NHL The Best Defensemen in NHL History  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
37.6k votes 3.5k voters 60k views 131 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!

1
1,988 412
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Bobby Orr Parry Sound, Canada

2
691 270
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lisaann33 added Raymond Bourque

3
1,724 521
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Nicklas Lidström Krylbo, Sweden

4
899 439
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Paul Coffey Weston, Ontario, Toronto

5
761 404
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Denis Potvin Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
617 332
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Harvey Montreal, Canada

7
566 316
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al MacInnis Inverness County, Canada

8
735 405
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Stevens Guelph, Kitchener, Canada

9
533 322
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Eddie Shore Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

10
486 309
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brad Park Toronto, Canada

11
499 313
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guy Lapointe Montreal, Canada

12
393 248
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Börje Salming Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

13
444 316
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
WilsonS05 added Erik Karlsson Landsbro, Sweden

14
404 246
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Red Kelly Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

15
358 215
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Viacheslav Fetisov Moscow, Russia

16
734 307
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Robinson North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

17
684 302
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Niedermayer Edmonton, Canada

18
558 329
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Pronger Dryden, Canada

19
748 308
Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Chelios Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

20
435 398
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Duncan Keith Winnipeg, Canada

21
315 192
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Drew Doughty London, Canada

22
343 173
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Mark Howe Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

23
333 247
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Wilson Ottawa, Canada

24
327 182
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rod Langway Taipei, Taiwan

25
350 296
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
BlakeMangone added Shea Weber Sicamous, Canada

26
590 256
Brian Leetch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brian Leetch Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

27
199 147
Gary Suter is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Gary Suter Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

28
166 104
Dit Clapper is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dit Clapper Newmarket, Canada

29
276 231
Pierre Pilote is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pierre Pilote Jonquière, Saguenay, Canada

30
274 269
Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Randy Carlyle Greater Sudbury, Canada

31
518 315
Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Zdeno Chára Trenčín, Slovakia

32
183 168
Paul Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Paul Reinhart Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

33
388 206
Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Tim Horton Cochrane, Canada

34
210 170
Brian Rafalski is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Brian Rafalski Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

35
335 204
Larry Murphy is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Murphy Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

36
178 121
Kevin Hatcher is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Kevin Hatcher Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

37
194 143
Al Iafrate is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Al Iafrate Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

38
165 198
Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
JasonFonner added Darius Kasparaitis Elektrėnai, Lithuania

39
168 106
Ryan Suter is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lnlap added Ryan Suter Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

40
364 190
Serge Savard is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Serge Savard Montreal, Canada

41
216 82
Vladimir Konstantinov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Vladimir Konstantinov Murmansk, Russia

42
151 141
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Craig Hartsburg Stratford, Canada

43
289 126
Rob Blake is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rob Blake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

44
132 105
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Ron Greschner Goodsoil, Canada

45
131 114
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slaft added Carol Vadnais Montreal, Canada

46
297 181
Phil Housley is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Phil Housley Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

47
129 94
Alexei Kasatonov is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
adam.kane.lairt added Alexei Kasatonov Saint Petersburg, Russia

48
126 104
Babe Pratt is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Babe Pratt Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada

49
132 102
Reed Larson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Reed Larson Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America

50
118 81
Pat Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
slaft added Pat Stapleton Sarnia, Canada