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09-30-2013, 11:36 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Halifax
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Look, I'll even cherry pick things for you. 1995-'00 here were the highest scoring defensemen in the NHL. This is before Niedermayer missed 25 games in 2000-'01. It still doesn't scream "elite" to me and there weren't any signs of him breaking out for good then either.

Lidstrom - 313
Leetch - 294
Bourque - 289
Zubov - 259
Duchesne - 210
15th Niedermayer - 209

He was still considerably far back from the truly offensive elite. Less than Svehla, Numminen. Barely more than Kevin Hatcher and Boris Mironov. Lumme had the same PPG as he did during this time. That sort of corroborates the way I was looking at things. He wasn't showing signs of coming of age.

To top it off, despite being on a strict defensive system in New Jersey he wasn't as good defensively as people like to remember at that time. He had breakdowns.

Throw all that together, the eye test, the memory test, his offensive numbers, his Norris finishes pre-2004 and it ties into what I remember so much about him at that time, he was a tease with his talent and he didn't show it to the world at the time.
If you really want to cherry pick, Niedermayer had almost exactly the same PPG as Leetch and Zubov (the "offensively elite"), and only about 7 points over 82 games away from the pace of guys like Blake, Gonchar, Bourque, Ozolinsh, and Housley while under Ftorek(/Robinson), leading up to the injuries, and the Devils were still a 100 point team with a Cup to show for it in the end.

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