With the 55th overall pick the Kings select...
Defenseman Chris Chelios
He is considered one of the best Americans to ever play in the NHL. With the retirement of Mark Messier, Chelios has become the oldest active player in the NHL, and with the retirement of Steve Yzerman has played the most games by an active player in the NHL.
In 1984, he made the team for good, and distinguished himself with his play. He earned a trip to the National Hockey League All-Star Game and was named to the 1985 NHL All-Rookie Team. He scored 64 points in 74 games, a high total for a defenseman, even in the higher-scoring 1980s. In the playoffs that year, he scored 10 points in games, with a +17 plus/minus. Although he only played 41 games in the 1985-1986 season, he won his first Stanley Cup, playing in front of Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Roy.
Following two more good seasons, Chelios really broke out in the 1988-1989 season. He scored 73 points in 80 games at +35, was named to the All-Star First-Team, and won the James Norris Memorial Trophy.
In his first season with Chicago, he continued to score at his usual rate, tallying 64 points, and earned a spot on the Second NHL All-Star Team. After a slightly less offensively impressive season (although he had a very good playoffs), Chelios was in top form for the 1992-1993 season. He scored 73 points and won another Norris Trophy. In 1996, he would win it again. All told, he won three Norris Trophies, was named to 3 First All-Star Teams and 2 Second All-Star Teams, and played in 6 All-Star Games as a Blackhawk. He was captain of the Blackhawks from 1995 to 1999.
By 1999, though, Chelios was starting to show signs of age. At 37, his career was clearly in decline, and he was no longer the offensive and defensive force he had once been. However, even if he did not have much to offer the Blackhawks, he could still help teams with his veteran leadership and his largely-remaining talent. On March 23, he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Anders Eriksson and two first-round draft picks.
The move to Detroit, where he had fewer responsibilities and more skilled teammates, helped keep Chelios playing at close to his peak level. In 2002, his +40 plus/minus led the league, and he was again named to the First All-Star Team. He also led the United States hockey team to a silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics, and was named to the Tournament's All-Star Team. His season culminated in the Red Wings' victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Finals, giving Chelios his second Stanley Cup.
Chelios (after he retires), will surely be elected to the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible. His 19-year career has shown that he can both score and play defense. He also plays with an edge to his game, as demonstrated by his 2695 penalty minutes. In his prime he combined his offensive skills with his physical edge to win 3 Norris Trophies. Over his career, he played in 11 All-Star games and was named to 7 NHL First or Second All-Star Teams. Even with his career tapering off, he has proved that he can play an important role for a Stanley Cup-winning team. All in all, Chelios has secured a legacy as one of the most decorated Americans to ever play in the NHL, and is considered by some to be the greatest American ever to play hockey.
Chris Chelios D (Canadiens, Blackhawks, Red Wings)