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:

Lidstrom’s stats:

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);
    • 26:54 ATOI (since 1998-99);
    • 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 Swedish players)
  • Among defencemen, Lidstrom is 18th All Time in GPG, 16th in APG and 17th in PPG
  • 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 (since 2007-08):
    • 56.1% Corsi For (9th, min 250 games between 2007-08 and 2011-12)
    • 1% Relative Corsi For
    • 56.1% Fenwick For (10th, same qualifier)
    • 0.9% Relative Fenwick For
  • Playoffs: 54G, 129A (5th All Time) for 183P (12th), +61 (8th) in 263 games (2nd)
  • Adjusted:
  • Hockey Reference:
    • 286G, 918A (16th All Time) for 1204P
    • Adjusted 82-game average: 15G, 48A for 63P
    • Adjusted PPG:
      • Lidstrom is not in the Top 25 for All Time Adjusted PPG if the qualifier is set to 1250 games (He would be in the Top 25 if the qualifier was set to 1500 games simply because only 18 players have managed that many NHL games)
    • Vsx:
  • Never traded.

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 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:
    • Top 5 in Assists three times, Top 10 five times
    • 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)
  • Top 5 in Plus/Minus five times, Top 10 six times
  • 1st Team All Star eleven times, 1s Team All Rookie, 2nd Team twice
  • 11 All Star Appearances
  • Rookie of the Month twice
  • Monthly 3rd Star once
  • Weekly 3rd Star twice
  • VsX:

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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