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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+ - 371 135
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Raymond Bourque

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+ - 661 299
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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+ - 582 282
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Denis Potvin Gatineau, Hull, Canada

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+ - 471 226
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Harvey Montreal, Canada

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+ - 417 196
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al MacInnis Inverness County, Canada

8
+ - 432 210
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Eddie Shore Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

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+ - 403 208
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guy Lapointe Montreal, Canada

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+ - 284 142
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Börje Salming Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

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+ - 542 280
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Stevens Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

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+ - 379 208
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brad Park Toronto, Canada

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+ - 255 118
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Viacheslav Fetisov Moscow, Russia

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+ - 256 143
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Erik Karlsson Landsbro, Sweden

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+ - 318 174
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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Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Shea Weber Sicamous, Canada

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+ - 344 257
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Duncan Keith Winnipeg, Canada

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+ - 272 173
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Wilson Ottawa, Canada

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

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+ - 252 116
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rod Langway Taipei, Taiwan

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+ - 200 105
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Drew Doughty London, Canada

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+ - 239 106
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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Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Niedermayer Edmonton, Canada

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+ - 155 73
Gary Suter is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Gary Suter Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

25
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Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Chelios Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

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+ - 502 263
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Robinson North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

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+ - 130 49
Dit Clapper is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dit Clapper Newmarket, Canada

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+ - 152 99
Paul Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Paul Reinhart Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

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Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Darius Kasparaitis Elektrėnai, Lithuania

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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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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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+ - 144 73
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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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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+ - 127 82
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Craig Hartsburg Stratford, Canada

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+ - 419 217
Brian Leetch is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brian Leetch Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

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+ - 125 64
Kevin Hatcher is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Kevin Hatcher Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

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+ - 107 49
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ron Greschner Goodsoil, Canada

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Ranker Video v
Carol Vadnais Montreal, Canada

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

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+ - 373 258
Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Zdeno Chára Trenčín, Slovakia

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+ - 107 48
Alexei Kasatonov is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Alexei Kasatonov Saint Petersburg, Russia

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

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+ - 94 35
Pat Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pat Stapleton Sarnia, Canada

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+ - 69 27
Harry Howell is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Harry Howell Hamilton, Canada

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Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Tim Horton Cochrane, Canada

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Bruce Driver is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Bruce Driver Etobicoke, Toronto, Canada

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+ - 273 165
Serge Savard is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Serge Savard Montreal, Canada