The Best Defensemen in NHL History Hockey Players
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4  reranks 8,441 votes 1,834 voters 21,949 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
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 670
    Down 170

    the people's #1 & most listed 1948

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  2. 2
    Up 623
    Down 186

    1970

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  3. 3
    Up 306
    Down 145

    1961

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  4. 4
    Up 253
    Down 138

    1953

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  5. 5
    Up 232
    Down 130

    1951

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  6. 6
    Up 173
    Down 100

    1924

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  7. 7
    Up 125
    Down 67

    1948

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  8. 8
    Up 269
    Down 138

    1962

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  9. 9
    Up 166
    Down 92

    1902

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  10. 10
    Up 120
    Down 61

    1963

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  11. 11
    Up 111
    Down 81

    1927

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  12. 12
    Up 123
    Down 86

    1930

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  13. 13
    Up 220
    Down 107

    1973

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  14. 14
    Up 250
    Down 131

    1964

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  15. 15
    Up 202
    Down 111

    1968

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  16. 16
    Up 125
    Down 72

    1946

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  17. 17
    Up 81
    Down 87

    1931

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  18. 18
    Up 119
    Down 76

    1948

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  19. 19
    Up 177
    Down 146

    1977

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  20. 20
    Up 142
    Down 125

    1974

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  21. 21
    Up 44
    Down 28

    1969

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  22. 22
    Up 110
    Down 107

    1961

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  23. 23
    Up 43
    Down 35

    1955

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  24. 24
    Up 41
    Down 34

    1957

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  25. 25
    Up 72
    Down 82

    1964

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  26. 26
    Up 54
    Down 90

    1957

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  27. 27
    Up 37
    Down 24

    1951

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  28. 28
    Up 53
    Down 131

    often listed 1983

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  29. 29
    Up 38
    Down 102

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1956

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  30. 30
    Up 7
    Down 44

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1917

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  31. 31
    Up 31
    Down 30

    ranked low on reranks & added by BlakeMangone 1985

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  32. 32
    Up 21
    Down 19

    ranked low on reranks & added by KarlisBalcers 1972 Player from Latvia! 

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  33. 33
    Up 15
    Down 14

    added by willyboymcoy 1973

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  34. 34
    Up 35
    Down 193

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1985

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  35. 35
    Up 11
    Down 13

    new! & added by willyboymcoy 1971

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  36. 36 +

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