Nicklas Lidstrom is a Swedish defenseman on the Detroit Red Wings.
Lidstrom has spent his entire NHL career with Detroit. Scouted while playing for Vasteras IK and Skogsbo SK of the Swedish Elitserien league, Lidstrom was drafted in 1989, and joined the Wings in 1991. He scored sixty points in his rookie season, and finished second to flashy Russian Pavel Bure for the Calder Trophy.
Lidstrom is one of the classiest players in the game, never acquiring more than 50 penalty minutes in a season. He won three straight Norris trophies from 2001-03, as the league’s best defender, and won the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP when Detroit won the Cup in 2002. He is the only European to ever win the award.
By 2004, he had played 1000 games, missing only 17 games over nearly 13 seasons. 2005-06 was his best offensive year, as he scored 80 points in 80 games. In the past two seasons, he has finished with a plus/minus of +40, making him one of the most well-rounded players in the league today.
Despite being regarded as perhaps the best defenseman in the league, Lidstrom has kept a moderate salary in order to remain with the Red Wings. In 1997, he was named an alternate captain, and was named Captain following Steve Yzerman’s retirement. The Wings’ Cup victory in 2008 made Lidstrom the first European born-and-trained captain to lead his team to a Stanley Cup.
Lidstrom has won 5 Norris Trophies. He ranks in the top 20 all time defensemen in points, goals, assists and powerplay goals.
Lidstrom has also played for Team Sweden numerous times. In 1991, he won gold at the World Hockey Championships, then scored the game winner in the gold medal game at the 2006 Turin Olympics. The gold medal made Lidstrom a member of an elite few hockey players that have won a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a World Hockey Championship, called the Triple Gold Club.
In December 2007, the renowned magazine The Hockey News named Lidström ‘Best European ever in the NHL’ and second only to Bobby Orr as ‘Best Defenseman.’