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Hammer Time 09-21-2013 05:26 PM

Niedermayer vs Chara
 
Who has been the better player over the course of their career?

(for the purposes of the poll assume Chara never plays another game)

Niedermayer gets a lot of press for his great peak and his team accomplishments. As the years pass on and Chara is still a world-class defenceman, I'm starting to think the consistency makes up for Niedermayer's advantages. Oh, and the Bruins have a Cup and a finals appearence, so even the "choker" tag can't really be put on Chara anymore.

gudzilla 09-21-2013 05:32 PM

didn't chara get going when he was way older? i think niedermayer is the choice here, even if i think chara has been one of the best defensemen the last bunch of years

being able to use his size and play that solidly with his gigantic stature is one of the ages

ot92s 09-21-2013 07:25 PM

don't make me chuckle. chara.

vadim sharifijanov 09-21-2013 08:43 PM

instinct says niedermayer, but upon thinking about it for a second, tough call.

niedermayer came in at, what, 19? and was pretty good from the beginning. but he'd played 10 years, and won two cups, before he really became elite.

chara, on the other hand, becomes a regular at 21, and looks like he doesn't belong in the league for the first couple of years, learning on the job with decent minutes on a terrible islanders team. doesn't hit "pretty good" level until year four, but is elite by year five or six. by this point, chara has six post-season all-star selections to niedermayer's four.

i call this one a draw at this point. niedermayer has the longer career, the fuller playoff portfolio, and obviously the better offensive player at his peak. but chara has the longer peak. we're talking five years of niedermayer playing at an extremely high level vs. nine years of chara playing at just as high a level. the only thing that keeps niedermayer in the conversation is chara hasn't had an '03 playoffs. i put '11 chara in the same league as '07 niedermayer, but '03 was something else.

Sentinel 09-21-2013 09:41 PM

Niedermeyer

VanIslander 09-21-2013 10:02 PM

Two different styles... each marginal top-30 all-time... slight edge in '13 to Niedermayer.

Chara has been more dominant in particular games, but overall, Scott has a clear edge.

Isn't Pronger better compared to Chara? Niedermayer to Leetch?

Big Phil 09-22-2013 12:24 AM

First off, we have to remember one thing about Niedermayer that no one remembers. It took him until about 30 years old before he became elite. It happened in the 2003 playoffs. Then he won the Norris in 2004 and was a first teamer in 2006 and 2007 and then fell off a cliff after he won the Cup that spring. In reality, we are looking at perhaps a 4-5 year window of truly elite hockey for him. Not bad, and not something that should have ever kept him out of the HHOF, but Chara has been elite for a decade now. Niedermayer never had that.

We waited for so long to see Niedermayer combine his hockey sense with his skating. People don't remember this, but Niedermayer was very much like the way we think of Jay Bouwmeester today. A talented defenseman who is the last person who realizes just how good he can be. Eventually Niedermayer caught onto this though. But he was also 30 before we saw a consistent effort.

Chara took a few years to break out, but he did it long before his 30th birthday. Not to mention he's been elite for a longer period of time. While Niedermayer won more Cups, the truth is anyone who watched those Devils teams knew Stevens was the most important player and defenseman. No one questioned whether or not Chara was the best defenseman in 2011 or 2013. Many have questioned why Pronger didn't win the Conn Smythe in 2007 over Niedermayer.

Let's also talk about defense. Niedermayer was worse defensively than Chara. He didn't play an error-free defensive game like people tend to believe. He was very prone to mistakes at times, he nearly costs Canada hockey supremacy in 2010 by coughing the puck up in front of Luongo just before the Crosby Golden goal. But what do we remember? The fact that he was on the ice for the goal, that's it. He would often make me nervous on that ice and he never had as much of a commanding presence as we see with Chara. There wasn't the ability to take control of the pace of the game like we see with Chara.

So for me, I'll take Chara, especially considering the intimidation and physical play.

