Is Nicklas Lidstrom the 2nd Best Defenseman of All Time?

If you judge strictly on the basis of Norris Trophy wins, Nicklas Lidstrom is the second best NHL defenseman of all time.

Obviously Norris wins are not the only criteria we should use when evaluating NHL D, so in this episode we look at his entire career and try to figure out where he ranks all time.

Listen to us talk about Nick Lidstrom here:

Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Frank Foyston

Nicklas Lidstrom’s Career

  • NHL: 1991-2012; 20 seasons, all quality
  • Totals:
    • 264G (8th Defenceman All Time),
    • 878A (22nd All Time, 6th D, 1st Swede) for
    • 1142P (6th D, 3rd Swede),
    • +450 (8th All Time, 6th D, 1st Swede) in
    • 1564 games (12th All Time, 5th D, 1st Swede);
    • 211.8 PS (6th All Time, 2nd D, 1st Swede)
    • Lidstrom is 3rd All Time in Defensive Point Shares behind only Bourque and Stevens (1st Swede, obviously)
    • Lidstrom is 4th All Time among defenseman in Offensive Point Shares (he has the 3rd most OPS among all Swedish players)
  • Per Game: Among defencemen, Lidstrom is
    • 18th All Time in GPG,
    • 16th in APG and
    • 17th in PPG;
    • 26:54 ATOI (since 1998-99)
  • In his draft year (1989), Lidstrom, is
    • 6th in Goals
    • 1st in Assists, Plus/Minus and Games Played
    • 3rd in Points
    • Despite being drafted 53rd overall
  • Era: Lidstrom is the only player to play in at least 1500 games between 1991 and 2012 so, of the 13 players to play in at least 1250 games between 1991 and 2012, Lidstrom is
    • 10th in Goals and GPG
    • 2nd in Assists
    • 4th in APG
    • 6th in Points and OPS
    • 8th in PPG
    • 1st in Plus/Minus, DPS and PS
  • 82-game average: 14G, 46A for 60P, +24; 11.1 PS
  • 3-year peak (2005-08): 82-game average of 13G, 60A for 74P, +35; 27:27 ATOI; 14 PS
  • Possession (min 250 games between 2007-08 and 2011-12):
    • 56.1% Corsi For (9th)
    • 1% Relative Corsi For
    • 56.1% Fenwick For (10th)
    • 0.9% Relative Fenwick For
  • Playoffs:
    • 54G,
    • 129A (5th All Time) for
    • 183P (12th),
    • +61 (8th) in
    • 263 games (2nd)
    • Per Game: Among D, Lidstrom is
      • 9th All Time in playoff GPG
      • 16th All Time in playoff PPG
    • Era: Of the 59 D to play in at least 82 playoff games between 1991 and 2012, Lidstrom is
      • 1st in playoff Goals (by nearly double)
      • 2nd in playoff GPG
      • 1st in playoff Assists (by over 30)
      • 9th in playoff APG
      • 1st in playoff Points (by over 60)
      • 4th in playoff PPG
      • 1st in playoff Plus/Minus (by nearly 20)
      • 1st in playoff Games
  • Adjusted:
    • Hockey Reference:
      • 286G,
      • 918A (16th All Time) for
      • 1204P
      • Adjusted 82-game average: 15G, 48A for 63P (+3P per 82 games)
      • Per Game: Among D, Lidstrom is
        • 16th All Time in Adjusted GPG
        • 9th All time in Adjusted APG
        • 8th All Time in Adjusted PPG
    • VsX:
      • Goals: doesn’t qualify
      • 986A (23rd All Time)
      • 1102P
      • Per Game: Doesn’t qualify
  • Never traded.

Nicklas Lidstrom’s Accomplishments

  • 7 Norris Trophies (‘01, ‘02, ‘03, ‘06, ‘07, ‘08, ‘11) – tied for 2nd most ever behind Orr
  • Top 5 in Norris voting a further six times
  • Conn Smythe (‘02)
  • Top 5 in Calder voting
  • Back Check MVP (’02, ’06)
  • Top Player:
    • Top 5 Player (by PS) once (‘08),
    • Top 10 Player six times (‘00, ‘01, ‘03, ‘06, ‘07)
    • Best Defensive Player (by DPS) twice (‘07, ‘08),
    • Top 5 six times (‘96, ‘01, ‘03, ‘06, ‘10),
    • Top 10 fourteen times (‘92, ‘98, ‘99, ‘00, ‘02, ‘04, ‘09)
  • Goals:
    • Scored 20 goals once,
    • 15 goals nine times (1 of only 9 D ever)
  • Assists:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in Assists three times,
      • Top 10 five times
    • APG leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in APG once,
      • Top 10 three times
    • Total single-seasons:
      • Tallied 60 assists twice (1 of only 14 D ever),
      • 50 assists six times (1 of only 9 D),
      • 40 assists sixteen times (1 of only 2 D ever, other is Bourque)
  • Points:
    • Scored 18 points once (1 of only 18 D ever),
    • scored 70 points four times (1 of only 12 D ever),
    • scored 60 points nine times (1 of only 7 D ever),
    • scored 50 points fifteen times (1 of only 3 D – Bourque and Coffey are the others)
  • Plus Minus:
    • Top 5 in Plus/Minus five times -4th most ever
    • Top 10 six times – tied 6th most ever
  • All Star:
    • 1st Team All Star ten times – tied 2nd most ever
    • 2nd Team twice
    • 1st Team All Rookie
    • 11 All Star Appearances
    • Monthly Star:
      • Rookie of the Month twice
      • Monthly 3rd Star once
    • Weekly Star:
      • Weekly 3rd Star twice
  • VsX Peak:
    • Best 7 Seasons:
      • Goals: doesn’t qualify
      • Assists: 59th All Time
      • Points: 196th All Time
    • Best 10 Seasons:
      • Goals: doesn’t qualify
      • Assists: 55th All Time
      • Points: 172nd All Time

Nicklas Lidstrom’s Great Teams

  • NHL:
    • Best Player (won MVP) on one Champion (‘02 Wings),
    • Best Skater on one Final Four (‘07 Wings),
    • Best D (led playoffs in Plus/Minus) on one Champion (‘98 Wings),
    • Best D on one Champion (‘08 Wings) and one Runner Up (‘09 Wings),
    • Best D (by points and Plus/Minus) on one Final Four (‘96 Wings),
    • Top 2 D (by points) on one Champion (‘97 Wings) and one Runner Up (‘95 Wings)
  • Olympics:
    • Top 2??? D (Media All Star but his partner was given the “Best Defenceman” award) on one Olympic Champion (‘06 Sweden)
  • World Cup:
    • Top 2? D (by points) on one World Cup semi-finalist (‘96 Sweden)
  • World Championships:
    • Best D??? (by points) on one World Champion (‘91 Sweden),
    • Top 4? D (by points) on one World Champion Bronze (‘94 Sweden),
    • Injured? on one World Championship Runner Up (‘04 Sweden).

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