The Best Defensemen in NHL History

25k votes 3k voters 46k views 116 items tags f p @

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!
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  • 116 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Bobby Orr Parry Sound, Canada

  2. 2
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    Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History

    added by lisaann33
    Raymond Bourque

  3. 3
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    Krylbo, Sweden

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  4. 4
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    Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History


    Doug Harvey Montreal, Canada

  5. 5
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    Weston, Ontario, Toronto

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    Hull, Gatineau, Canada

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  7. 7
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    Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History


    Al MacInnis Inverness County, Canada

  8. 8
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    Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

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  9. 9
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    Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

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  10. 10
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    Montreal, Canada

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  11. 11
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    Toronto, Canada

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  12. 12
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    Moscow, Russia

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  13. 13
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    Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History

    added by WilsonS05
    Erik Karlsson Landsbro, Sweden

  14. 14
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    Guelph, Kitchener, Canada

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  15. 15
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    Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History

    added by BlakeMangone
    Shea Weber Sicamous, Canada

  16. 16
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    Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Duncan Keith Winnipeg, Canada

  17. 17
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    Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

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  18. 18
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    Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History

    added by mainpleine
    Drew Doughty London, Canada

  19. 19
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    Ottawa, Canada

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  20. 20
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    ranked low on reranks
    Taipei, Taiwan

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  21. 21
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    Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History

    added by JasonFonner
    Darius Kasparaitis Elektrėnai, Lithuania

  22. 22
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    added by mainpleine
    Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

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  23. 23
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    added by gaug66
    Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

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  24. 24
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    Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History


    Mark Howe Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

  25. 25
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    Dryden, Canada

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  26. 26
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    Newmarket, Canada

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  27. 27
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    Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Randy Carlyle Greater Sudbury, Canada

  28. 28
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    Edmonton, Canada

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  29. 29
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    added by gaug66
    Stratford, Canada

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  30. 30
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    USA, Chicago, Illinois

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  31. 31
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    added by mainpleine
    Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

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  32. 32
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    Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

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  33. 33
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    Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

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  34. 34
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    North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

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  35. 35
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Jonquière, Saguenay, Canada

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  36. 36
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    added by mainpleine
    Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

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  37. 37
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    added by willyboymcoy
    Goodsoil, Canada

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  38. 38
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    Carol Vadnais is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History

    added by slaft
    Montreal, Canada

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  39. 39
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    added by gaug66
    Etobicoke, Toronto, Canada

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  40. 40
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    added by gaug66
    Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada

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    added by gaug66
    Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America

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  42. 42
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    added by adam.kane.lairt
    Saint Petersburg, Russia

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  43. 43
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    added by slaft
    Sarnia, Canada

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  44. 44
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    - 11

    added by robm64
    Hamilton, Canada

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  45. 45
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    Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

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  46. 46
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    ranked low on reranks & added by mainpleine
    Murmansk, Russia

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  47. 47
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    No image

    added by BillVanJax
    London, Canada

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  48. 48
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    No image

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    Dodsland, Canada

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  49. 49
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    Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

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  50. 50
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    Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History


    Zdeno Chára Trenčín, Slovakia

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