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Newtown SportsBeat: Top-10 NHL Players

With NHL playoffs in high gear, Patch presents Top 10 players from area to make it to NHL.

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10. MOE ROBERTS (Waterbury) Roberts was born in Waterbury but played his scholastic hockey in Somerville, MA. Roberts played 10 games in the NHL as a goaltender and once held the distinction of being both the youngest and oldest goalie in NHL history. He made his debut in 1926 with the Boston Bruins at the age of 19, then in 1951, when Roberts was assistant trainer with the Chicago Blackhawks, the starting goalie went down with an injury. Roberts suited up and finished the game without allowing a goal. He was 45 at the time.

9. JAIME SIFERS (Stratford) The big and rugged defenseman played at where he earned All-State honors in 1999. Sifers spent a post-graduate year at The Taft School in Watertown before taking his talents to the University of Vermont. Sifers played two years in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Minnesota Wild. Currently, playing professionally in Germany.

8. MATT MARTIN (Hamden) Like Sifers, Martin was a defenseman with great size (6'4") and played a physical brand of hockey. Martin played junior hockey before attending the University of Maine. He was a member of the 1994 U.S. Olympic hockey team that played in Lillehammer, Norway. Martin played 76 games in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

7. KEVIN SHATTENKIRK (Greenwich) Currently playing in the postseason with the St. Louis Blues, Shattenkirk starred at the  in Greenwich until he was 16-years old. He then went into the U.S. Development program where he was drafted 14th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Shattenkirk chose to attend Boston University and helped the Terriers win the national championship in 2009.

6. RYAN SHANNON (Darien) Born and raised in Darien, Shannon played prep school at The Taft School in Watertown. He starred at Boston College but was never drafted. He signed with the Anaheim Ducks and scored his first NHL goal on October 23, 2006 against the Los Angeles Kings. Shannon also played for the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators. Currently, a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

5. CAM ATKINSON (Greenwich) Atkinson prepped at before enjoying a spectacular career at Boston College. In 2009-10, Atkinson led the nation in scoring with 30 goals. During one torrid stretch, he recorded three hat-tricks in ten games. Drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Atkinson scored his first NHL goal on October 10, 2011. On April 5, 2012 he registered his first NHL hat trick against the Colorado Avalanche in a 5-2 win.

4. MAX PACIORETTY (New Canaan) NHL players born and raised in are extremely rare, but  overcame the odds to make his dream come true. He played one year for the Rams before attending The Taft School in Watertown. Pacioretty went to the University of Michigan for one year and was the 22nd player chosen in the 2007 NHL draft. Pacioretty made his debut with the Montreal Canadians on January 2, 2009, scoring his first NHL goal on his first shot against the New Jersey Devils. In 2011, Pacioretty was on the wrong end of a  suffering a fracture vertebrae in his neck. But he recovered and is a big part of the Canadians offense, scoring a hat trick for the Habs in early February.

3. JONATHAN QUICK (Milford) Born in Milford, Quick played at before transferring to Avon Old Farms. Quick went to UMass-Amherst and was a member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic hockey team. He made his NHL debut with Los Angeles Kings on December 6, 2007 against the Buffalo Sabres, earning the 8-2 victory. This season, Quick posted a goals against average of 1.95 and is considered one of the best goaltenders in he NHL. Has been outstanding in the playoffs for the Kings.

2. CHRIS DRURY (Trumbull) Drury's coming out party took place in 1989 when he led Trumbull to the Little League World Series title. Hockey became his best sport and after earning All-State honors for Fairfield Prep, he went to Boston University where he was an All-American and a two-time national champion. He also won the Hobey Baker award in 1998, which is given to the best player in college hockey. Drury was named the NHL's Rookie of the Year the next season with the Colorado Avalanche and also has his named etched on the Stanley Cup. Retired in August 2011

1. BRIAN LEETCH (Cheshire) Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Leetch is one of the greatest American-born players in NHL history. He played at  before transferring to Avon Old Farms. Leetch was also an excellent baseball player, leading the Cheshire Rams to the state championship as a sophomore. Leetch attended Boston College before embarking on an 18-year NHL career. He was a 7-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy Award winner (best defenseman) while leading the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup title in 1994.


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