Dom Lunardo | April 30th, 2020
Next up in our “Blast from the Past” series is a Hall of Fame defenseman. Graceful, intelligent, smooth-skating, soft-spoken, and a heck of a hockey player. These are just some of the many words used to describe NHL legend and Hall-of-Fame defenseman, Scott Niedermayer.
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Draft: 3rd overall, 1991, New Jersey Devils
NHL Clubs: New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks
NHL All-Star Game Appearances: 4
4-Time Stanley Cup Winner: 1995, 2000, 2003 (New Jersey), 2007 (Anaheim)
Hall-of-Fame Inductee: 2013
Throughout his illustrious 18-year career, Niedermayer only played for two franchises, a rarity in today’s game. He played for the New Jersey Devils, where he resided from 1991-2004, and the Anaheim Ducks from 2005-2010. Let’s take a look back at the storied career of Scott Niedermayer, widely regarded as one of the most talented and seldom-talked about defensemen of all-time.
Scott Niedermayer was born in Edmonton, Alberta but spent most of his childhood in Cranbrook, British Columbia. Along with his brother, Rob, who would also enjoy a career in the pros, the two grew up playing hockey and honing their skills alongside one another. Scott’s mother, Carol, taught figure skating, and passed her knowledge of edgework, balance, and finesse onto both of her boys.
Niedermayer was in the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 1989 with the Kamloops Blazers and was named to the WHL’s All-Star Team as a rookie. As a 16-year-old in “The Dub”, Niedermayer learned the importance of preparation and what it took both mentally and physically to make the next step. Two seasons later, Niedermayer would go on to win both the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy and the Canadian Hockey League’s Scholastic Player of the Year Award. Niedermayer’s success at the junior level garnered him a top prospect for the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, where the New Jersey Devils selected him in the first round, third overall. A career in the NHL was launched, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Scotty “Winner” Niedermayer
Success usually followed Niedermayer, who is widely regarded as one of the most colorful and successful players in NHL history. For starters, Niedermayer is only one of 11 Canadian-born players to be a part of the “Triple Gold Club”. Membership in such a prestigious group requires the player to win an Olympic Gold Medal (which he won in 2002 and 2010), IIHF World Championship (2004), and of course the holy-grail, Stanley Cup (1995, 2000, 2003, and 2007). Niedermayer joined the likes of Rob Blake, Joe Sakic, Brendan Shanahan, Chris Pronger, Eric Staal, Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry, and Jay Bouwmeester, which is quite the honor, to say the least.
Niedermayer won the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 2004 as the NHL’s best defenseman. He found ways to get the job done on the ice and lead his team to victory regardless of where he played. His guile, smarts, and experience on full display during each of his pinnacles to the very top of hockey royalty.
Scott Niedermayer: The Player
As a player, Scott Niedermayer could do it all from the blue-line. From the time he broke into the NHL, fans adored his skating ability and his offensive mindset. Coupled with a keen eye in the defensive zone he could create offense almost effortlessly. On a Devils team that’s traditionally very defensive-minded/oriented, Niedermayer’s offensive flair and ability to jump into the play was a welcome addition. His game was not flashy, but he was as consistent as they come, and his coaches and teammates knew they could rely and count on his performance.
Niedermayer was quiet on the ice and often allowed his strong play to do the talking for him. He could facilitate a power-play, log long, hard minutes, and play in any situation. When his team needed results, Niedermayer took it upon himself to make a sound defensive play. He could turn defense to offense in the blink of an eye. This often translated to wins, accolades, and team success for both the Devils and Ducks.
Scott Niedermayer will go down in history as one of the most talented, well-respected, and revered players in hockey. When we look back at his career, hockey fans from far and wide will remember how he played the game, what he accomplished, and just how skilled he was. A proven winner, Niedermayer’s induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame is perhaps his greatest accomplishment along with winning the Stanley Cup with his brother Rob, back in the spring of 2007 with Anaheim. From humble beginnings, Niedermayer developed into one of the top defensemen in NHL history who carried a wide array of skills both on and off the ice. Fans of the National Hockey League will always remember the greatness that was, Scott Niedermayer.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images