Welcome to NHL99, The Athletic’s countdown of the best 100 players in modern NHL history. We’re ranking 100 players but calling it 99 because we all know who’s No. 1 — it’s the 99 spots behind No. 99 we have to figure out. Every Monday through Saturday until February we’ll unveil new members of the list.
It should surprise no one that the player teammates and fans call “The Perfect Human” delivers a scouting report that’s, well, rather good.
Nicklas Lidstrom writes up the reports as part of his duties as the vice president of hockey operations for the Red Wings. Can you imagine getting to read the observations of a seven-time Norris Trophy winner?
“You know what, they’re excellent,” Steve Yzerman, executive vice president and general manager of the Wings, told The Athletic.
Yzerman remembers his former teammate as more of a quiet listener during their playing days. Now that they work together in the same front office, he’s gleaned more from Lidstrom’s brilliant hockey mind.
“I read his reports, and we talk about players, sit with him at games, he’s — not surprisingly — very, very astute and notices everything,” Yzerman said. “His scouting reports on players, I value them. I enjoy reading them. … He knows the game, he knows players and he knows what to look for.”
Yzerman approached Lidstrom about joining the job last season, which led to the official hire a year ago this month.
One of the greatest defensemen in NHL history, who checks in at No. 8 in The Athletic’s rankings of the best players in the modern era, was ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work.