Former Florida Panthers forward John Madden decided to hang up his skates. Madden announced on September 4 that he will retire as a player but plans to stay close to the NHL as a scout for the Montreal Canadiens.
Madden who is 39 years old enjoyed a 13 season career in the NHL and will walk away with three Stanley Cup Championships and a 2001 Selke Trophy for best defensive forward. Madden's time in South Florida was short but he ended his career with nothing left on the table.
Madden's own unlikely road to the NHL makes him a perfect fit to scout young talent. Madden was never drafted into the NHL but the New Jersey Devils took a chance on the young man and signed him to a minor league contract in 1997 to play with their AHL affiliate the Albany Devils.
Madden made the most of his opportunity. His first season in Albany he put up 56 points in 74 games and to prove it wasn't a fluke he notched 98 points in only 75 games his second season.
New Jersey Devils
Madden spent 10 years of this 13 year career with the Devils. He played a combined 712 games with the team and won two Stanley Cups along the way. Madden proved himself to be a consistent contributor for the Devils. In his 10 seasons in New Jersey he never played in fewer than 74 games per season and was a consistent scorer and a solid two-way forward.
The Hawks picked Madden up as a free-agent before the 2009-10 season. The NHL veteran proved to be just as consistent with the Hawks as he had been with the Devils. In the 2009-10 season Madden skated in 79 games, put up 23 points, and won yet another Stanley Cup Championship. He wasn't the highest scoring player on the Hawks' Stanley Cup team but he provided dependable veteran leadership as they moved through the season.
Madden ended his career with the Minnesota Wild and the Panthers in his last two years. Last season with the Panthers Madden only skated in 31 games and was plagued by injuries for most of the year. This was an uncommon occurrence for a guy who hadn't missed many games in his career.
Madden won't be remembered as the highest scoring player in the league but his constancy and defensive play are examples of how the game is supposed to be played. As a scout with the Canadiens Madden will have a sharp eye for young undrafted talent like himself.
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Kristian Eberwein is a freelance journalist from Orlando, Florida. He was an English major at the University of Central Florida and has been a part of the Florida hockey community for the past twenty years. Follow him on Twitter @KrisEberwein
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