By the way, Niedermayer was certainly not comparable to Brian Leetch. No way. Leetch could literally control the ice with his rushing and was always a threat to do this. Not to mention he had as good of hockey smarts as Niedermayer too. He was far better offensively and Niedermayer never had a season as good as his best, or a playoff as good at Leetch's best (1994).

seventieslord 09-22-2013 12:32 AM

I'm taking Chara. Dude's got as many all star teams as Horton and Stevens now!

kmad 09-22-2013 02:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seventieslord (Post 71396681)
I'm taking Chara. Dude's got as many all star teams as Horton and Stevens now!

In a weaker era...

Paul4587 09-22-2013 06:09 AM

I think Chara has closed the gap considerably in the past couple of years but I'm still leaning towards Niedermayer.

TAnnala 09-22-2013 06:30 AM

Chara. Nieds was great, but I often feel like he wasn't the best option for true #1 D.

In my books Niedermayer is one of the best #2 D ever. Chara is elite #1. Close call, but the giant is my choise.

Hardyvan123 09-22-2013 10:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VanIslander (Post 71390361)
Two different styles... each marginal top-30 all-time... slight edge in '13 to Niedermayer.

Chara has been more dominant in particular games, but overall, Scott has a clear edge.

Isn't Pronger better compared to Chara? Niedermayer to Leetch?

tend to agree with this and have Nieds ahead, by quite a bit actually, he was better earlier and missed a peak season to the lockout as well which needs to be considered here.

Chara also misses that season but was also playing at a lower level (not much lower but enough) before and after the lockout than Nieds was.

Chara has a chance to catch up but Nieds was too good for too long for him to make up the difference at this point.

Terry Yake 09-22-2013 10:15 AM

definitely niedermayer for now but chara has closed the gap in recent years and is not too far off. i'd still take pronger over chara at this point though

niedermayer and chara- two completely different styled players

Sentinel 09-22-2013 10:26 AM

I think it's close, but Nieds has always been a winner. To me that matters. I don't care how many mistakes he made: his team always won.

Peak height-wise, I think they are about equal. Prime-wise, also about the same. But career-wise Nieds kills Chara.

begbeee 09-22-2013 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 (Post 71401883)
tend to agree with this and have Nieds ahead, by quite a bit actually, he was better earlier and missed a peak season to the lockout as well which needs to be considered here.

Chara also misses that season but was also playing at a lower level (not much lower but enough) before and after the lockout than Nieds was.

Chara has a chance to catch up but Nieds was too good for too long for him to make up the difference at this point.

Oh come on...! Nieds wins the Norris trophy while Chara is his runner-up and you call it a "lower level"? Really? :help:

In fact, they both emerged as the true elite defensmen in the same season - the difference is Chara was about 27 and Nieds about 31 years old.

Lockout hurts them in the same way.

Hardyvan123 09-22-2013 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by begbeee (Post 71402353)
Oh come on...! Nieds wins the Norris trophy while Chara is his runner-up and you call it a "lower level"? Really? :help:

In fact, they both emerged as the true elite defensmen in the same season - the difference is Chara was about 27 and Nieds about 31 years old.

Lockout hurts them in the same way.

I looked at both seasons , not just one, the year before and after

03-04 Norris
Scott Niedermayer, NJD 872 (72-13-10-3-2)
Zdeno Chara, OTT 563 (19-36-16-11-8)
Chris Pronger, STL 345 (7-19-16-17-11)
Bryan McCabe, TOR 189 (1-12-10-10-15)
Adrian Aucoin, NYI 166 (2-3-12-16-17)
Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 165 (1-6-10-19-6)

05-06 Norris
1. Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 1,152 (91-28-8-2-0)
2. Scott Niedermayer, ANA 817 (29-57-16-15-3)
3. Sergei Zubov, DAL 464 (0-21-42-31-14)
4. Zdeno Chara, OTT 430 (5-14-35-30-17)
5. Wade Redden, OTT 115 (0-1-12-12-12)
6. Mathieu Schneider, DET 111 (4-5-1-4-19)


The Hart voting further amplifies the point that , at least in the voters minds, there was still quite a gap between Nieds and Chara.

