, who became the Devils, made a trade the season before with the Boston Bruins, which ended up costing the Devils the No. 1 pick.

Instead, with the No. 18 selection, the Devils selected Ken Daneyko, a big, strong defenseman who was playing in the Western Hockey League. He was the second pick in New Jersey history, after Rocky Trottier at No. 8.

For Daneyko's success during a 20-season NHL career, NHL.com's Dream Draft panel selected him as the best No. 18 first-round pick.

Daneyko spent the 1981-82 season in the WHL with the Seattle Breakers, and it became the most prolific offensive season of his career, with 60 points in 69 games. He started the 1983-84 season in the NHL, but he broke his fibula in November 1983, after 11 games, and when he was healthy he was returned to the WHL, where he helped the Kamloops Junior Oilers reach the Memorial Cup.

He split the next two seasons between the NHL and the Devils' American Hockey League team, the Maine Mariners.

He stuck with the Devils for good at the start of the 1986-87 season. For 16 seasons after that, he never really left the lineup.

In Daneyko's first eight seasons as a full-time NHL player (1986-87 to 1993-94), he missed a total of 13 games, and played every game of a season five times. He did so with a robust, physical style, earning at least 170 penalty minutes in each season, and more than 200 five times.

The 1994-95 season saw Daneyko play 25 games, but he returned healthy in time to help the franchise win its first Stanley Cup. He had one goal in 20 postseason games and was a plus-9.

Partnered mostly with future Hall of Fame member Scott Stevens and playing in the long shadow of another future Hall of Famer, Scott Niedermayer, Daneyko remained a physical force who always drew the toughest defensive assignments.

That was the case during the 1999-2000 season, when Daneyko played 78 of 82 regular-season games and chipped in with six assists, then had his best playoff run, with a goal and two assists 23 games as the Devils won the Stanley Cup.

Long years of hard, physical play began to catch up with Daneyko as the millennium dawned. He played 67 games in 2001-02, and 69 in 2002-03. After skating in every playoff game in franchise history, he was made a healthy scratch during the quarterfinals and for the first six games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Anaheim Ducks. But for Game 7, coach Pat Burns wrote Daneyko's name into the lineup, and he was on the ice when the final horn sounded to celebrate his third Stanley Cup.

He retired not long after the Cup win as the franchise leader in games played (1,283) and penalty minutes (2,516). He skated in the most playoff games in club history (175). Daneyko became the second New Jersey player to have his number retired, in 2006, when his No. 3 was raised.

The sum total of Daneyko's career is why he was the choice of 10 members of NHL.com's 13-member Dream Draft panel.

"It was a no-brainer for me," "NHL Live" host E.J. Hradek said. "[Daneyko] spent his entire career in New Jersey, helping establish the Devils franchise, winning three Stanley Cups along the way. It's no mistake his No. 3 is hanging in the rafters in Newark."

Voting: Ken Daneyko, New Jersey (1981) 10; Glen Murray, Boston (1991) 3

Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59