Rick "Nifty" Middleton is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player for the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League. A right winger, Middleton was drafted in the first round, 14th overall, by the Rangers in the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft. He spent the 1973–74 season with the Rangers' farm team, the AHL Providence Reds. He made the big club during the 1974–75 season. Middleton was traded to the Boston Bruins for Ken Hodge on May 26, 1976. Middleton became a great star in Boston, scoring a hat trick in his first game as a Bruin (October 7, 1976 versus Minnesota) and nearly nine hundred points in a Bruins uniform over the next twelve years. Generally paired with centre Barry Pederson, Middleton had five straight seasons of at least forty goals and ninety points and led the Bruins to perennial glittering records. His leadership was apparent in being named co-captain in 1985, a position he held until he retired. Regarded as one of the best one on one players of all time, he currently ranks #2 all time in career shooting percentage (19.7) among players with 400+ goals. His best season was the 1981–82 season, during which Middleton scored a career high 51 goals, won the Lady Byng Trophy for excellence and sportsmanship, and was named to the NHL's Second All-Star Team.
Middleton also starred in international play, being named to play for Team Canada in the Canada Cup in 1981 and 1984. Teamed on the top line with Wayne Gretzky and Michel Goulet in the 1984 series, he scored four goals and four assists in seven games. Further, Middleton played in the NHL All-Star Game in 1981, 1982 and 1984.
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