With the 43rd selection of the 1982 draft, and with the third pick of the organization’s first-ever draft, the New Jersey Devils handed then 18-year-old Pat Verbeek what would become only the first of many professional hockey jerseys the Canadian would don in his 20-year-long career. The right winger was leaving behind the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL with whom he won the Emms Family Award for Rookie of the Year just one year earlier.
Five years later, Verbeek’s 46 goals in the regular season were pivotal in pushing the team to it’s first-ever playoff run; and it was a run most franchise’s could only dream of. The Devils pushed all the way to the Prince of Wales Conference finals, only to fall to the Boston Bruins in game seven.
The next year wasn’t as successful for the Devils, and after the season, Verbeek was traded to the Hartford Whalers. In his first season as a Whaler, he led the team in goals-scored and was declared the organization’s most valuable player a year later. In just three years with Hartford, Verbeek became the team captain. He spent six years with Hartford, just a year shy of his time spent with New Jersey, and in 1994 traded his Whalers jersey for the red and blue of the New York Rangers.
He spent just one full season as a Ranger before joining the Stars organization, signing on as a free agent in 1996. In his three-year stint with Dallas, Verbeek played in 241 regular season games, scored 65 goals, recorded 79 assists and spent a total of 431 minutes in the penalty box. Alongside Brett Hull, Mike Modano, Joe Nieuwendyk, Jere Lehtinen, Sergei Zubov, Darryl Sydor and Derian Hatcher, Verbeek celebrated the organization’s first Stanley Cup Championship in 1999.
He left Dallas for Detroit in 1999 though, where he recorded his 1,000th career point and scored his 500th career goal. He opted to return to Dallas in 2001, finishing out his professional career as a Star.
Since retiring from the game, Verbeek remained a part of the NHL, contributing as a part-time color analyst and talent scout for the Red Wings for eight years. In 2010, he was hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning as the director of professional scouting, and just a year later was name the organization’s Assistant General Manager.