For the first time since his brother Scott came into the league in 1991-92, there won’t be a Niedermayer in the NHL. Former Buffalo Sabres center Rob Niedermayer will play the 2011-12 season overseas with Lugano in Switzerland, according to Darren Dreger.
While his brother Scott is poised for a Hall of Fame induction after completing superlative work with the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks, Rob will settle for his useful career in the league. As Battle of California‘s Earl Sleek would say, Rob Niedermayer was a “Hall of Famer along the boards” but a plodding defensive forward in other areas of the ice.
Niedermayer’s first great run came with fellow high Florida Panthers draft pick Ed Jovanovski (Rob Niedermayer was the fifth overall pick of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft; Jovocop was the first pick in ’94) as the duo factored into Florida’s one great run to the 1996 Stanley Cup finals. Niedermayer served as a solid defensive forward in Florida, Calgary and Anaheim before bouncing around in New Jersey and Buffalo during the last two seasons.
His most valuable moment probably came when he helped lure his brother to Anaheim. Bringing Scott helped give that team some much-needed credibility while the Chris Pronger trade gave the team two Norris Trophy winners. The team promptly won the 2007 Stanley Cup with that combination and Rob was there to celebrate with his brother.
Maybe he didn’t have the kind of career expected of a top-five draft pick and he certainly wasn’t at his brother’s lofty level, but Rob Niedermayer can ride off into the Swiss sunset with his head held high.