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Nicklas Lidström
Nicklas Lidstrom cropped.jpg
Position Defense
Shoots Left
6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
190 lb (86 kg)
Born (1970-04-28)April 28, 1970,
Västerås, SWE
NHL Draft 53rd overall, 1989
Detroit Red Wings
Pro Career 1987 – present

Nicklas Erik Lidström (born April 28, 1970 in Västerås, Västmanland, Sweden) is a retired Swedish professional ice hockey defenseman who played his entire National Hockey League (NHL) career with the Detroit Red Wings, and was their captain. In his 19 NHL seasons, Lidström won four Stanley Cups, seven James Norris Memorial Trophies as the NHL's best defenseman, and has been voted into eleven NHL All-Star Games. He is the first European-born and trained NHL captain to win the Stanley Cup [1], as well as the first European player named playoff MVP. Lidström is also the active leader in NHL games played.

Representing Sweden, Lidström won the World Championship in 1991. At the 2006 Winter Olympics, Lidström was a major factor in Sweden's win over Finland in the finals, scoring the gold medal clinching goal, thus earning him a spot on the Olympic All-Star Team. He also became the 17th member of the Triple Gold Club. The Hockey News selected Lidström as the "Best European-trained player ever in the NHL".[2] The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated selected Lidström as the "NHL Player of the Decade".[3][4]

Playing career

Lidström is considered the top NHL defenseman of his era , having won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman three consecutive seasons from 2000–01 to 2002–03 and again from 2005–06 to 2007–08. He has been nominated for the award a total of twelve times in the past fourteen seasons, the first three times finishing as the runner-up, and has won it in seven of the last ten (2004–05 had no winner due to the NHL lockout). In fourteen consecutive seasons (since 1995-96), he has finished no worse than 6th place in Norris Trophy voting.[5]

As of 2012, Lidström has played all of his 19 NHL seasons for the Detroit Red Wings. He has been a member of four Stanley Cup winning teams in 1996–97, 1997–98, 2001–02 and 2007–08. With the exception of the lockout year, Lidström has been on a team in the playoffs in every season since his rookie year of 1991-92.

Lidström began his career in Avesta, Sweden, playing with Skogsbo SK, before moving on to play with VIK Västerås HK of the Swedish Elitserien. In three seasons with the team, he played in 103 games, scoring 12 goals and 30 assists. Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings 53rd overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, Lidström joined the team in the 1991–92 NHL season, though he returned to play for Västerås IK for a brief period during the 1994–95 NHL lockout. Lidström scored 60 points in his rookie season, finishing second to Pavel Bure in voting for that year's Calder Trophy. He was selected to the 1992 NHL All-Rookie Team along with fellow Red Wings defenceman Vladimir Konstantinov.

Lidström during his first season as captain of the Red Wings.

Known for his durability, Lidström consistently ranks amongst the top in the NHL in ice time per game. He averaged 28:07 minutes in the 2005–06 season, a career high. He won three consecutive Norris Trophies, from 2001 to 2003, becoming the first defenseman since Bobby Orr to win three straight.[6] In the 2003–04 season, he played in his 1,000th game of his career, having missed only 17 games in 12½ seasons (1994–95 was shortened to 48 games instead of the usual 82 by a labor dispute).[7]

Never a big and bruising defender, many experts say that the secret behind Lidström's consistent game is his ability to read the game; this, combined with his excellent skating ability, allows him to be at the right spot of the ice at the right time. Instead of delivering a big body check, Lidström prefers to steal the puck and create a turnover. His reliance on brains rather than brawn might explain his lack of injuries, and also his low penalty minute totals. For most of his NHL career, he has studiously avoided drawing penalties, although the introduction of many new rules in 2005–06 saw him rack up his career high (50) in penalty minutes. The 2005–06 season also brought him his career high of 80 points (16 goals, 64 assists).

In the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs, Lidström was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player during the playoffs, becoming the first-ever European to be awarded the trophy.[8]

Lidström was set to make $10 million during the 2005–06 season, but because of the new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement created in July 2006, salaries on pre-existing contracts were reduced by 24%, which lowered his compensation to $7.6 million. That season, he posted career high 64 assists and 80 points to go with 16 goals.

On June 30, 2006, it was announced that Lidström had signed a two-year, $15.2 million contract with the Red Wings; instead of seeking more money elsewhere—certainly possible for a defenseman of his caliber, especially considering his stellar numbers in the past season—Lidström decided to remain with Detroit for the same annual salary as he earned during the 2005–06 season.

Lidström was an alternate captain of the Red Wings since the 1997–98 season, and was awarded the captaincy after the 2006 retirement of long-time Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman. It was an honor made more special by the fact that he became the first European captain in franchise history. In his first year of captaincy, Lidström led the Red Wings to the conference finals, but lost to eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Anaheim Ducks. In the off-season, Lidström joined an elite group by capturing the Norris Trophy as the League's outstanding defenseman for the fifth time. Lidström became the fourth defenseman in league history with as many as five Norris Trophy wins, joining Hockey Hall of Fame members Bobby Orr (eight), Doug Harvey (seven), and Ray Bourque (five).

Near the beginning of the 2007–08 season, in an October 8 win against the Edmonton Oilers, Lidström registered two assists, passing Peter Forsberg as the second-highest scoring Swedish-born NHL player of all-time. He trails only Mats Sundin (as of the end of the 2009–10 season, Lidström has 1,046 points to Sundin's 1,349).[9] Later in the campaign, on December 26, Lidström signed a contract extension through the 2009–10.[10] Several months later, on April 3, 2008, he assisted on a goal by Johan Franzén to tie Luc Robitaille at 42nd all-time with 726 assists.[7]

Lidström has won the Stanley Cup four times in his career.

Entering the playoffs as Presidents' Trophy winners, the Red Wings met the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. Despite a game five, triple-overtime victory by the Penguins to stave off elimination, Lidström and the Red Wings defeated Pittsburgh in game six to capture the Stanley Cup. In doing so, Lidström became the first European-born-and-trained captain to win the Stanley Cup.[11] In 1934, Charlie Gardiner, a goalie born in Scotland had captained the Chicago Black Hawks to win the Stanley Cup and in 1938, Johnny Gottselig, a left winger born in Russia also captained Chicago to a championship, but both players were trained in Canada.

Just over a week after winning his fourth Stanley Cup in eleven seasons, on June 12, Lidström won the Norris Trophy for the third straight season and the sixth time in seven seasons.[12]

As the Red Wings opened the 2008–09 pre-season against the Montreal Canadiens, Lidström suffered a broken nose as a shot from Canadiens forward Christopher Higgins ricocheted and hit him in the face.[13] From then on he began wearing a visor. He returned in time for the regular season and was selected to the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal. However, in the midst of dealing with tendinitis that had been bothering him all season, Lidström chose to sit out All-Star weekend, along with Pavel Datsyuk. Consequently, Lidström and Datsyuk were both suspended one game by the NHL due to league policy for missing the All-Star Game without significant injury.[14]

The Red Wings opened the 2009-10 season in Stockholm, Sweden. During the team's trip in Sweden, Lidström was honored by his home county as an Ambassador of Honor.[15] On October 15, 2009, in a game against the Los Angeles Kings, Lidström became the first European-born defenceman to reach 1000 points with 2 assists in the game. He is the fourth player to score 1000 points as a Detroit Red Wing (after Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, and Steve Yzerman), and the eighth defenseman to do so in the history of the NHL. On March 5, 2010 Lidström got his 800th career assist. Also during the 2009-2010 season, Lidström played in his 1,395th game (finishing the season with 1,412), setting an all-time record for NHL games played by a player born in Europe; earlier in the season, Lidström had passed Teppo Numminen for games played by a player trained in Europe. Lidström is also fourth-all time in games played in a Red Wings uniform, behind Howe, Delvecchio, and Yzerman, all forwards.

On April 23, 2010, Lidström played in his 237th career playoff game, moving past Mark Messier into sole possession of third place on the NHL's all-time list (Chris Chelios 266; Patrick Roy 247).[16] In the same game, he had an assist to tie Al MacInnis (121) for the third most assists in the postseason by a defenseman (Ray Bourque 139; Paul Coffey 137).[17]

On April 27, 2010, a day before his 40th birthday, Lidström had 3 points in a game 7 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round of the 2010 NHL playoffs, pushing his active playoff points lead to 171 points, and tying him for 17th on the all-time playoff points list with fellow countryman Peter Forsberg. His next point will make him the highest playoff scorer in the NHL by a player born in Sweden.

