NHL The Best Defensemen in NHL History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
39.1k votes 3.6k voters 60.6k 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!
list ordered by

1
2,039 417
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Parry Sound, Canada

2
1,770 530
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Krylbo, Sweden

3
717 286
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lisaann33 added Raymond Bourque

4
917 458
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Weston, Ontario, Toronto

5
779 416
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
631 341
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

7
580 327
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Inverness County, Canada

8
748 422
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guelph, Kitchener, Canada

9
543 334
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

10
510 322
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

11
404 258
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

12
494 324
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Toronto, Canada

13
419 251
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

14
457 335
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
WilsonS05 added Landsbro, Sweden

15
757 313
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

16
364 227
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Moscow, Russia

17
706 307
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Edmonton, Canada

18
580 339
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dryden, Canada

19
766 320
Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

20
331 199
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added London, Canada

21
443 413
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Winnipeg, Canada

22
353 181
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

23
365 303
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
BlakeMangone added Sicamous, Canada

24
339 254
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ottawa, Canada

25
336 190
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Taipei, Taiwan

26
608 264
Brian Leetch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

27
282 238
Pierre Pilote is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Jonquière, Saguenay, Canada

28
203 162
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
170 114
Dit Clapper is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Newmarket, Canada

30
533 319
Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Trenčín, Slovakia

31
278 280
Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Greater Sudbury, Canada

32
186 177
Paul Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

33
404 210
Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Cochrane, Canada

34
345 206
Larry Murphy is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

35
215 176
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
377 194
Serge Savard is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

37
198 152
Al Iafrate is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America

38
170 207
Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
JasonFonner added Elektrėnai, Lithuania

39
181 130
Kevin Hatcher is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

40
173 112
Ryan Suter is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lnlap added Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

41
222 90
Vladimir Konstantinov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Murmansk, Russia

42
306 127
Rob Blake is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

43
151 152
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Stratford, Canada

44
308 184
Phil Housley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

45
133 117
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Goodsoil, Canada

46
131 102
Alexei Kasatonov is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
adam.kane.lairt added Saint Petersburg, Russia

47
127 108
Babe Pratt is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada

48
132 127
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slaft added Montreal, Canada

49
134 109
Reed Larson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America

50
122 86
Pat Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
slaft added Sarnia, Canada