As a note Zubov had a superb season in 06 and wasn't treated very well by the voters, maybe partly due to reputation not sure.

begbeee 09-22-2013 12:43 PM

Yeah, of course, Chara still had to prove that 2004 was not a fluke, while Niedermayer was somehow proven by his SCs and was somehow viewed as the next big canadian thing in defense (excellent character, not like Pronger).

Chara then went on the road of leading the new squad from bottom to top, quite successfully with hindsight. On the other hand, Nieds - outside of brief time - never was true #1 defensman, or better said, never was put in a such role.
__
I know Islanders years are often viewed as not so relevant when discussing Chara's career, but..sure, as a rookie he was maybe the worst defensman in the league. Not so much later - certainly during his last Manhattan season, he was established as very good stay-at-home D.

TheDevilMadeMe 09-22-2013 12:47 PM

It's tough to say. I think Niedermayer peaked a little higher, and he has a pretty large playoffs advantage still. I think Chara was good in 2011, but not as good as either of Nieds' big years (2003, 2007). And outside of Nieds' big years, he was generally good in the playoffs, even as a support player (and make no mistake, he was a support player in 1995, 2000, and 2001). But Chara had a reputation of routinely underperforming in the playoffs for most of his career. Don't forget that Ottawa chose to keep Redden over Chara, largely because of how they performed in the playoffs.... obviously the two players went in completely different directions after that.

All that said, Chara has a pretty substantial advantage over Niedermayer in terms of longevity as an elite player by now, and I think it's enough to give him a clear advantage in the regular season. Any regular season peak advantage that Niedermayer has isn't THAT big.

Big Phil 09-22-2013 02:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 (Post 71401883)
tend to agree with this and have Nieds ahead, by quite a bit actually, he was better earlier and missed a peak season to the lockout as well which needs to be considered here.

Chara also misses that season but was also playing at a lower level (not much lower but enough) before and after the lockout than Nieds was.

Chara has a chance to catch up but Nieds was too good for too long for him to make up the difference at this point.

I'm just wondering where the whole idea that Niedermayer was "too good for too long" came about. He took forever to break out as an elite defenseman.

Not to mention, while we credit him for his Stanley Cups, the truth is there were 4 times he went to the final with the Devils. 1995 was what we thought was a coming out party for him with 11 points. It didn't happen, it took him years later for him to get to an elite level. Then the other playoff years with a final appearance:

2000 - 5-2-7 points
2001 - 0-6-6 points
2003 - 2-16-18 points

Only in 2003 did we finally see him reach the level we assumed he could get to years earlier. In 2000 or 2001 who was the better defenseman on New Jersey and the one teams feared the most? Stevens. Not even close by the way. Stevens was the man. Niedermayer put up pedestiran offensive totals despite not necessarily being the strongest defensively at that time. From 2003 to 2007 he played elite hockey, but his reputation gave him more of the benefit of the doubt than he deserved. He was far from "the man" on defense for those Cups.

If I had to pick a #1 defenseman on my team I'd lose sleep if I picked Niedermayer over what Chara could bring to the table.

vadim sharifijanov 09-22-2013 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Big Phil (Post 71411675)
I'm just wondering where the whole idea that Niedermayer was "too good for too long" came about. He took forever to break out as an elite defenseman.

Not to mention, while we credit him for his Stanley Cups, the truth is there were 4 times he went to the final with the Devils. 1995 was what we thought was a coming out party for him with 11 points. It didn't happen, it took him years later for him to get to an elite level. Then the other playoff years with a final appearance:

2000 - 5-2-7 points
2001 - 0-6-6 points
2003 - 2-16-18 points

Only in 2003 did we finally see him reach the level we assumed he could get to years earlier. In 2000 or 2001 who was the better defenseman on New Jersey and the one teams feared the most? Stevens. Not even close by the way. Stevens was the man. Niedermayer put up pedestiran offensive totals despite not necessarily being the strongest defensively at that time. From 2003 to 2007 he played elite hockey, but his reputation gave him more of the benefit of the doubt than he deserved. He was far from "the man" on defense for those Cups.

