The Best Defensemen in NHL History Hockey Players
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4  reranks 8,487 votes 1,840 voters 22,109 views more info

The Best Defensemen in NHL History

List Criteria: 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!
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 4 ReRanks
    • Region
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 675
    Down 170

    the people's #1 & most listed 1948

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  2. 2
    Up 624
    Down 188

    1970

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  3. 3
    Up 307
    Down 147

    1961

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  4. 4
    Up 254
    Down 139

    1953

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  5. 5
    Up 233
    Down 131

    1951

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  6. 6
    Up 174
    Down 100

    1924

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  7. 7
    Up 126
    Down 67

    1948

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  8. 8
    Up 272
    Down 138

    1962

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  9. 9
    Up 167
    Down 92

    1902

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  10. 10
    Up 122
    Down 61

    1963

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  11. 11
    Up 111
    Down 81

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1927

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  12. 12
    Up 123
    Down 86

    1930

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  13. 13
    Up 222
    Down 107

    1973

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  14. 14
    Up 251
    Down 133

    1964

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  15. 15
    Up 203
    Down 111

    1968

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  16. 16
    Up 126
    Down 72

    1946

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  17. 17
    Up 82
    Down 87

    1931

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  18. 18
    Up 119
    Down 76

    1948

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  19. 19
    Up 179
    Down 146

    1977

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  20. 20
    Up 143
    Down 125

    1974

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  21. 21
    Up 45
    Down 28

    1969

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  22. 22
    Up 111
    Down 107

    1961

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  23. 23
    Up 43
    Down 35

    1955

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  24. 24
    Up 41
    Down 34

    1957

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  25. 25
    Up 72
    Down 82

    1964

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  26. 26
    Up 54
    Down 90

    1957

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  27. 27
    Up 38
    Down 24

    1951

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  28. 28
    Up 38
    Down 102

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1956

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  29. 29
    Up 53
    Down 133

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1983

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  30. 30
    Up 7
    Down 44

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1917

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  31. 31
    Up 32
    Down 30

    ranked low on reranks & added by BlakeMangone 1985

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  32. 32
    Up 21
    Down 20

    ranked low on reranks & added by KarlisBalcers 1972 Player from Latvia! 

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  33. 33
    Up 15
    Down 16

    added by willyboymcoy 1973

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  34. 34
    Up 12
    Down 13

    new! & added by willyboymcoy 1971

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  35. 35
    Up 35
    Down 195

    1985

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  36. 36 +

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