He had a scholarship to play hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and his success resulted in him signing with the Panthers in his third year of NCAA hockey. While with the Panthers, he set the franchise record for most single season goals and power play goals scored by a defenceman in 2011-2012.
9. Zenon Konopka
After his three minor league seasons, including one with the Wheeling Nailers (Probably the best name in hockey), he debuted in 2005-2006 with Anaheim. In 2008, he signed a two year contact with Tampa Bay, and had a spot in the roster. He's bounced around the league a couple times, but on every team, he's known as the tough guy -- Konopka has 994 penalty minutes in only 287 games.
8. Dustin Penner
He was signed as a free agent to the Ducks in '04, and after being bounced around from the NHL to AHL, he finally earned a full time spot in the 2006-2007 roster, in which he totalled 29 goals and 45 points. His greatest season was with Edmonton in 2009-2010; although the team was last in the conference, he had 32 goals and 63 points. Penner knows how to come up big, when the teams need it; he was clutch for the L.A. Kings when they won the Stanley Cup in 2012.
7. Tyler Bozak
He was signed with the Leafs during university, so he was constantly being called up and reassigned to the Marlies; Wilson, the former coach, claimed that it was because of salary cap issues. He's been one of the positive players for Toronto in their difficult years, and he shone through in the playoffs in 2013, even if they were short-lived for the Leafs.
6. Dan Girardi
Undrafted in 2003, the Hartford Wolf Pack (NYR's affiliate) of the AHL signed him to a 2 way contact. He started the season in the ECHL, but while playing in the AHL, he signed with the Rangers. Girardi's been one of the most consistent blue-liners for the Rangers, and although he doesn't have an impactful offensive touch, he makes up for it in unforgettable plays. In 2010, he led the league with 236 blocked shots.
5. Antti Niemi
Like most players on this list, "Nemo" was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Blackhawks in '08. In his first full season, he helped the Blackhawks win the Cup in 2010. He's become a successful goalie for the San Jose Sharks in recent years, even being a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2012.
4. Chris Kunitz
He had 79 points in his senior year with the Ferris State Bulldogs; that certainly attracted the NHL, especially when he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. Shortly after, he signed with the Ducks. In both Anaheim and Pittsburgh he's been an alternate captain. Oh, and how can you forget that Chris Kunitz has won the Stanley Cup, twice.
3. Pascal Dupuis
After 4 seasons in the QMJHL, he was picked up by the Minnesota Wild in 2000. In his first full season, he had 20 goals and 48 points, with a rating of +14. Dupuis has been consistent throughout the years with his high plus/minus rating, and in 2012-2013, he was +31, which was a league best.
2. Dan Boyle
Boyle signed with the Panthers in 1998 after four seasons with the Miami Redhawks (CCHA), and earned a full-time roster spot in 2000-01. He was later traded to Tampa, where he helped the team win the cup. Boyle has been a consistent and reliable D-man, except for the time when he put the puck in his own net in the 2010 playoffs against Colorado, but it doesn't matter anymore -- the Sharks still haven't won the cup.
1. Martin St. Louis
St. Louis finished as Vermont's leading scorer in university, and he still holds this record to this day with 267 points. In his season with the Cleveland Lumberjacks, he had 50 points in 56 games, which caught the attention of the NHL; he later signed with the Flames. The list of achievements for St. Louis is lengthy; 6 all star game appearances, 3-time Lady Byng winner, 2-time Art Ross winner, MVP in 2003-04 and most importantly: Stanley Cup Champion in 2003-04.