Scott Niedermayer’s name is synonymous with success. He’s won so many championships, it’s not even worth listing them off anymore. And while he claims to have been lucky to play on such great teams, he’s the common denominator, which is why the talented defenseman is part of this year’s Hockey Hall of Fame class.
Scott Niedermayer’s name is synonymous with success. He’s won so many championships, it’s not even worth listing them off anymore. Let’s just say “all of them.” And while he claims to have been lucky to play on such great teams, he’s the common denominator, which is why the talented defenseman is part of this year’s Hockey Hall of Fame class.
It also explains why his last NHL team, the Anaheim Ducks, recruited him as an assistant coach and wouldn’t you know it? They’re tops in the NHL right now. Can Niedermayer explain their ascent?
“Great coaching,” he said, pausing for a comedic beat. “It’s a pretty deep team with a lot of young guys who are going to become really good NHL players. We’ve had a lot of injuries but we keep plugging in guys, which speaks to the organization and the scouts we have in Anaheim. And Bruce Boudreau is a guy the players love to play for. They go to the rink and really want to do well for him.”
One of those young plug-ins is rookie blueliner Hampus Lindholm, who has been excellent for the Ducks and rewarding the franchise that took him surprisingly high at sixth overall in 2012.
“The thing that stands out with Hampus is his attitude,” Niedermayer said. “Just a great, mature young guy. Willing to work hard, willing to learn. Even since the start of training camp he has progressed a lot. He’s really stepped in and played well.”
When Anaheim is really good, it’s usually because of the blueline and it's hard to forget that juggernaut team in 2007 that brought the Stanley Cup to California for the first time ever. Along with Niedermayer, that team will have at least two more Hall of Famers in the coming years when Chris Pronger and Teemu Selanne become eligible.
“Those are two of the best for sure,” Niedermayer said. “Chris was a great defenseman and I enjoyed playing with him. We played two different styles; we could be on the ice at the same time and not step on each other’s toes. Teemu was a fun guy to be around; he makes defensemen look really good. You throw him the puck and next thing you know you’ve got an assist.”
But his favorite Ducks teammate was naturally his brother, Rob Niedermayer. The pair met in the 2003 final when Scott’s New Jersey Devils beat Rob’s Ducks and that meeting stuck with Scott. The pair wanted to win a Cup together and though Scott said he contemplated changing teams earlier, he was glad things worked out how they did.
“It was interesting making that decision to go to Anaheim,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect. Were we going to compete for the Stanley Cup in one or two years? I didn’t know. Things had been good, I had come to appreciate what I had in New Jersey. Playing against each other in 2003, that hit me pretty deep, emotionally. It really wasn’t a thought three or four years prior.”
Success in the past and present, with a great post-playing future still ahead of him: that’s Scott Niedermayer, all right.