Ducks make Niedermayer assistant coach

In an effort to improve their defense, the Ducks make Scott Niedermayer assistant coach.

The Ducks will bring one of the strongest links to their 2007 Stanley Cup to the bench this season, naming distinguished defenseman Scott Niedermayer as an assistant coach to Bruce Boudreau on Friday.

Niedermayer, 39, has been retired since 2010 and has served as a hockey operations consultant to the team.

His hiring continues Boudreau’s push to improve a defense that ranked 19th in goals-against average last season in a campaign that did not include a playoff appearance.

“I’m very excited to expand my role with the Ducks and take on a new challenge,” Niedermayer said in a statement. “I’m grateful to … the Ducks organization for giving me this opportunity and can’t wait to get started.”

After winning three Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils, Niedermayer came to the Ducks in 2005, and was named captain quickly after.

The six-time NHL all-star is the Ducks’ career leader in goals, assists, points and power play goals among defensemen.

“As a player, Scott was one of the great leaders and winners of all time, making him a tremendous addition to our coaching staff,” Ducks General Manager Bob Murray said in the statement. “His knowledge of the game and relationship with the players will be a great benefit for us. And he’s even a better person than a hockey player.”

In 18 seasons, Niedermayer appeared in 1,263 games and was a three-time finalist for the league’s top defenseman award.

He is the only player to have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal (with Canada in 2010), World Championship, World Cup, Memorial Cup and World Junior title.

In 2007, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

-Lance Pugmire

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