The Best Defensemen in NHL History Hockey Players

The Best Defensemen in NHL History

14,016 views 40 items 7,909 votes 1,650 voters 12 followers 6reranks
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 Criteria: Only defensemen, not goalies, centers or wingers

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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 600
    Down 151

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Bobby Orr

    1948 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 553
    Down 165
    1970 More
    94
  3. 3
    Up 367
    Down 131
    1960 More
    84
  4. 4
    Up 211
    Down 114

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Larry Robinson

    1951 More
    82
  5. 5
    Up 228
    Down 121
    1953 More
    82
  6. 6
    Up 153
    Down 89

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Doug Harvey

    1924 More
    80
  7. 7
    Up 276
    Down 120
    1961 More
    79
  8. 8
    Up 241
    Down 123

    ranked high on reranks &ranked low on reranks
    Chris Chelios

    1962 More
    76
  9. 9
    Up 150
    Down 77

    ranked high on reranks
    Eddie Shore

    1902 More
    75
  10. 10
    Up 99
    Down 50

    often listed
    Al MacInnis

    1963 More
    69
  11. 11
    Up 198
    Down 95

    ranked low on reranks
    Scott Niedermayer

    1973 More
    69
  12. 12
    Up 231
    Down 113

    ranked low on reranks
    Scott Stevens

    1964 More
    68
  13. 13
    Up 102
    Down 69

    often listed
    Red Kelly

    1927 More
    67
  14. 14
    Up 179
    Down 93
    1968 More
    66
  15. 15
    Up 110
    Down 77

    often listed
    Tim Horton

    1930 More
    65
  16. 16
    Up 108
    Down 62
    1946 More
    65
  17. 17
    Up 102
    Down 54

    ranked low on reranks
    brad park

    61
  18. 18
    Up 71
    Down 76

    often listed
    Pierre Pilote

    1931 More
    58
  19. 19
    Up 107
    Down 65
    1948 More
    55
  20. 20
    Up 158
    Down 120
    1977 More
    50
  21. 21
    Up 20
    Down 20

    ranked high on reranks
    Brad Park

    1948 More
    50
  22. 22
    Up 99
    Down 91
    1961 More
    48
  23. 23
    Up 126
    Down 109

    ranked low on reranks
    Chris Pronger

    1974 More
    47
  24. 24
    Up 31
    Down 20

    ranked low on reranks
    Rob Blake

    1969 More
    45
  25. 25
    Up 26
    Down 27

    ranked high on reranks
    Mark Howe

    1955 More
    43
  26. 26
    Up 28
    Down 25
    1957 More
    43
  27. 27
    Up 65
    Down 72

    often listed
    Phil Housley

    1964 More
    41
  28. 28
    Up 44
    Down 83

    often listed &controversial
    Doug Wilson

    1957 More
    34
  29. 29
    Up 23
    Down 19
    1951 More
    32
  30. 30
    Up 14
    Down 10
    1972 More
    32
    added by: KarlisBalcers
    Player from Latvia! 
  31. 31
    Up 21
    Down 18

    Paul Coffey

    32
  32. 32
    Up 35
    Down 88

    often listed
    Randy Carlyle

    1956 More
    31
  33. 33
    Up 6
    Down 6
    1973 More
    30
    added by: willyboymcoy
  34. 34
    Up 6
    Down 32

    often listed
    Jack Stewart

    1917 More
    30
  35. 35
    Up 18
    Down 22
    1985 More
    30
    added by: BlakeMangone
  36. 36
    Up 4
    Down 5
    1971 More
    29
    added by: willyboymcoy
  37. 37
    Up 44
    Down 113

    often listed &controversial
    Duncan Keith

    1983 More
    29
  38. 38
    Up 5
    Down 10
    1968 More
    28
    added by: willyboymcoy
  39. 39
    Up 3
    Down 9

    about to drop off
    Mike Ramsey

    1960 More
    27
    added by: willyboymcoy
  40. 40
    Up 29
    Down 167

    often listed &controversial
    Dion Phaneuf

    1985 More
    21
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