As of the end of the 2009-10 season, Lidström has missed only 28 of a possible 1,440 regular-season team games (1 because of suspension).

After contemplating whether or not to retire, Lidström agreed on a 1-year contract with the Red Wings on June 1, 2010. The new contract will pay him slightly over $6 million.[18]

On December 15, 2010, Nicklas Lidström recorded his first career hat trick, at 40 years of age, against the St. Louis Blues, sealing a 5-2 victory. After the game, he was asked how it feels to score his first hat trick "It feels great, I've never in my life been able to notch 3 goals in a game". The hat trick made him the oldest player in NHL history to record his first hat trick (previously held by Scott Mellanby at 36 years old), and the oldest defenseman in NHL history to record a hat trick (previously held by Mathieu Schneider at 37 years old).[19]

On January 18, 2011, Lidström was named the captain of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game In Raleigh, North Carolina. His team won by a final score of 11-10 over Team Staal, captained by Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes. Lidström finished +7 with one assist.

On June 20, 2011, after briefly contemplating retirement yet again, Lidström signed a one-year contract worth $6.2 million with the Detroit Red Wings the same amount he had been paid the previous season. On June 23, 2011 he won his 7th Norris trophy tying with Doug Harvey and one behind Bobby Orr for most Norris Trophies.

On October 22, 2011, in a game against the Washington Capitals, Lidström became the 14th player in the history of the NHL to play 1500 games. He is the first player not being born in North-America and therefore the first Swedish and European player as well as the first player to accomplish this in only his 20th season. Lidström also joined former "Red Wings" Alex Delvecchio and Steve Yzerman as the only 3 players having played exclusively for just one team throughout their careers.


Lidström's #5 banner hanging at Joe Louis Arena.

On 31 May 2012, Lidström announced his retirement from the NHL via a press conference with Red Wings Owner Mike Ilitch and General Manager Ken Holland present. The night before, he told the Swedish tabloid Expressen, "I came to the decision last week and I informed our general manager, Ken Holland."[20] Discussing Lidström's retirement, former teammate Steve Yzerman described Lidström as "one of the all-time best defencemen to ever play."[21] Paul Coffey said, "he was an incredible player"[22] while Chris Chelios said, "There's been guys who are great players, but no one's better than Nick. As good? Yes. But this is as big as it gets. He's one of the best athletes ever and...if you're going to talk about someone who's perfect, Nick's pretty darn close to being perfect."[20] Washington Capitals defenceman John Carlson described Lidström as "one of the game's all-time greats on and off the ice."[20] Ken Holland stated his belief that Lidström was "the most valuable player of his era."[21]

The following weekend, on 3 June 2012, Lidström and his wife took out a full-page ad giving thanks to the city of Detroit for making his family feel at home for the past 21 years.[23] On 8 July 2012, Lidström was named a scout for the Red Wings.

On 28 February 2014, Lidström was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.[24]

During the 2013–14 season, Lidström had his number 5 jersey retired by the Red Wings. Initially, ceremonies were planned for the previous season, on 5 February 2013 — however, the lockout had made it hard to determine when Lidström would able to attend the ceremony.[25] The Red Wings officially retired his number on 6 March 2014, in a pre-game ceremony at Joe Louis Arena.[26]

International play

Medal record
Competitor for Flag of Sweden.png Sweden
Ice hockey
Winter Olympics
Gold 2006 Turin
World Championships
Gold 1991 Finland
Bronze 1994 Italy
Silver 2004 Czech Republic

Prior to his NHL career, Lidström competed in two European Junior Championships in 1988 and 1991, one World Junior Championship in 1990 and one Canada Cup for Sweden.

Following his rookie season with the Red Wings, he earned his first gold medal with Sweden at the 1991 World Championships. Three years later, he competed in the 1994 World Championships in Italy and won a bronze medal. Two years later, he participated in the inaugural 1996 World Cup of Hockey (successor of the Canada Cup) and contributed 3 points in 4 games. He made his Olympic debut with Sweden at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

Four years later was his next international appearance, playing in his second Olympics at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, where Sweden was upset by Belarus in the quarterfinal after being heavy favorites in the round-robin. Lidström made his third World Championships appearance in 2004, but only appeared in 2 games. That summer, he also competed in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey where he scored 1 goal.

