Right-winger Jeff Nielsen played briefly with the New York Rangers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the late 90s. He had good size and a decent touch around the net which were more evident in college, the minors and Europe.
The native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota was a scoring star in high school where many NHL scouts took note of his talent. He was chosen 69th overall by the New York Rangers at the 1990 Entry Draft then enrolled at the University of Minnesota. In 1993-94 he scored 29 goals for the Golden Gophers and was voted on to the WCHA second all-star team.
During his first three pro seasons, Nielsen reached the 20-goal mark for the AHL's Binghamton Rangers. He made it into two games for the "Blueshirts" but opted to sign with Anaheim in August 1997. Nielsen decided to go to Europe at the start of the 1997-98 season scored 14 goals for Leksands of Sweden before joining the Ducks. In 1998-99, the young forward played 80 games for the Ducks where he was predominantly a checker.