Thursday, December 07, 2006

Future Hall of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk Retires

Future Hall of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk announced retirement last night. He is a player who had an extraordinary career and should be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2010 when he gains eligibility. He is the first retirement of a future hall of famer since Dave Andreychuck. Joe Nieuwendyk was born in Oshawa, Ontario on September 10th, 1966. He was raised in Whitby, Ontario and grew up in the Ontario Minor Hockey System. He is the first player that has made my hall of fame list while this blog has existed to announce retirement.

Nieuwendyk went to Cornell University to further his education and continue his hockey career. After a freshman year where he scored 45 points in 29 games and won the ECAC rookie of the year, Calgary drafted him in the second round 27th overall. Nieuwendyk returned for his sophomore year wher he improved to 54 points and made the NCAA first all star team and the ECAC first all star team. In his junior year, while limited to only 23 games he scored 52 points and again made both the ECAC and NCAA first all star teams and was named ECAC player of the year. Calgary liked what they saw and offered him an NHL contract to leave school a year early.

In Calgary he scored 6 points in his 9 games and earned a regular shift in the playoffs where he put up 4 more points on 6 playoff games. The next season (1987/88), he scored 51 goals as a rookie (only the second rookie ever to accomplish that feat - Mike Bossy being the first). He played in his first of four NHL all star games and won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. In 1989, he followed that up with another 51 goal season and a Stanley Cup. Nieuwendyk remained a star in Calgary until 1995, where he continually was among the top goal scorers in the team (and in the league in general). In 1995, he also won the King Clancy Trophy for charitable contributions.

In the 1995/96 season, an injured Nieuwendyk was trade to Dallas for junior player Jarome Iginla and Corey Millen. In Dallas, he remained a star and represented Canada in the 1998 Olympics. In 1999, he won his second Stanley Cup, this time as a member of the Dallas Stars. He led the playoffs with 11 goals and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. In 2002, he was again chosen to represent Canada in the Olympics and won a gold medal. At the trade deadline, he was traded to New Jersey with Jamie Langenbrunner for Randy McKay, Jason Arnott and a first round pick (which was eventually traded to Buffalo and used for Daniel Paille).

In New Jersey, Nieuwendyk won his third Stanley Cup in 2003. This time with New Jersey.

Nieuwendyk moved on as a free agent and spent 2003/04 in Toronto playing in front of his hometown fans.

After the lockout, Nieuwendyk moved on as a free agent again. This time he played with Florida. Even at the age of 39, he was the second highest scorer on the team. This season his recurring back problems caught up to him. He was limited to 15 games (in his team's first 29). Nieuwendyk was forced into retirement by his doctor's orders.

Nieuwendyk retires as the 19th highest goal scorer ever with 564 goals. He also had 562 career assists for a total of 1126 career points.

Nieuwendyk was a very good goal scorer. He has a fast accurate wristshot and is a very good faceoff man.

That leaves fourteen are players who future hall of famers regardless of their future accomplishments (or lack of them) still active. They are:

Ed Belfour
Rob Blake
Martin Brodeur
Chris Chelios
Peter Forsberg
Dominik Hasek
Jaromir Jagr
Brian Leetch
Nicklas Lidstrom
Mike Modano
Scott Niedermayer
Chris Pronger
Joe Sakic
Brendan Shanahan

As more hockey is played this year, there will likely be some additions. Should players on this list retire (such as Brian Leetch) the list could also shrink.

Here is TSN's story on the Nieuwendyk retirement.

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