NHL The Best Defensemen in NHL History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
42.9k votes 3.9k voters 62.6k views 125 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
2,177 438
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Parry Sound, Canada

2
800 326
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lisaann33 added Raymond Bourque

3
1,883 562
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Krylbo, Sweden

4
986 487
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Weston, Ontario, Toronto

5
829 453
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
672 371
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

7
622 355
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Inverness County, Canada

8
797 453
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guelph, Kitchener, Canada

9
569 359
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

10
534 348
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

11
437 289
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

12
450 273
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

13
517 351
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Toronto, Canada

14
811 325
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

15
750 322
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Edmonton, Canada

16
490 384
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
WilsonS05 added Landsbro, Sweden

17
391 255
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Moscow, Russia

18
621 358
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dryden, Canada

19
822 338
Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

20
481 445
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Winnipeg, Canada

21
397 322
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
BlakeMangone added Sicamous, Canada

22
358 226
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added London, Canada

23
378 203
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

24
360 276
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ottawa, Canada

25
355 212
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Taipei, Taiwan