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!
list ordered by

1
+ - 1,517 306
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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2
+ - 1,296 381
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Nicklas Lidström Krylbo, Sweden

3
+ - 375 139
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Raymond Bourque

4
+ - 666 304
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Paul Coffey Weston, Ontario, Toronto

5
+ - 586 288
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Denis Potvin Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
+ - 476 230
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Harvey Montreal, Canada

7
+ - 419 200
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al MacInnis Inverness County, Canada

8
+ - 435 214
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Eddie Shore Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

9
+ - 406 213
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guy Lapointe Montreal, Canada

10
+ - 545 285
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Stevens Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

11
+ - 385 212
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brad Park Toronto, Canada

12
+ - 284 147
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Börje Salming Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

13
+ - 269 147
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Erik Karlsson Landsbro, Sweden

14
+ - 259 122
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Viacheslav Fetisov Moscow, Russia

15
+ - 321 177
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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16
+ - 264 161
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Shea Weber Sicamous, Canada

17
+ - 345 263
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Duncan Keith Winnipeg, Canada

18
+ - 274 177
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Wilson Ottawa, Canada

19
+ - 390 229
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Pronger Dryden, Canada

20
+ - 253 120
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rod Langway Taipei, Taiwan

21
+ - 202 109
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Drew Doughty London, Canada

22
+ - 243 108
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Mark Howe Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

23
+ - 491 245
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Niedermayer Edmonton, Canada

24
+ - 564 253
Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Chelios Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

25
+ - 508 266
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Robinson North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

26
+ - 155 77
Gary Suter is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Gary Suter Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

27
+ - 130 52
Dit Clapper is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dit Clapper Newmarket, Canada

28
+ - 145 108
Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Darius Kasparaitis Elektrėnai, Lithuania

29
+ - 152 102
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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30
+ - 236 195
Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Randy Carlyle Greater Sudbury, Canada

31
+ - 233 178
Pierre Pilote is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pierre Pilote Jonquière, Saguenay, Canada

32
+ - 145 76
Al Iafrate is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al Iafrate Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

33
+ - 123 46
Ryan Suter is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ryan Suter Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

34
+ - 160 97
Brian Rafalski is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brian Rafalski Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

35
+ - 425 219
Brian Leetch is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brian Leetch Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

36
+ - 127 85
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Craig Hartsburg Stratford, Canada

37
+ - 125 67
Kevin Hatcher is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Kevin Hatcher Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

38
+ - 107 51
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ron Greschner Goodsoil, Canada

39
+ - 109 61
Ranker Video v
Carol Vadnais Montreal, Canada

40
+ - 154 43
Vladimir Konstantinov is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Vladimir Konstantinov Murmansk, Russia

41
+ - 376 261
Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Zdeno Chára Trenčín, Slovakia

42
+ - 107 50
Alexei Kasatonov is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Alexei Kasatonov Saint Petersburg, Russia

43
+ - 265 170
Larry Murphy is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Murphy Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

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44
+ - 111 56
Reed Larson is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Reed Larson Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America

45
+ - 110 65
Babe Pratt is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Babe Pratt Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada

46
+ - 94 37
Pat Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pat Stapleton Sarnia, Canada

47
+ - 290 186
Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Tim Horton Cochrane, Canada

48
+ - 69 29
Harry Howell is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Harry Howell Hamilton, Canada

49
+ - 275 167
Serge Savard is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Serge Savard Montreal, Canada

50
+ - 85 52
Bruce Driver is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Bruce Driver Etobicoke, Toronto, Canada