Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman, Scott Niedermayer, will always be remembered for being one of five Devils to win all three Stanley Cup championships with the team as one of the greatest NHL blueliners of all-time.
The former 1991 first-round draft pick (third overall) also goes down in history with having one of the best rookie seasons of all-time with the Devils. It was apparent from his rookie campaign that Niedermayer was essential for New Jersey’s transformation into a legitimate Cup contender during the early 1990s.
His smooth skating abilities and smarts with and away from the puck also made him look like a veteran all-star early in his career. No. 27 for the then red and green recorded an impressive 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) during his 1992-93 rookie campaign in the Garden State.
His plus/minus rating of +8 that season ranked second among Devils’ defensemen (Scott Stevens, +14), and his 14 power play assists ranked third on the team (Bruce Driver, 18). “Dynamic,” was one way to describe Niedermayer, especially in his rookie campaign with Jersey.
What was also commendable was the fact that the Edmonton, Alberta native was just 19 at the time and he played in all 80 games that season. The reality has always been in the NHL that younger skaters who are defensemen have a tougher time transitioning to the top level, given that they take on more pressure and responsibility than forwards.
The 2003-04 Norris Trophy winner portrayed his maturity and high hockey IQ from that rookie campaign on, and while the Devils were eliminated from the first round during the Stanley Cup Playoffs that year – he still goes down as having one of the best rookie seasons in a Devils sweater.