Last night, the National Hockey League celebrated part of their centennial celebration at the NHL All-Star Weekend festivities by naming the 100 greatest players in league history. Among those names were three players very closely associated with the New Jersey Devils: Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer.
Brodeur is probably the player mostly associated with New Jersey on this list. He played from 1992 to 2014 with the Devils after having been drafted by the Devils in 1990. He finished his career in St. Louis with the Blues, where he currently serves as Assistant General Manager. In his time with the Devils, he backstopped the team to three Stanley Cups and five Stanley Cup Finals appearances. He is the NHL leader in wins (691) and shutouts (125). He won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie four times.
Stevens captained the Devils to their three Stanley Cup championships and was a punishing force on the blue line for 13 years with the Devils (he also played eight years with the Washington Capitals and one year with the St. Louis Blues). Although he never won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, he was named the 2000 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as most valuable player of the Stanley Cup playoffs. He is also ranked 13th all-time in the NHL with a career plus-393 plus/minus rating. He is currently an assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild.
Niedermayer, although drafted by the Devils in 1991 and playing the bulk of his 18-year career with the Devils (13 years with New Jersey), will probably be identified best with the Devils and another team. He played five years with the Anaheim Ducks, where he captained them to a Stanley Cup in 2007. But he was also a member of all three of the Devils Stanley Cup wins. A winner at every level – he won the Memorial Cup with the Kamloops Blazers and an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada to go along with those four Stanley Cups – he was also the winner of the Norris Trophy in 2004 with the Devils and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2007 with Anaheim. Known for his blazing speed and elegant skating ability, he will perhaps best be known amongst Devils fans for his end-to-end goal in game two of the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit. He currently serves as a coach on the Anaheim Ducks’ staff.
In addition to those three players best known as Devils, four other players who played with the organization were named to the list: Peter Stastny, Brendan Shanahan, Joe Nieuwendyk and Jaromir Jagr (who is still active with the Florida Panthers). Also on the list (as players) were former Stanley Cup-winning Devils coaches Jacques Lemaire and Larry Robinson.
Congratulations to these players and all of the other players who made the NHL’s 100 greatest list.
In other All-Star news, players have been assigned to the Skills Competition events and Devils representative Taylor Hall will be skating as the third shooter representing the Metropolitan Division in the Honda NHL Four Line Challenge. He will be taking two shots from the far blue line and will try to score in one of the four corners of the net or the five hole. He will be shooting with Vincent Trocheck (Florida Panthers – Atlantic Division), PK Subban (Nashville Predators – Central Divison) and Ryan Kesler (Anaheim Ducks – Pacific Division). Other Metro Division shooters in this event are Ryan McDonagh (first shooter, New York Rangers), Wayne Simmonds (second shooter, Philadelphia Flyers) and Seth Jones (fourth shooter, Columbus Blue Jackets).