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NHL Ultimate Team: 2nd Team

Aug. 13, 2020 - Michael Stewart

NHL Ultimate Team: 2nd Team

Introduction: This is part 2 of a 4 series article of my version of the NHL Ultimate team; this week we look at my all-time 2nd line, 2nd defense pairing and 2nd best goalie and coach. Once again; here are my top 3 rules in determining my selections. Rule 1: A player selected will be based on their accomplishments during their career and their impact to the game. Rule 2: I will select the greatest 12 forwards and not be restricted by position, so you probably won’t see four right wingers, four centers and four left wings chosen. Rule 3: I will only go back to 1950 to the present to keep my sanity. So with the rules in place let’s begin: He is my ultimate NHL all-time 2nd team:

Second Line

Center

Mario Lemieux: It's hard believe Lemieux didn't make the 1st team as he was nearly impossible to contain with his size, skating ability and strength. Lemieux nearly became the 2nd player ever to score 200 points in a season with 199 in the 1988-89 season. Lemieux won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins despite missing three years (brief retirement) due to being diagnosis with cancer. Lemieux finished with 1,723 total points in only 915 games. He was truly a scoring machine.

Right Wing

Maurice Richard: Richard was the most lethal goal scorer during his time as he was the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season; which he did in 50 games. Richard also won eight Stanley Cups with the Canadians and finished with 544 goals/421 assists. Richard is also the 1st NHL player to score 500 goals in a career; which is why the scoring title is fondly called the Maurice Richard award.

Left Wing

Jean Beliveau:  Beliveau moves over to left wing on my list as my 2nd line winger and for good reason. Beliveau won a total of 11 Stanley Cups during his career with the Canadians; which is mind-boggling in itself. Beliveau was a rock in Montreal for 20 seasons as he finished with 1,219 points in 1,125 games.

Left Defense

Nicklas Lidstrom: Lidstrom nearly made my 1st team list over Ray Bourque, but Bourque edged him out. Making the 2nd all time team is no disgrace as Lidstrom was one of the most consistent defensemen not only in his time, but of all time. Lidstrom was a two-way defensemen and won the Norris Trophy seven times and played solid defense to go along with an offensive touch tallying 1,142 points during his career.

Right Defense

Larry Robinson: Robinson was a wall of defense for those great Montreal Canadian teams during his career winning the Stanley Cup six times. Robinson was physical beyond the word physical and any opponent who dared to enter across the blue line would soon find out. Robinson finished with 958 points while winning the Norris Trophy twice and finishing his career with a plus/minus rating of +730.

Goalie

Patrick Roy: I initially considered Roy as my 1st team goalie and to be honest, no one would have argued with that. Instead I chose Brodeur with the slightest edge. Roy was a wall for Montreal and later on in his career Colorado. Roy’s resume includes four Stanley Cups, three Conn Smythe Trophies (in different decades and with two different teams) and 23 playoff shutouts.

Head Coach

Al Arbour: Arbour makes my list as the 2nd best all-time coach in NHL history during his time mostly coaching the New York Islanders to four straight Stanley Cup championships and making the finals in five straight seasons only to lose to the young Edmonton Oilers team. Arbour finished with the 2nd most wins with 782 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

Final Thoughts:  As you can see, my first two teams could have easily been interchangeable as all possessed elite greatness at their position. I’m sure I will get some who disagree with me and that’s fine as these selections are subjective and it’s only my opinion. I was fortunate to watch all these players perform; although in the case of Richard and Beliveau they were nearing the end of their respected careers; but still saw a glimpse of greatest every now and again from them. Next article: Third greatest Ultimate team of all time.