NHL The Best Defensemen in NHL History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
39.8k votes 3.6k voters 61.1k 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!
list ordered by

1
2,059 422
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Parry Sound, Canada

2
1,786 537
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Krylbo, Sweden

3
727 293
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lisaann33 added Raymond Bourque

4
933 462
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Weston, Ontario, Toronto

5
785 420
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
637 343
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

7
585 333
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Inverness County, Canada

8
758 425
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guelph, Kitchener, Canada

9
548 338
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

10
514 326
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

11
409 262
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

12
427 253
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

13
498 329
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Toronto, Canada

14
461 342
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
WilsonS05 added Landsbro, Sweden

15
764 315
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

16
369 232
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Moscow, Russia

17
716 308
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Edmonton, Canada

18
591 339
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Dryden, Canada

19
778 323
Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

20
334 206
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added London, Canada

21
448 420
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Winnipeg, Canada

22
360 184
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

23
368 307
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
BlakeMangone added Sicamous, Canada

24
344 259
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Ottawa, Canada

25
343 192
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Taipei, Taiwan

26
620 265
Brian Leetch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

27
286 241
Pierre Pilote is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Jonquière, Saguenay, Canada

28
206 166
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
170 117
Dit Clapper is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Newmarket, Canada

30
281 283
Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Greater Sudbury, Canada

31
538 324
Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Trenčín, Slovakia

32
187 180
Paul Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

33
411 211
Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Cochrane, Canada

34
352 207
Larry Murphy is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

35
218 179
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
384 194
Serge Savard is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Montreal, Canada

37
203 153
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
174 210
Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
JasonFonner added Elektrėnai, Lithuania

39
178 115
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
183 133
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
224 92
Vladimir Konstantinov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
doremifasola added Murmansk, Russia

42
315 127
Rob Blake is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

43
151 156
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Stratford, Canada

44
317 184
Phil Housley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America

45
134 121
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Goodsoil, Canada

46
130 111
Babe Pratt is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada

47
132 105
Alexei Kasatonov is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
adam.kane.lairt added Saint Petersburg, Russia

48
132 130
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slaft added Montreal, Canada

49
134 112
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 88
Pat Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
slaft added Sarnia, Canada