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!

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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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Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Nicklas Lidström Krylbo, Sweden

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+ - 319 112
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Raymond Bourque

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

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+ - 452 207
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Harvey Montreal, Canada

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+ - 550 265
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Denis Potvin Gatineau, Hull Canada

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+ - 418 192
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Eddie Shore Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

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+ - 393 181
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al MacInnis Inverness County, Canada

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+ - 269 119
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Börje Salming Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

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+ - 387 184
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guy Lapointe Montreal, Canada

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+ - 366 190
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brad Park Toronto, Canada

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+ - 521 260
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Stevens Kitchener, Brantford Canada

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+ - 241 102
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Viacheslav Fetisov Moscow, Russia

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+ - 303 161
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Red Kelly Simcoe, Ontario Canada

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+ - 214 128
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Erik Karlsson Landsbro, Sweden

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+ - 246 137
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Shea Weber Sicamous, Canada

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+ - 330 233
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Duncan Keith Winnipeg, Canada

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+ - 260 160
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Wilson Ottawa, Canada

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+ - 189 86
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Drew Doughty London, Canada

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+ - 243 103
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rod Langway Taipei, Taiwan

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+ - 361 212
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Pronger Dryden, Canada

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+ - 225 95
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Mark Howe Detroit, Michigan United States of America

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+ - 148 60
Gary Suter is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Gary Suter Madison, Wisconsin United States of America

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+ - 126 37
Dit Clapper is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dit Clapper Newmarket, Canada

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+ - 455 238
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Niedermayer Edmonton, Canada

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+ - 140 86
Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Darius Kasparaitis Elektrėnai, Lithuania

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+ - 149 85
Paul Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Paul Reinhart Kitchener, Brantford Canada

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Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Chelios Chicago, Illinois United States of America

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+ - 473 257
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Robinson North Dundas, Ontario Canada

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Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Randy Carlyle Greater Sudbury, Canada

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+ - 223 165
Pierre Pilote is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pierre Pilote Jonquière, Saguenay Canada

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+ - 140 60
Al Iafrate is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al Iafrate Dearborn, Michigan United States of America

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+ - 152 82
Brian Rafalski is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brian Rafalski Dearborn, Michigan United States of America

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Ryan Suter is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ryan Suter Madison, Wisconsin United States of America

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+ - 124 72
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Craig Hartsburg Stratford, Canada

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+ - 120 53
Kevin Hatcher is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Kevin Hatcher Detroit, Michigan United States of America

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+ - 103 37
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ron Greschner Goodsoil, Canada

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Carol Vadnais Montreal, Canada

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+ - 391 211
Brian Leetch is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brian Leetch Corpus Christi, Texas United States of America

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+ - 105 39
Alexei Kasatonov is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Alexei Kasatonov Saint Petersburg, Russia

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+ - 141 33
Vladimir Konstantinov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Vladimir Konstantinov Murmansk, Russia

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+ - 109 55
Babe Pratt is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Babe Pratt Stony Mountain, Manitoba Canada

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+ - 93 28
Pat Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pat Stapleton Sarnia, Canada

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

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+ - 68 20
Harry Howell is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Harry Howell Hamilton, Canada

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Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Zdeno Chára Trenčín, Slovakia

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+ - 257 162
Larry Murphy is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Murphy Scarborough, Toronto Canada

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Bruce Driver is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Bruce Driver Etobicoke, Toronto Canada

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+ - 274 181
Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Tim Horton Cochrane, Canada

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+ - 91 30
Brad McCrimmon is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brad McCrimmon Dodsland, Canada