The Best Defensemen in NHL History Hockey Players
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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!
  • 6 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 704
    Down 174

    the people's #1 & most listed 1948

    open
  2. 2
    Up 646
    Down 192

    1970

    open
  3. 3
    Up 264
    Down 142

    1953

    open
  4. 4
    Up 243
    Down 138

    1951

    open
  5. 5
    Up 181
    Down 103

    1924

    open
  6. 6
    Up 133
    Down 63

    1963

    open
  7. 7
    Up 315
    Down 157

    1961

    open
  8. 8
    Up 132
    Down 74

    often listed 1948

    open
  9. 9
    Up 277
    Down 145

    1962

    open
  10. 10
    Up 235
    Down 111

    1973

    open
  11. 11
    Up 260
    Down 138

    1964

    open
  12. 12
    Up 173
    Down 95

    1902

    open
  13. 13
    Up 210
    Down 116

    1968

    open
  14. 14
    Up 114
    Down 86

    1927

    open
  15. 15
    Up 128
    Down 92

    1930

    open
  16. 16
    Up 86
    Down 91

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1931

    open
  17. 17
    Up 129
    Down 77

    1946

    open
  18. 18
    Up 127
    Down 78

    1948

    open
  19. 19
    Up 49
    Down 32

    1969

    open
  20. 20
    Up 186
    Down 148

    1977

    open
  21. 21
    Up 46
    Down 25

    1951

    open
  22. 22
    Up 146
    Down 129

    1974

    open
  23. 23
    Up 47
    Down 36

    1955

    open
  24. 24
    Up 113
    Down 109

    1961

    open
  25. 25
    Up 42
    Down 37

    1957

    open
  26. 26
    Up 74
    Down 88

    1964

    open
  27. 27
    Up 59
    Down 92

    1957

    open
  28. 28
    Up 61
    Down 134

    1983

    open
  29. 29
    Up 42
    Down 104

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1956

    open
  30. 30
    Up 36
    Down 30

    ranked low on reranks & added by BlakeMangone 1985

    open
  31. 31
    Up 8
    Down 49

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1917

    open
  32. 32
    Up 17
    Down 18

    ranked low on reranks & added by willyboymcoy 1973

    open
  33. 33
    Up 14
    Down 15

    added by willyboymcoy 1971

    open
  34. 34
    Up 21
    Down 24

    added by KarlisBalcers 1972 Player from Latvia! 

    open
  35. 35
    Up 2
    Down 1

    new! & added by gaug66 1956

    open
  36. 36
    Up 2
    Down 1

    added by gaug66 1916

    open
  37. 37
    Up 35
    Down 202

    1985

    open
  38. 38 +

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