The Best Defensemen in NHL History Hockey Players

The Best Defensemen in NHL History

18,907 views 40 items 8,542 votes 1,759 voters 12 followers 4reranks
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 Criteria: Only defensemen, not goalies, centers or wingers

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      Name
    Score
    1. 1
      Up 639
      Down 161

      the people's #1 &most listed
      Bobby Orr

      1948 More
      100
    2. 2
      Up 589
      Down 179
      1970 More
      94
    3. 3
      Up 398
      Down 137
      1960 More
      84
    4. 4
      Up 243
      Down 130
      1953 More
      82
    5. 5
      Up 223
      Down 126
      1951 More
      82
    6. 6
      Up 164
      Down 96
      1924 More
      80
    7. 7
      Up 288
      Down 133
      1961 More
      79
    8. 8
      Up 258
      Down 132
      1962 More
      77
    9. 9
      Up 159
      Down 83
      1902 More
      75
    10. 10
      Up 109
      Down 57
      1963 More
      69
    11. 11
      Up 207
      Down 101
      1973 More
      68
    12. 12
      Up 239
      Down 123
      1964 More
      68
    13. 13
      Up 105
      Down 77

      often listed
      Red Kelly

      1927 More
      67
    14. 14
      Up 191
      Down 103
      1968 More
      66
    15. 15
      Up 117
      Down 67
      1946 More
      65
    16. 16
      Up 115
      Down 82
      1930 More
      65
    17. 17
      Up 113
      Down 58

      ranked low on reranks
      brad park

      62
    18. 18
      Up 75
      Down 82

      often listed
      Pierre Pilote

      1931 More
      58
    19. 19
      Up 113
      Down 72
      1948 More
      55
    20. 20
      Up 26
      Down 23

      ranked high on reranks
      Brad Park

      1948 More
      51
    21. 21
      Up 166
      Down 135
      1977 More
      50
    22. 22
      Up 106
      Down 98
      1961 More
      47
    23. 23
      Up 135
      Down 118
      1974 More
      47
    24. 24
      Up 39
      Down 24
      1969 More
      46
    25. 25
      Up 35
      Down 29
      1957 More
      43
    26. 26
      Up 31
      Down 31
      1955 More
      43
    27. 27
      Up 69
      Down 77
      1964 More
      41
    28. 28
      Up 48
      Down 88

      often listed
      Doug Wilson

      1957 More
      34
    29. 29
      Up 30
      Down 22
      1951 More
      33
    30. 30
      Up 27
      Down 22

      Paul Coffey

      32
    31. 31
      Up 17
      Down 14
      1972 More
      31
      added by: KarlisBalcers
      Player from Latvia! 
    32. 32
      Up 37
      Down 94

      often listed
      Randy Carlyle

      1956 More
      30
    33. 33
      Up 23
      Down 28
      1985 More
      29
      added by: BlakeMangone
    34. 34
      Up 7
      Down 37

      often listed
      Jack Stewart

      1917 More
      29
    35. 35
      Up 8
      Down 9
      1971 More
      29
      added by: willyboymcoy
    36. 36
      Up 48
      Down 122

      often listed
      Duncan Keith

      1983 More
      29
    37. 37
      Up 8
      Down 11
      1973 More
      29
      added by: willyboymcoy
    38. 38
      Up 7
      Down 13
      1968 More
      27
      added by: willyboymcoy
    39. 39
      Up 5
      Down 12
      1960 More
      26
      added by: willyboymcoy
    40. 40
      Up 32
      Down 180
      1985 More
      21
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