The Best Defensemen in NHL History Hockey Players
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4  reranks 8,769 votes 1,811 voters 21,143 views more info

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!
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 4 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 658
    Down 168

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Bobby Orr

    1948 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 615
    Down 182
    1970 More
    95
  3. 3
    Up 302
    Down 139
    1961 More
    85
  4. 4
    Up 247
    Down 135
    1953 More
    83
  5. 5
    Up 411
    Down 138
    1960 More
    83
  6. 6
    Up 226
    Down 130
    1951 More
    82
  7. 7
    Up 171
    Down 98
    1924 More
    81
  8. 8
    Up 122
    Down 64
    1948 More
    78
  9. 9
    Up 264
    Down 136
    1962 More
    75
  10. 10
    Up 164
    Down 87
    1902 More
    73
  11. 11
    Up 116
    Down 59
    1963 More
    70
  12. 12
    Up 108
    Down 80

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Red Kelly

    1927 More
    66
  13. 13
    Up 119
    Down 84
    1930 More
    66
  14. 14
    Up 214
    Down 105
    1973 More
    65
  15. 15
    Up 246
    Down 128
    1964 More
    65
  16. 16
    Up 196
    Down 108
    1968 More
    63
  17. 17
    Up 120
    Down 70
    1946 More
    61
  18. 18
    Up 78
    Down 85
    1931 More
    59
  19. 19
    Up 116
    Down 74
    1948 More
    51
  20. 20
    Up 174
    Down 141
    1977 More
    48
  21. 21
    Up 139
    Down 121
    1974 More
    46
  22. 22
    Up 43
    Down 26
    1969 More
    46
  23. 23
    Up 108
    Down 104
    1961 More
    45
  24. 24
    Up 38
    Down 33
    1955 More
    43
  25. 25
    Up 37
    Down 33
    1957 More
    43
  26. 26
    Up 69
    Down 81
    1964 More
    41
  27. 27
    Up 50
    Down 90
    1957 More
    35
  28. 28
    Up 37
    Down 100
    1956 More
    30
  29. 29
    Up 50
    Down 127

    often listed
    Duncan Keith

    1983 More
    30
  30. 30
    Up 31
    Down 24
    1951 More
    30
  31. 31
    Up 7
    Down 40

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jack Stewart

    1917 More
    28
  32. 32
    Up 20
    Down 15

    ranked low on reranks
    Sandis Ozoliņš

    1972 More
    23
    added by: KarlisBalcers
    Player from Latvia! 
  33. 33
    Up 27
    Down 29

    ranked low on reranks
    Shea Weber

    1985 More
    22
    added by: BlakeMangone
  34. 34
    Up 33
    Down 189

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dion Phaneuf

    1985 More
    21
  35. 35
    Up 9
    Down 10
    1971 More
    20
    added by: willyboymcoy
  36. 36
    Up 11
    Down 13
    1973 More
    20
    added by: willyboymcoy
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