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Rapid Fire: Best Undrafted Players In The NHL

by Bill Lindsay / Florida Panthers
Welcome to Rapid Fire. Panthers broadcasters Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay will hit five different thoughts on a daily rotating basis. It's up to them as far as what topics they want to talk about as teams, and more specifically the Panthers, make a push towards the playoffs and the Stanley Cup.

With the breakout season of Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison, Bill Lindsay takes a look at the top five undrafted players in the NHL.

1. Cris Kunitz (Pittsburgh Penguins): Undrafted out of Ferris State, he got his chance with the Anaheim Ducks in 2005-06 and has never looked back. He has eclipsed the 20-goal mark four times and has won two Stanley Cups. He now currently finds himself on the top line in hockey with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.

2. Jason Garrison (Florida Panthers): The Panthers got him from Minnesota-Duluth and he has turned into a premier defenseman in the NHL. His high in goals in college was five in a year. In his first 226 pro games split between Florida and Rochester he had 18 goals. In 69 games this year he has exploded for a franchise record 16 goals by a defenseman. Who could have seen this coming? Garrison deserves a ton of credit for his work ethic and determination to get better. What a find for the Panthers.

3. Alex Burrows (Vancouver Canucks): He played junior hockey in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Undrafted, he started his pro career in the ECHL for he Greenville Grrrowl and it would take four years for him to climb the ladder to the NHL. Before making the Canucks in 2005-06, he would have stops with Greenville, the Baton Rouge Kingfish and Columbia Inferno of the ECHL and the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. He is now in his seventh year in the NHL. He has four-straight 20+ goal seasons including a career-high of 35 in 2009-10. He also has three years of 100 plus penalty minutes and is regular on a line with the Sedin twins. A long road to the top.

4. Dan Boyle (San Jose Sharks): Got his start with the Panthers out of Miami University (Ohio). He was not given much of a shot with Florida, bouncing around between the AHL and NHL for three years. In 2001-02 he was traded to Tampa Bay and his career took off. He has six seasons of 50-plus points and scored 20 goals one time. He has had double digits in goals five times, and has a Stanley Cup to his resume. Now 825 games into his career, he is still one of the game's most productive defensemen.

5. Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning): A finalist for the Hobey Baker award three times at the University of Vermont was not enough to get St. Louis drafted. The Calgary Flames gave him his first shot at the NHL. He spent three years shuttling between the AHL and NHL before landing in Tampa Bay for the 2000-01 season. Since then, he has had close to a Hall of Fame career. He won the scoring title and league MVP in 2003-04 as well as the Stanley Cup. He was a finalist for the league MVP last year at the age of 35. He is 5'8 176 pounds and has missed only five games in his last nine years. Still producing at a point a game clip. Pretty impressive.

Honorable Mention
John Madden: Not as productive as he once was but there was a time when he would of been at the top of the list. Undrafted out of the University of Michigan is close to 900 games played, three Stanley Cups and a Selke Trophy. 

Author: Bill Lindsay |

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