NHL The Best Defensemen in NHL History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
41.1k votes 3.7k voters 61.6k 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
2,096 424
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Parry Sound, Canada

2
747 302
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lisaann33 added Raymond Bourque

3
1,816 545
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Krylbo, Sweden

4
949 470
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Weston, Ontario, York

5
796 430
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
647 354
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

7
595 340
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Inverness County, Canada

8
769 435
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guelph, Kitchener, Canada

9
554 346
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

10
420 272
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

11
521 336
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

12
435 261
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

13
503 337
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Toronto, Canada

14
467 354
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
WilsonS05 added Landsbro, Sweden

15
781 320
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

16
379 241
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Moscow, Russia

17
728 313
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Edmonton, Canada

18
600 348
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dryden, Canada

19
794 331
Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

20
455 430
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Winnipeg, Canada

21
341 214
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added London, Canada

22
379 311
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
BlakeMangone added Sicamous, Canada

23
367 193
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

24
346 267
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ottawa, Canada

25
347 200
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Taipei, Taiwan

26
630 270
Brian Leetch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

27
289 250
Pierre Pilote is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Jonquière, Saguenay, Canada

28
209 174
Gary Suter is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

29
548 331
Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Trenčín, Slovakia

30
281 295
Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Greater Sudbury, Canada

31
171 126
Dit Clapper is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Newmarket, Canada

32
188 188
Paul Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

33
421 216
Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Cochrane, Canada

34
355 215
Larry Murphy is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

35
220 186
Brian Rafalski is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

36
205 160
Al Iafrate is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

37
176 219
Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
JasonFonner added Elektrėnai, Lithuania

38
392 201
Serge Savard is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

39
181 121
Ryan Suter is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lnlap added Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

40
186 139
Kevin Hatcher is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

41
230 95
Vladimir Konstantinov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Murmansk, Russia

42
322 131
Rob Blake is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

43
154 163
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Stratford, Canada

44
324 189
Phil Housley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

45
136 126
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Goodsoil, Canada

46
133 134
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slaft added Montreal, Canada

47
134 110
Alexei Kasatonov is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
adam.kane.lairt added Saint Petersburg, Russia

48
130 117
Babe Pratt is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada

49
124 93
Pat Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
slaft added Sarnia, Canada

50
135 118
Reed Larson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America