Nicklas Lidstrom names the best player in hockey history, and spoiler alert; it's NOT Wayne Gretzky

Nicklas Lidstrom names the best player in hockey history, and spoiler alert; it’s NOT Wayne Gretzky

Few people in hockey history have been so universally well-liked and successful as Nicklas Lidstrom.

He was nicknamed ‘The Perfect Human’ for a reason, and it speaks volumes about what a player, person, and captain he was for the Detroit Red Wings.

Last year, Lidstrom was named the best Swedish hockey player of all time during a big award ceremony in his native country, and during a 20-year-long NHL career, he recorded a whopping 1,142 points in 1,564 games.

And playing offense wasn’t even what he did best on the ice.

Lidstrom rarely made any mistakes on the ice, and his former teammates and coaches have said that they can count on one hand how many bad games he had during his many years in the league.

Lidstrom won seven Norris Trophies, four Stanley Cups, and both Olympic gold and the World Championship with Sweden before retiring in 2012.

Three years later, to absolutely no one’s surprise, Lidstrom was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. And during the ceremony, curious media and fans asked him all kinds of hockey-related things.

Source: Bildbyran

One of the questions stood out from the rest and drew attention because of his surprising answer.

Lidstrom played with or against so many of the all-time greats, and when he was asked to name the best player in history, many suspected he would pick The Great One, Wayne Gretzky. But he didn’t.

”It was all about Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman,” said Lidstrom, per Swedish media. “Lemieux had an incredible reach and some really good skills with his stick. Gretzky had that too, but he made all the players around him better. Individually, I would say Lemieux was the better player.”

There you go; in Lidstrom’s book, Wayne Gretzky is not the GOAT.

However, it’s worth pointing out that Lidstrom joined the NHL in 1991, arguably past Wayne Gretzky’s prime when he had his record seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, which could be taken into account when Lidstrom answered. Just one year after Lidstrom’s debut in the league, Mario Lemieux had perhaps the best season of his career, with 160 points in just 60 games.

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