hockey players The Best Defensemen in NHL History  

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List Rules Only defensemen, not goalies, centers or wingers

The best NHL defensemen of all time include Norris Trophy winners, Stanley Cup winners and some of the most talented players to ever put on a pair of skates. These professional hockey defensemen aren't just the best to ever man the blue line in the National Hockey League but also some of the best hockey players to ever play the game.

With the retirement of Detroit Red Wings captain Nick Lidstrom in May 2012, the argument over which defensive player is the best ever with two names dominating the discussion. Younger fans will swear that Lidstrom, who won the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman in the NHL seven times, is the best NHL defenseman ever. As perhaps the most successful hockey player from Sweden, he played 20 years in the NHL, won four championships, became the first European-born player to captain a Stanley Cup-champion team and won the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics, all while acting like a true professional and highly respected gentleman while doing so.

Others will argue that the best NHL defenseman of all time is hands down Bobby Orr. The long-time member of the Boston Bruins won the Norris Trophy eight times plus won the league's MVP award, the Hart Trophy, three times during his 12 seasons in the NHL. The Hockey Hall of Fame member not only still holds several league records but also changed how the game was played with his innovative style.

Lidstrom and Orr were one-of-a-kind players who will always be remembered as the top blue-liners to ever take the ice but they are far from the only highly talented defensemen in NHL history. The likes of Doug Harvey, Paul Coffee, Raymond Bourque, Eddie Shore and even Chris Chelios all had amazing careers as NHL defensemen and deserve lots of credit for that. But which NHL defenseman is the absolute best of all time? Vote for Team Lidstrom or Team Orr, or another player you think is deserving of the title below!

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Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Bobby Orr Parry Sound, Canada

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Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Nicklas Lidström Krylbo, Sweden

3
+ - 352 127
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Raymond Bourque

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+ - 643 294
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Paul Coffey Weston, Ontario, Toronto

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+ - 568 277
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Denis Potvin Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
+ - 464 221
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Harvey Montreal, Canada

7
+ - 426 204
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Eddie Shore Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

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+ - 406 192
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al MacInnis Inverness County, Canada

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+ - 399 199
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guy Lapointe Montreal, Canada

10
+ - 277 135
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Börje Salming Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

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+ - 535 273
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Stevens Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

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+ - 373 203
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brad Park Toronto, Canada

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+ - 250 111
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Viacheslav Fetisov Moscow, Russia

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+ - 241 140
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Erik Karlsson Landsbro, Sweden

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+ - 313 170
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Red Kelly Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

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Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Shea Weber Sicamous, Canada

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+ - 340 249
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Duncan Keith Winnipeg, Canada

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+ - 266 171
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Wilson Ottawa, Canada

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+ - 249 112
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rod Langway Taipei, Taiwan

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+ - 197 99
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Drew Doughty London, Canada

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+ - 376 222
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Pronger Dryden, Canada

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+ - 232 104
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Mark Howe Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

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+ - 477 242
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Niedermayer Edmonton, Canada

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+ - 153 67
Gary Suter is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Gary Suter Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

25
+ - 546 247
Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Chelios Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

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+ - 495 262
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Robinson North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

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+ - 127 46
Dit Clapper is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dit Clapper Newmarket, Canada

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+ - 143 95
Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Darius Kasparaitis Elektrėnai, Lithuania

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+ - 151 92
Paul Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Paul Reinhart Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

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Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Randy Carlyle Greater Sudbury, Canada

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+ - 227 171
Pierre Pilote is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pierre Pilote Jonquière, Saguenay, Canada

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+ - 143 67
Al Iafrate is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al Iafrate Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

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+ - 158 89
Brian Rafalski is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brian Rafalski Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

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+ - 117 41
Ryan Suter is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ryan Suter Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

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+ - 124 60
Kevin Hatcher is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Kevin Hatcher Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

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+ - 126 79
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Craig Hartsburg Stratford, Canada

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+ - 413 216
Brian Leetch is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brian Leetch Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

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+ - 106 45
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ron Greschner Goodsoil, Canada

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Carol Vadnais Montreal, Canada

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+ - 148 38
Vladimir Konstantinov is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Vladimir Konstantinov Murmansk, Russia

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+ - 107 43
Alexei Kasatonov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Alexei Kasatonov Saint Petersburg, Russia

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+ - 366 258
Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Zdeno Chára Trenčín, Slovakia

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+ - 110 60
Babe Pratt is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Babe Pratt Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada

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Reed Larson is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Reed Larson Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America

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+ - 94 32
Pat Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pat Stapleton Sarnia, Canada

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+ - 261 165
Larry Murphy is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Murphy Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

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+ - 68 25
Harry Howell is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Harry Howell Hamilton, Canada

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+ - 85 45
Bruce Driver is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Bruce Driver Etobicoke, Toronto, Canada

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+ - 281 184
Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Tim Horton Cochrane, Canada

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+ - 268 163
Serge Savard is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Serge Savard Montreal, Canada