FanHouse's Adam Gretz takes a look at his top 50 players in the NHL. No. 7 is Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.
At 39, I still have Lidstrom as the best defenseman in the NHL, and in my opinion, the debate shouldn't be where does he rank among the current defensemen, but where does he rank all-time? Everybody is fighting for second behind Bobby Orr, but who is next? Lidstrom? Ray Bourque? Somebody else?
Taking a look at his rankings on the all-time lists for defensemen, Lidstrom is currently 12th with 1,330 games played, seventh with 769 assists, and seventh with 997 points. He's going to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier this season, and barring injury, should be a lock to pass Brian Leetch for sixth place on the assists and points rankings.
Since the NHL started awarding the Norris Trophy to the league's top defenseman after the 1953-54 season, only 11 players have won it multiple times, and only two have won it more than Lidstrom, who has claimed it six times: Bobby Orr with eight, and Doug Harvey with seven. Lidstrom has been nominated for the award nine times, including this past season when he finished third in the voting behind Boston's Zdeno Chara and Washington's Mike Green. He's also won four Stanley Cups, and was one shot away from forcing overtime to potentially earn a fifth (admit it, when that puck came to him in Game 7 you though it was ticketed for the back of the net).
I think he slowed down a bit this season (though, not a lot), which is the only reason I don't have him in my top-five, or higher, at this point.
He's never been known as a physical player, but he earns serious tough-guy points for missing only two games with what was called a "nearly catastrophic testicle injury."
There's still one more Red Wing to go, and I'm curious to hear from Detroit fans on who they feel is the best player on the team heading into next season. Do you still consider it to be Lidstrom? Or would you take this guy? Or perhaps even Henrik Zetterberg?
And for your obligatory YouTube video...