Scott Niedermayer was welcomed home on Friday night by the Anaheim Ducks in a special pregame ceremony. The Ducks honored the 18 year National Hockey League veteran and newly enshrined Hall of Fame defenseman. Scott Niedermayer was captain and key player on the Anaheim Ducks 2007 Stanley Cup Championship winning team.
Niedermayer is not only arguably one of the best defenseman to ever play this game, he may be one of the best all around players ever! He is one of the most decorated players in the history of hockey. Let’s recall some of his career highlights:
1991 - World Junior Championship Gold Medal - Team Canada
1992 – Memorial Cup Championship – Kamloop Blazers
1994-1995 – Stanley Cup Championship – New Jersey Devils
1996 - World Cup of Hockey Silver Medal – Team Canada
1999-2000- Stanley Cup Championship – New Jersey Devils
2002-2003 – Stanley Cup Championship New Jersey Devils
2002 – Olympic Gold Medal – Team Canada
2004 - World Cup of Hockey Gold Medal – Team Canada
2004 – World Championships Gold Medal – Team Canada
2007 – Stanley Cup Championship – Anaheim Ducks
2010 – Olympic Gold Medal - Team Canada
Not only did he achieve team championships, he also received numerous individual accolades. He was a five time NHL All-star. He was named MVP of the 1991 Memorial Cup. He was awarded the James Norris Memorial Trophy in the 2003-2004 season as top defenseman in the NHL. He topped it off winning the Conn Smyth Trophy in 2007 as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What I, and probably so many others, recall about Niedermayer, was his effortless skating style which was a thing of beauty to watch. His ability to skate enabled him to contribute as a defenseman on the offensive end of the ice. Watching him, you could just see how smart he was as a player. His vision and play making ability on the first pass allowed him to create countless scoring chances. His skating was also a huge factor in allowing him to recover on plays in the defensive zone that other players could only dream of breaking up.
The crowning achievement to his career is his induction into the National Hockey League Hall of Fame. A spot reserved for only the best players to ever play this game, which without a doubt Niedermayer is most deserving of.
So where do you think Niedermayer stacks up with other players, should he be considered one of the best ever? Let us know with your comments.
(thanks to NHL.com for the stats)