Farewell to a Former Devil: John Madden Retires from NHL

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Farewell to a Former Devil: John Madden Retires from NHL
John Madden hoisted the Stanley Cup with New Jersey in both 2000 and 2003 (NHL photo)

The man known at the Meadowlands as "Mad Dog" has called it a career.

Former University of Michigan forward John Madden, who won the Stanley Cup in both 2000 and 2003 with the New Jersey Devils, retired earlier this week as an active NHL player. According to Fire and Ice, he will join the Montreal Canadiens scouting staff, with an emphasis on scouting the U.S. college ranks.

Madden, who also won a Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, completed his NHL career with 165 goals and 183 assists for 348 points in 898 regular-season games with New Jersey, Chicago, the Minnesota Wild and the Florida Panthers in 13 campaigns. He added 43 points (21g-22a) in 141 Stanley Cup Playoff contests from 2000 through 2012.

A 5-11, 190-pound native of Barrie, Ont., Madden set an NCAA record with 23 career shorthanded goals while at Michigan, while recording 180 (80g-100a) points in four seasons in Ann Arbor (1994-1998), including three consecutive 20-goal campaigns.

He was a junior on Michigan's first NCAA title team in 32 years in 1996, and also helped the Wolverines to the Frozen Four as a senior where they fell to Boston University in the semifinals in Milwaukee.

Undrafted out of college, Madden signed with New Jersey afterwards. After a one-year apprenticeship with Albany (AHL), "Mad Dog" made it to the Meadowlands for good in the fall of 1999, ultimately compiling 297 (140g-157a) points in 712 regular-season outings as a Devil, including 19 shorthanded goals.

Former Michigan teammate and 1997 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Brendan Morrison had originally been the big catch for the Devils, having been drafted by them in the second round in 1993.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Madden finished his career in 2011-12 with the Florida Panthers

 

Madden, though, soon supplanted him in gaining a regular role on the New Jersey roster thanks to his penalty-killing prowess, and Morrison was ultimately shipped to Vancouver in March 2000, just three months before Madden and the Devils won the Cup.

Madden then won the Selke Trophy in 2001 as the NHL's best defensive forward, notching a career-high 23 goals as the Devils eventually fell to Colorado in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final.

Another Cup followed two years later, and Madden would go on to become an assistant captain as names like Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko and Scott Niedermayer departed the Devils depth chart in the ensuing seasons.

His leadership included the organization's move from East Rutherford to Newark in 2007. Madden also assisted on the final Devils goal ever scored by the team at its original home of Continental Airlines Arena, in May 2007 against Ottawa.

After he was not re-signed by New Jersey for 2009-10, Madden went west to Chicago as a free agent, and tallied 23 points (10g-13a) in 79 games as the Blackhawks went on to capture their first NHL crown since 1961. The following year he was in Minnesota, again as a free agent, and posted 25 points (12g-13a) in 76 appearances with the Wild.

He played his final NHL game with Florida on April 27, in the Panthers' 3-2 double overtime Game 7 loss to his old Devils squad, a game in which he was injured in a collision with a teammate. He scored three goals in 31 regular-season games with the Panthers for his final NHL points, after joining the club at mid-season.

Madden was a shorthanded terror at Michigan (UMichigan photo)

 

I'll remember how hard Madden played, and how tenacious he was on the penalty kill, especially in those two Stanley Cup seasons with the Devils. I'll remember him scoring a big goal in the finals down in Dallas in 2000, and still going all out in Game 7 in 2003 against Anaheim despite a nasty stitched gash on his left cheek that also featured alternate shades of purple and yellow.

I'll also recall No. 11's playoff hat trick against the Rangers in 2006 at Continental Airlines Arena, including a pair of shorthanded markers, the first time the Devils had ever topped their cross-river rivals in a playoff series.

He definitely proved you can play four years in college and still experience NHL success—even if your name was never called at the draft.

So long, "Mad Dog."

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