NHL The Best Defensemen in NHL History  

Ranker Community
Originally by
29.7k votes 2.8k voters 55.1k views 131 items Embed

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
1,680 354
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Bobby Orr Parry Sound, Canada

2
1,464 431
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Nicklas Lidström Krylbo, Sweden

3
491 183
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lisaann33 added Raymond Bourque

4
737 352
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Paul Coffey Weston, Ontario, Toronto

5
646 330
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Denis Potvin Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
527 270
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Harvey Montreal, Canada

7
463 244
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al MacInnis Inverness County, Canada

8
607 326
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Stevens Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

9
472 263
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Eddie Shore Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

10
355 211
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
WilsonS05 added Erik Karlsson Landsbro, Sweden

11
438 252
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guy Lapointe Montreal, Canada

12
324 190
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Börje Salming Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

13
418 254
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brad Park Toronto, Canada

14
300 160
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
mainpleine added Viacheslav Fetisov Moscow, Russia

The Best NHL Players of All Time

15
352 205
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Red Kelly Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

16
382 311
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Duncan Keith Winnipeg, Canada

17
569 264
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Niedermayer Edmonton, Canada

18
444 268
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Pronger Dryden, Canada

19
304 219
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
BlakeMangone added Shea Weber Sicamous, Canada

20
595 279
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Robinson North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

21
298 206
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Wilson Ottawa, Canada

The Best Bollywood Movies on Netflix

22
276 130
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
282 143
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rod Langway Taipei, Taiwan

24
627 273
Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Chelios Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

25
243 143
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
mainpleine added Drew Doughty London, Canada

26
172 108
Gary Suter is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
mainpleine added Gary Suter Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

27
144 79
Dit Clapper is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dit Clapper Newmarket, Canada

28
495 229
Brian Leetch is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brian Leetch Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

The Best NHL Teams of All Time

29
249 201
Pierre Pilote is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pierre Pilote Jonquière, Saguenay, Canada

30
247 224
Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Randy Carlyle Greater Sudbury, Canada

31
162 130
Paul Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Paul Reinhart Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

32
183 125
Brian Rafalski is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Brian Rafalski Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

33
153 149
Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
JasonFonner added Darius Kasparaitis Elektrėnai, Lithuania

34
167 102
Al Iafrate is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
mainpleine added Al Iafrate Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

35
150 85
Kevin Hatcher is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
mainpleine added Kevin Hatcher Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

The Creepiest Sports Mascots

36
144 71
Ryan Suter is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lnlap added Ryan Suter Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

37
435 284
Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Zdeno Chára Trenčín, Slovakia

38
183 57
Vladimir Konstantinov is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
mainpleine added Vladimir Konstantinov Murmansk, Russia

39
134 107
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Craig Hartsburg Stratford, Canada

40
293 183
Larry Murphy is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Murphy Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

41
323 193
Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Tim Horton Cochrane, Canada

42
116 72
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Ron Greschner Goodsoil, Canada

The Best NHL Arenas

43
122 82
Ranker Video
slaft added Carol Vadnais Montreal, Canada

44
305 176
Serge Savard is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Serge Savard Montreal, Canada

45
114 71
Alexei Kasatonov is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
adam.kane.lairt added Alexei Kasatonov Saint Petersburg, Russia

46
116 82
Babe Pratt is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Babe Pratt Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada

47
119 74
Reed Larson is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Reed Larson Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America

48
101 54
Pat Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
slaft added Pat Stapleton Sarnia, Canada

49
223 112
Rob Blake is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rob Blake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

50
91 74
Bruce Driver is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Bruce Driver Etobicoke, Toronto, Canada