Growing up in Kitchener, Ontario in the seventies, Scott Stevens became a huge fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. As a result, it is no surprise that he became a defenceman, because his favourite player was Toronto's outstanding blueliner, Borje Salming.
Playing junior with his hometown Rangers, Stevens and his Kitchener teammates were the Memorial Cup champions in 1982. That summer, Scott was the first round selection of the Washington Capitals, the fifth overall pick in the NHL's Entry Draft.
Debuting that fall with the Capitals, the big, sturdy rearguard earned a regular spot with Washington, and so impressed that pundits that he was selected to the NHL's All-Rookie Team.
Through eight seasons, including a selection to the First All-Star Team in 1987-88, Stevens helped turn around the floundering franchise. His fierce confidence on the blueline made him a favourite with both his teammates and the fans. So, it came as quite a shock when Scott signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues prior to the 1990-91 season. With Brett Hull on the wing and Curtis Joseph in net, the future looked bright for Stevens and the Blues.
Then, to Scott's surprise, in 1991-92, after only one season with St. Louis, he was transferred to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Brendan Shanahan as part of a high-profile arbitration case. In New Jersey he was made team captain. That first season in New Jersey, Scott was elected to the NHL's Second All-Star Team. In 1993-94, he was named to the First All-Star Team.
The captain took on an increased role as inspirational leader of the Devils, who won the Stanley Cup in 1995. The Devils players and fans were galvanized by Stevens' thundering hits on opponents; key psychological elements in the victory. New Jersey won the Stanley Cup again in 2000 and 2003. While Stevens had been a star in the NHL for many years, including All-Star nods in 1996-97 and 2000-01, the 2000 playoffs must be considered Scott's defining moment. His thunderous checks, most notably on Eric Lindros in the semifinals, both inspired and dominated the post-season, and when his Devils won the Cup there was no question that he would be chosen winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the post-season.
Stevens again hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2003, and again was noted for delivering gigantic bodychecks. But although he had gained a reputation as an NHL Iron Man, having played 22 seasons in the NHL and regularly been among the leaders in games played, coming off his third Stanley Cup victory, Stevens' hard-nosed style caught up with him. He missed the majority of the 2003-04 season with post-concussion syndrome. On September 6, 2005, Scott Stevens was forced to retire.
In 1635 regular season games, Stevens collected 196 goals and 712 assists for 908 points, impressive for a defensive specialist. Equally impressive were the 2785 penalty minutes Scott earned - no quarter asked, no quarter given.
Outside his NHL career, Stevens also represented Canada on the international stage at the World Championships in 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1989, the Canada Cup in 1991 and the World Cup of Hockey in 1996. In 1998, Scott was selected as part of Team Canada competing in the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
Following his retirement as a player, Scott returned to New Jersey as an assistant coach beginning with the 2012-13 NHL season, and served in that capacity for two seasons. Three months after stepping down, Stevens returned as co-head coach with Adam Oates. Prior to the 2016-17 season, Stevens was hired as an assistant coach by the Minnesota Wild, but remained for just that season.
A dominant figure on the blueline of any team with which he played, Scott Stevens will be remembered with great enthusiasm as a great captain, inspiring teammate, outstanding bodychecker and, most important of all, a champion.