Born December 13, 1982 (age 29) in Smithers, British Columbia, Canada
Defenseman for the Vancouver Canucks
Today is Emma’s birthday, so I found her a birthday twin! Dan’s career got off to a rocky start – a broken leg made him miss the WHL’s bantam draft, but the Prince George Cougars scooped him up. He was named the team’s scholastic player of the year two years in a row, and he helped them to the WHL finals. When he was drafted in 2001 by the Nashville Predators, he’d already been named one of the highest-ranking North American players and the best defenseman, and he was taken 12th overall. He didn’t make the Preds in his first try, so he went back to the Cougars for one last season, and he was not only named the WHL’s best defenseman and player of the year, but he was also named the CHL’s best defenseman and the team’s MVP.
The Preds signed him in 2002, but he was cut late in the preseason and sent to the Milwaukee Admirals, where he was a naughty boy early in the season and got a three-game suspension. The next year he made the team and scored his first NHL goal against the St. Louis Blues, and he had a five-point game later that season. He also helped the Preds get to the playoffs for the very first time before they were eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings. He played for the Admirals in the Year That Never Was and had a great season with the Preds when the lockout was over, but after that he seemed to slump. The Preds finally traded his rights to the Flyers in 2010, but after they couldn’t come to an agreement, they traded his rights to Pittsburgh. Alas, the Pens also failed to sign him.
Dan finally found a home with the Canucks, who signed him to a six-year deal. Almost immediately he suffered a bruised foot and sat out eight games, but when he came back he scored his first goal with Vancouver. Then in February he suffered a concussion when Ryan Getzlaf ran him into the boards, leaving him motionless on the ice for quite a while. Although the rest of the team screamed that it was a dirty hit, Dan himself said it wasn’t. Like before, he came back and scored two goals against the Phoenix Coyotes. In his leading the Canucks to the Stanley Cup finals, he suffered a sports hernia when he hipchecked Milan Lucic, and he was done for the remainder of the finals. Now, after offseason surgery, he’s back and ready to take his spot with Kevin Bieksa as a defensive paring to be reckoned with – and with 2 goals and 13 assists under his belt, he’s definitely one half of a fearsome duo.