In the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Lidström helped Sweden avenge their quarterfinal upset to Belarus in Salt Lake City, scoring the game winning goal in the gold medal game against Finland. In doing so, Lidström became a member of the Triple Gold Club, adding an Olympic gold medal to go with his previous Stanley Cups with Detroit, and his World Championship gold medal in 1991.[27] Lidström was also selected to the 2006 Olympic All-Star Team.

Lidström also played for Sweden in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver serving as team captain in what would be his final Olympics.[28] Lidström announced his retirement from Olympic competition following Sweden's loss to Slovakia.[29]

Nicklas is married to Annika.[30] They have 4 children: Kevin (born 1994)[31] who attends a hockey school in Sweden for his junior year of high school, Adam (born 1996),[32] Samuel (born in 2000)[33] and Lucas (born in 2003).[34][35]

Career statistics

    Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1988–89 VIK Västerås HK SEL 20 0 2 2 4
1989–90 Västerås IK SEL 39 8 8 16 14 2 0 1 1 2
1990–91 Västerås IK SEL 38 4 19 23 2 4 0 0 0 4
1991–92 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 11 49 60 22 11 1 2 3 0
1992–93 Detroit Red Wings NHL 84 7 34 41 28 7 1 0 1 0
1993–94 Detroit Red Wings NHL 84 10 46 56 26 7 3 2 5 0
1994–95 Västerås IK SEL 13 2 10 12 4
1994–95 Detroit Red Wings NHL 43 10 16 26 6 18 4 12 16 8
1995–96 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 17 50 67 20 19 5 9 14 10
1996–97 Detroit Red Wings NHL 79 15 42 57 30 20 2 6 8 2
1997–98 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 17 42 59 18 22 6 13 19 8
1998–99 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 14 43 57 14 10 2 9 11 4
1999–00 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 20 53 73 18 9 2 4 6 4
2000–01 Detroit Red Wings NHL 82 15 56 71 18 6 1 7 8 0
2001–02 Detroit Red Wings NHL 78 9 50 59 20 23 5 11 16 2
2002–03 Detroit Red Wings NHL 82 18 44 62 38 4 0 2 2 0
2003–04 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 10 28 38 18 12 2 5 7 4
2005–06 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 16 64 80 50 6 1 1 2 2
2006–07 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 13 49 62 46 18 4 14 18 6
2007–08 Detroit Red Wings NHL 76 10 60 70 40 22 3 10 13 14
2008–09 Detroit Red Wings NHL 78 16 43 59 30 21 4 12 16 6
2009–10 Detroit Red Wings NHL 82 9 40 49 24 12 4 6 10 4
2010–11 Detroit Red Wings NHL 82 16 46 62 20 11 4 4 8 4
2011-12 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 11 23 34 28 5 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 1564 264 878 1142 514 263 54 129 183 76
SEL totals 110 14 39 53 32 6 0 1 1 6


*did not attend



  • First European-born and trained Norris Trophy winner (2000–01).
  • First European-born and trained Conn Smythe Trophy winner (2001–02).
  • Fourth defenseman (and first European-born and trained defenseman) in NHL to win James Norris Memorial Trophy three years running (2001–2003, 2006–2008), and third seven-time Norris Trophy winner.
  • First European-born and trained captain of a Stanley Cup-winning team (2008).
  • First European-born and trained defenseman to reach 1000 points.
  • First European-born player, any position, to play over 1500 games.
  • Sixth defenseman (and 28th player overall) to reach 855 career assists.
  • Most regular season games played by a player born in Europe, any position (1494).
  • Most regular season games played by a defenseman in a career spent with only one team (1494), also third all-time league-wide and with the Red Wings (any position).
  • Most regular season wins played in (900).
  • Active leader in games played, any position (1500).
  • Oldest player ever to record his first hat trick (40 years old)
  • Oldest defenseman ever to record a hat trick (40 years old)
  • Oldest Norris Trophy winner (41 years, 57 days) (2010-2011)

Detroit Red Wings

  • Points by a defenceman, season (2005–06, 80).
  • Postseason goals by a defenceman, career (54).
  • Postseason points by a defenceman, career (183).
  • Postseason assists, career (129).
  • Postseason games played, career (258).
  • Games played by a defenceman, career (1500).
  • Goals, assists, and points by a defenceman, career (253, 855, and 1108).
  • Points in a single postseason (1998, 19).
  • Goals in a single postseason by a defenceman (1998, 6).
  • Best postseason plus/minus, career (+61).
  • Best regular season plus/minus, career (+429).