If I had to pick a #1 defenseman on my team I'd lose sleep if I picked Niedermayer over what Chara could bring to the table.

i'd say he was absolutely "the man" -- period -- in '03.

seventieslord 09-22-2013 03:39 PM

Stevens had 9 points in 2003. Does anyone know how many more points niedermayer got just from getting that PP time that Stevens didn't?

jcbio11 09-22-2013 03:53 PM

Chara. That Bruins squad (as good as they are) gets nowhere without him. He is the one member of that team who is completely irreplaceable. Heck, they even replaced Thomas and still made it to the finals.

vadim sharifijanov 09-22-2013 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seventieslord (Post 71414033)
Stevens had 9 points in 2003. Does anyone know how many more points niedermayer got just from getting that PP time that Stevens didn't?

it's not just about points. that team won the cup on the back of its transition game. niedermayer was the catalyst behind that transition game. he was phenomenal that spring: so technically sound defensively, causing turnovers then skating the puck enough to create an odd-man situation before making the perfect outlet. it was like clockwork. to me, that's when niedermayer finally escaped the shadow of his draft projections and that bobby orr-like end-to-end rush against detroit in the '95 finals and showed what he really was at his best: just an extremely efficient two-way defenseman who can stop the opposition and then skate or pass the puck out of danger almost every time. like a rich man's '10 duncan keith. so smart, never pushed a play that wasn't there, and totally the motor of that team, without which the team would have fallen apart.


but to answer the question, time on ice/per game among the devils' top four D:

nieds 26:06
rafalski 25:46
stevens 24:44
white 22:01

PP TOI/G

nieds 4:05
rafalski 3:37
[tverdovsky 2:29]
stevens 1:20
[albelin 0:57]
white 0:45

* note: tverdovsky and albelin only played 15 and 16 games, respectively, vs. the full 24

SH TOI/G

stevens 2:53
rafalski 2:12
niedermayer 2:08
white 1:50


ES TOI/G

stevens 20:30
rafalski 19:56
niedermayer 19:52
white 19:25


PP points

niedermayer 7
rafalski 6
[tverdovsky 2]
stevens 1
white 0


ES points

niedermayer 11
stevens 8
white 5
rafalski 4


SH points

rafalski 1
niedermayer, stevens, white 0

Big Phil 09-22-2013 05:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov (Post 71412295)
i'd say he was absolutely "the man" -- period -- in '03.

Yes, 2003 he was. Not in 1995, 2000 or 2001. Not for those who watched it either because this was Stevens' team. That was my point, he didn't really break out until 2003 in the postseason. He didn't even have a great 2003 regular season. But overall if you were going to ask who was the "main man" on defense on the Devils for those Cups it is Stevens first and then Niedermayer. The rest of those Cup runs were Stevens-led.

TheDevilMadeMe 09-22-2013 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Big Phil (Post 71417711)
Yes, 2003 he was. Not in 1995, 2000 or 2001. Not for those who watched it either because this was Stevens' team. That was my point, he didn't really break out until 2003 in the postseason. He didn't even have a great 2003 regular season. But overall if you were going to ask who was the "main man" on defense on the Devils for those Cups it is Stevens first and then Niedermayer. The rest of those Cup runs were Stevens-led.

I don't even think Niedermayer was second for most of the Cup runs. In 2001, Rafalski was definitely #2 behind Stevens and you could make an argument that he was in 2000, as well. 1995 was kind of tossup between Daneyko, Niedermayer, and even Shawn Chambers as the 2nd most important Devils defenseman in the playoffs.


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