NHL The Best Defensemen in NHL History  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
42.1k votes 3.8k voters 62.2k views 128 items

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!
list ordered by

1
2,145 430
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Parry Sound, Canada

2
780 316
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lisaann33 added Raymond Bourque

3
1,857 554
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Krylbo, Sweden

4
974 481
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Weston, Ontario, Toronto

5
819 445
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
664 364
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

7
612 348
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Inverness County, Canada

8
788 444
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guelph, Kitchener, Canada

9
564 353
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

10
430 282
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

11
529 344
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

12
513 344
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Toronto, Canada

13
443 269
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

14
484 368
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
WilsonS05 added Landsbro, Sweden

15
798 322
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

16
743 315
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Edmonton, Canada

17
384 246
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Moscow, Russia

18
613 352
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dryden, Canada

19
810 335
Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

20
470 438
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Winnipeg, Canada

21
393 315
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
BlakeMangone added Sicamous, Canada

22
352 219
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added London, Canada

23
375 198
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

24
354 271
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ottawa, Canada

25
352 205
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Taipei, Taiwan