2000 sixth-round pick, 194th overall
This one might come as a true surprise because Deryk Engelland was around the NHL for a long time and played zero minutes with the Devils. That’s because it took Engelland forever to make the NHL. We’d love to know what caused the Devils to pass on Engelland’s rights, but the league wasn’t covered that deep back then. We just know that Engelland was forced to start his professional career in the ECHL, and it took until the end of the 2009-10 season to get an NHL shot.
Engelland finally made it to the league at 27 years old. That almost never happens in the current NHL. Teams usually give up on the dream when it doesn’t work by 25. However, Engelland kept getting better. In 2007, he had a really good playoff performance as a shutdown guy with the Hershey Bears.
That led to a contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who became the first franchise to commit to him as a professional. It still took him 231 games in the AHL before he made it to the NHL. After that, he never played in the minor leagues again.
Engelland, at this point, is most well known for his performance with the Vegas Golden Knights once they joined the league. He called Vegas home after they were his first ECHL team. So, the Knights getting a homecoming among its players made him the ideal leader in the locker room. He finished his career in 2020 after three seasons with the Golden Knights. It was a fitting end to an impressive story.