NHL The Best Defensemen in NHL History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
36k votes 3.3k voters 59k views 130 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
1,939 406
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Bobby Orr Parry Sound, Canada

2
1,681 504
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Nicklas Lidström Krylbo, Sweden

3
652 261
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lisaann33 added Raymond Bourque

4
878 421
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Paul Coffey Weston, Ontario, Toronto

5
742 389
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Denis Potvin Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
601 322
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Harvey Montreal, Canada

7
545 302
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al MacInnis Inverness County, Canada

8
708 391
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Stevens Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

9
518 311
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Eddie Shore Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

10
383 234
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Börje Salming Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

11
485 302
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guy Lapointe Montreal, Canada

12
466 299
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brad Park Toronto, Canada

13
430 297
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
WilsonS05 added Erik Karlsson Landsbro, Sweden

14
346 203
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Viacheslav Fetisov Moscow, Russia

The Best NHL Players of All Time

15
392 238
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Red Kelly Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

16
660 294
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Niedermayer Edmonton, Canada

17
699 304
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Robinson North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

18
535 316
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Pronger Dryden, Canada

19
723 301
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
426 377
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Duncan Keith Winnipeg, Canada

21
332 164
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Mark Howe Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

The 20+ Best Matthew McConaughey Movies of All Time

22
296 181
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Drew Doughty London, Canada

23
326 237
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Wilson Ottawa, Canada

24
343 279
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
BlakeMangone added Shea Weber Sicamous, Canada

25
317 176
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rod Langway Taipei, Taiwan

26
566 249
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
196 136
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
161 98
Dit Clapper is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dit Clapper Newmarket, Canada

The Best NHL Teams of All Time

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272 253
Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Randy Carlyle Greater Sudbury, Canada

30
264 224
Pierre Pilote is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pierre Pilote Jonquière, Saguenay, Canada

31
182 157
Paul Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Paul Reinhart Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

32
499 305
Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Zdeno Chára Trenčín, Slovakia

33
207 157
Brian Rafalski is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Brian Rafalski Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

34
175 110
Kevin Hatcher is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Kevin Hatcher Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

35
189 131
Al Iafrate is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Al Iafrate Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

The Weirdest Sports from Around the World

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163 183
Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
JasonFonner added Darius Kasparaitis Elektrėnai, Lithuania

37
165 96
Ryan Suter is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lnlap added Ryan Suter Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

38
371 202
Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Tim Horton Cochrane, Canada

39
321 197
Larry Murphy is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Murphy Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

40
211 76
Vladimir Konstantinov is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Vladimir Konstantinov Murmansk, Russia

41
348 187
Serge Savard is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Serge Savard Montreal, Canada

42
147 134
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Craig Hartsburg Stratford, Canada

The Best NHL Arenas

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131 96
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Ron Greschner Goodsoil, Canada

44
270 122
Rob Blake is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rob Blake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

45
130 106
Ranker Video
slaft added Carol Vadnais Montreal, Canada

46
126 89
Alexei Kasatonov is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
adam.kane.lairt added Alexei Kasatonov Saint Petersburg, Russia

47
125 98
Babe Pratt is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Babe Pratt Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada

48
284 174
Phil Housley is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Phil Housley Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

49
127 96
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
146 72
Éric Desjardins is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Éric Desjardins Rouyn-Noranda, Canada