NHL The Best Defensemen in NHL History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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
1,802 370
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Bobby Orr Parry Sound, Canada

2
560 213
Raymond Bourque is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
lisaann33 added Raymond Bourque

3
1,549 463
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Nicklas Lidström Krylbo, Sweden

4
800 377
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Paul Coffey Weston, Ontario, Toronto

5
678 355
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Denis Potvin Gatineau, Hull, Canada

6
557 289
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Harvey Montreal, Canada

7
496 263
Al MacInnis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Al MacInnis Inverness County, Canada

8
646 350
Scott Stevens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Stevens Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

9
487 286
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Eddie Shore Fort Qu'Appelle, Canada

10
457 269
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Guy Lapointe Montreal, Canada

11
393 250
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
WilsonS05 added Erik Karlsson Landsbro, Sweden

12
432 272
Brad Park is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brad Park Toronto, Canada

13
321 175
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
mainpleine added Viacheslav Fetisov Moscow, Russia

14
341 209
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Börje Salming Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

The Best NHL Players of All Time

15
367 216
Red Kelly is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Red Kelly Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

16
403 336
Duncan Keith is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Duncan Keith Winnipeg, Canada

17
598 276
Scott Niedermayer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Scott Niedermayer Edmonton, Canada

18
641 287
Larry Robinson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Robinson North Dundas, Ontario, Canada

19
475 292
Chris Pronger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Pronger Dryden, Canada

20
325 245
Shea Weber is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
BlakeMangone added Shea Weber Sicamous, Canada

21
308 216
Doug Wilson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Doug Wilson Ottawa, Canada

The Best Healthy Cereal

22
666 282
Chris Chelios is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Chris Chelios Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

23
295 143
Mark Howe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Mark Howe Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

24
267 160
Drew Doughty is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
mainpleine added Drew Doughty London, Canada

25
293 156
Rod Langway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rod Langway Taipei, Taiwan

26
182 122
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
521 233
Brian Leetch is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Brian Leetch Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

28
151 86
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

29
253 234
Randy Carlyle is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Randy Carlyle Greater Sudbury, Canada

30
252 211
Pierre Pilote is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Pierre Pilote Jonquière, Saguenay, Canada

31
167 145
Paul Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Paul Reinhart Kitchener, Brantford, Canada

32
195 138
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
463 291
Zdeno Chára is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Zdeno Chára Trenčín, Slovakia

34
175 113
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
160 94
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

37 Celebrities Who Played High School Basketball

36
155 164
Darius Kasparaitis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
JasonFonner added Darius Kasparaitis Elektrėnai, Lithuania

37
155 80
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
194 66
Vladimir Konstantinov is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
mainpleine added Vladimir Konstantinov Murmansk, Russia

39
300 189
Larry Murphy is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Larry Murphy Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

40
339 198
Tim Horton is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Tim Horton Cochrane, Canada

41
136 120
Craig Hartsburg is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Craig Hartsburg Stratford, Canada

42
324 179
Serge Savard is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Serge Savard Montreal, Canada

The Best NHL Arenas

43
119 81
Ron Greschner is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
willyboymcoy added Ron Greschner Goodsoil, Canada

44
125 93
Ranker Video
slaft added Carol Vadnais Montreal, Canada

45
120 88
Babe Pratt is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
gaug66 added Babe Pratt Stony Mountain, Manitoba, Canada

46
119 80
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
123 82
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
241 116
Rob Blake is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Rob Blake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

49
104 63
Pat Stapleton is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
slaft added Pat Stapleton Sarnia, Canada

50
258 168
Phil Housley is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Defensemen in NHL History
Phil Housley Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America