D, Scott Niedermayer: 1991-2004
If there was an NHL defenseman you wanted to build a franchise around, his name would be near the top.
Niedermayer’s career was synonymous with winning. He won at every level of hockey: juniors, NHL, and international competitions.
There aren’t enough words to do the Hall of Famer justice. Sometimes you just have to watch and take in the sights and sounds of a player to fully understand. And if you were one of the lucky ones to see him grace the ice in person, you have a better appreciation of his contributions on the ice.
Niedermayer spent 13 seasons with the Devils, being drafted third overall in 1991. He would spend the next 13 seasons helping the team to three Stanley Cup championships.
He leads all New Jersey defensemen in points (476), goals (112), and assists (364). All while playing in 892 games for the franchise.
In an article in 2013, NHL.com published an article to celebrate his induction into Hockey Hall of Fame with fellow defenseman Chris Chelios. In it, Niedemayer’s former coach Larry Robinson had this to say of his former pupil:
Nieder thought the game so well and he thought the game differently than other people did, and you never want to change a guy’s skills and he had great skills
Fellow Hockey Hall of Famer and Rangers great Brian Leetch described Niedermayer as:
…as the one of the most underrated defensemen when I was watching him come up because he was playing in the most defensive system
Well, that’s all changed when his Niedermayer’s induction. His storid career was all verified in 2013 and remains one of the measuring sticks to today’s NHL defensemen.