Ronald “Scott” Stevens (April 1, 1964-) had an extraordinary career despite never winning the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman and stands as the Hockey Hall of Fame’s leader in career penalty minutes (2,785). Stevens roamed the neutral zone, patrolling the blueline with fellow Hall of Famer Al MacInnis as the top defensemen for the Kitchener Rangers when they won the Memorial Cup in 1982. The Washington Capitals selected Stevens fifth overall in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft and he failed to disappoint, joining the big club the following season without playing a single minor league game. Scott scored his first NHL goal on his first shot in his first game and helped lead the Caps to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. He starred for eight personally successful seasons (1982-1990) in the nation’s capital, and each year was a victim of an early playoff exit. Stevens signed with the St. Louis Blues, a team seemingly on the rise with sniper Brett Hull and playmaker Adam Oates. His time in St. Louis was short-lived, one season, as he was awarded to the New Jersey in the high-profile arbitration case after the Blues signed restricted free agent, Brendan Shanahan. He would finish his career with the Devils (1991-2004) serving as team captain after his first year with the club until his retirement. His luck from Washington had changed as the captain of the Devils led his team to the Stanley Cup Finals four times from 1995-2003, winning the NHL’s coveted Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2003. In 2000, Stevens was honored with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs top performer.
Scott possessed a decent scoring touch, often among the team leaders in points, but his thunderous hits were legendary, especially when it counted most – the playoffs. During the 1999-2000 Stanley Cup playoffs, Stevens leveled Philadelphia Flyers star Eric Lindros with a bone-jarring open ice check that ended Lindros’ season, and ultimately his career. Scott Stevens was a stalwart at the NHL All-Star Game, selected 13 times to appear and was named to two NHL All-Star First Teams. His physical play eventually caught up with him and in 2005, Scott Stevens was forced to retire after being struck in the head with a puck and suffering post-concussion symptoms. Steven retired having played more games than any other defenseman before him and scored 196 career goals and 712 assist for 908 points in 1,635 games. He also posted the most penalty minutes on any player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In the postseasons, he added 26 goals and 92 assists and 402 PIMs in 233 games. Incredibly, Scott never finished a season with a negative plus/minus rating. Scott Steven was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility.