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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  1. 1
    Up 721
    Down 176

    the people's #1 & most listed 1948

    open
  2. 2
    Up 659
    Down 192

    1970

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  3. 3
    Up 267
    Down 145

    1953

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  4. 4
    Up 244
    Down 153

    1951

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  5. 5
    Up 187
    Down 108

    1924

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  6. 6
    Up 138
    Down 70

    1963

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  7. 7
    Up 321
    Down 170

    1961

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  8. 8
    Up 279
    Down 159

    1962

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  9. 9
    Up 134
    Down 85

    1948

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  10. 10
    Up 238
    Down 126

    1973

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  11. 11
    Up 264
    Down 151

    1964

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  12. 12
    Up 177
    Down 99

    1902

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  13. 13
    Up 211
    Down 130

    1968

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  14. 14
    Up 130
    Down 106

    1930

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  15. 15
    Up 140
    Down 81

    1948

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  16. 16
    Up 114
    Down 100

    1927

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  17. 17
    Up 87
    Down 105

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1931

    open
  18. 18
    Up 130
    Down 92

    1946

    open
  19. 19
    Up 50
    Down 46

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1969

    open
  20. 20
    Up 191
    Down 159

    1977

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  21. 21
    Up 59
    Down 26

    1951

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  22. 22
    Up 54
    Down 38

    1955

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  23. 23
    Up 148
    Down 138

    1974

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  24. 24
    Up 116
    Down 120

    1961

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  25. 25
    Up 47
    Down 40

    1957

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  26. 26
    Up 75
    Down 97

    1964

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  27. 27
    Up 71
    Down 94

    1957

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  28. 28
    Up 54
    Down 107

    ranked high on reranks 1956

    open
  29. 29
    Up 66
    Down 137

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1983

    open
  30. 30
    Up 13
    Down 53

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1917

    open
  31. 31
    Up 40
    Down 33

    ranked low on reranks & added by BlakeMangone 1985

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  32. 32
    Up 13
    Down 4

    ranked low on reranks & added by gaug66 1916

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  33. 33
    Up 7
    Down 2
    No image

    added by gaug66 1959

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  34. 34
    Up 7
    Down 3

    added by gaug66 1960

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  35. 35
    Up 4
    Down 3

    added by gaug66 1956

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  36. 36
    Up 18
    Down 23

    added by willyboymcoy 1973

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  37. 37
    Up 2
    Down 3

    new! & added by gaug66 1953

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  38. 38
    Up 14
    Down 20

    added by willyboymcoy 1971

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  39. 39
    Up 21
    Down 30

    added by KarlisBalcers 1972 Player from Latvia! 

    open
  40. 40
    Up 35
    Down 209

    1985

    open
  41. 41 +

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