See also


  1. "Lidstrom becomes first European captain to win Stanley Cup", Associated Press, June 5, 2008
  2. Brian Costello. Lidstrom - No. 1 Euro; No. 2 blueliner of all time. The Hockey News. Retrieved on 2007-12-10.
  3. Sporting News' NHL Player of the Decade: Nicklas Lidstrom, D, Red Wings. Sporting News. Retrieved on 2009-09-24.
  4. "NHL: Highlights and lowlights",, 2009-12-14. Retrieved on 2010-04-28. 
  5. Norris Trophy Voting. HF Boards. Retrieved on April 26, 2010.
  6. Alan Adams. "Forsberg, Lidström, Brodeur among the feted", USA Today, 2003-06-13. Retrieved on 2006-09-21. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 - NHL - Recap - Philadelphia Flyers at Detroit Red Wings. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.
  8. Kevin Allen. "Lidstrom makes history in winning Smythe", USA Today, 2002-06-14. Retrieved on 2006-09-21. 
  9. New lines find scoring touch in win (2007-10-08). Retrieved on 2008-09-25.
  10. Wings re-sign Lidström through 2009-10. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved on December 26, 2007.
  11. Lidstrom becomes first European captain to win Stanley Cup. ESPN (2008-06-05). Retrieved on 2008-06-10.
  12. Ted Kulfan. Red Wings get hat trick at 'NHL Awards Show'. The Detroit News. Retrieved on 2008-06-13.
  13. Lidstrom suffers broken nose. Detroit Red Wings (2008-09-25). Retrieved on 2008-09-25.
  14. Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk must sit out Detroit Red Wings' next game. ESPN (2009-01-23). Retrieved on 2009-01-23.
  15. Lidstrom receives Swedish honor. The Detroit News (2009-09-29). Retrieved on 2009-10-16.
  16. Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidström admits taking pride in status as third-most-seasoned playoff vet.
  17. Detroit Red Wings vs. Phoenix Coyotes - Recap. ESPN (April 23, 2010). Retrieved on May 17, 2010.
  18. (1 June 2010). Lidstrom agrees to 1-year deal with Red Wings. TSN. Retrieved on 1 June 2010.
  19. Detroit Red Wings Hockey Clubhouse. ESPN (December 16, 2010). Retrieved on December 16, 2010.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Seven-time Norris Trophy winner Lidstrom retires – – News. NHL (31 May 2012). Retrieved on 31 May 2012.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Red Light " Posts Was Lidstrom the MVP of his era? ". (31 May 2012). Retrieved on 31 May 2012.
  22. Lidstrom up there with Orr, Bourque. (31 May 2012). Retrieved on 31 May 2012.
  23. Yuille, Sean (3 June 2012). Nicklas Lidstrom Thanks Detroit With Full-Page Ad. SB Nation. Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
  24. Lidstrom inducted into MSHOF, 28 February 2014
  25. Knan, Ansar. "Red Wings will wait until next season to retire Nicklas Lidstrom's No. 5 jersey in ceremony", Retrieved on 2013-01-29. 
  26. Red Wings to retire Nicklas Lidstrom's #5
  27. Andrew Podnieks. Sweden ranked #1 in men's; Canada #1 in women's, Niittymaki MVP. Archived from the original on April 26, 2006. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.
  28. Elliott, Helene (February 6, 2010), "Sweden hopes for more hockey gold", Los Angeles Times, <>
  29. Shelton, Shannon (February 26, 2010), "After tough loss, Lidstrom, 39, says he's done with Olympics competition", Detroit Free Press, <>.
  30. "Video", CNN, January 12, 1998. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Patrick Roy
Conn Smythe Trophy winner
Succeeded by
Jean-Sébastien Giguère
Preceded by
Chris Pronger
Scott Niedermayer
Duncan Keith
James Norris Memorial Trophy winner
2001, 2002, 2003
2006, 2007, 2008
Succeeded by
Scott Niedermayer
Zdeno Chára
Erik Karlsson
Preceded by
Peter Forsberg
Markus Näslund
Viking Award winner
Succeeded by
Markus Näslund
Henrik Zetterberg
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Steve Yzerman
Detroit Red Wings Captain
Succeeded by
Henrik Zetterberg

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Nicklas Lidström. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).