Over the course of its history, the NHL has had numerous incredible Defensemen who were able to put their teams on their backs and achieve tremendous levels of success.
Let’s take a look at my Top Five Defensemen of All-Time in NHL history.
5. Ray Bourque:
Ray Bourque was the face of Boston’s franchise from 1980-2000, however his biggest draw back was not being able to bring the Bruins a Stanley Cup.
Bourque was able to get his fair share of scoring in his 1,612 games, recording 410 goals, and 1,169 assists.
Along with his incredible stats, Bourque was also able to win five Norris Trophies in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, and 1994.
Bourque also won the Calder Trophy in 1980 for Rookie of the Year.
In 2001 Bourque was finally able to accomplish his ultimate goal; to win a Stanley Cup.
Bourque won the Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche in what was his last game he ever played in.
Had Bourque been able to win a Stanley Cup in Boston, he definitely moves up in this list for me.
4. Red Kelly:
Playing in Detroit from 1948-1959, and Toronto from 1960-1967, Red Kelly was able to win a total of eight Stanley Cups.
In Detroit Kelly won Stanley Cups in 1950, 1952, 1954, and 1955, in Toronto Kelly won Stanley Cups in 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1967.
In a total of 1,316 games, Red Kelly was able to score 281 goals, and 542 assists.
Keeping Kelly from being higher on this list is the fact that he was only able win one Norris Trophy in 1954; had Kelly been able to win more Norris’ the debate for the third and fourth spot would be closer.
However, that is not the case so I feel fourth is the right spot for Red Kelly.
3. Doug Harvey:
Doug Harvey is the sole reason Red Kelly is fourth on this list and not third. Kelly may have had more Stanley Cups, as Harvey won a total of six, all with the Montreal Canadiens, but Harvey won seven Norris Trophies compared to Kelly’s one.
And yes this was in the same time period.
Harvey played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1948-1961, the New York Rangers from 1962-1964, the Detroit Red Wings in 1967, and the St. Louis Blues in 1969.
Doug Harvey won Stanley Cups in 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, and 1960, along with Norris Trophies in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, and 1962.
Add to these achievements 88 goals, and 452 assists in his 1,113 games played.
Clearly Harvey was not a huge goal scorer, but his ability to help the Montreal Canadiens win six Stanley Cups, and his enormous amount of Norris Trophies makes up for this.
2. Nicklas Lidstrom:
Nicklas Lidstrom played an extremely long career, a total of 1,564 games to be exact.
Over the course of his career Lidstrom stayed in one place; Detroit.
Lidstrom was able to win four Stanley Cups, in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008, along with seven Norris Trophies in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011.
He also had the numbers to back it up too; recording 264 goals, and 878 assists.
The most impressive award Lidstrom won in my opinion was the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002.
The 2002 Detroit Red Wings is considered one of the greatest NHL teams of All-Time, and Lidstrom was able to win MVP of the Playoffs for that team.
As incredible as Lidstrom’s resume is, nobody will ever be able to top the best Defensemen of All-Time.
1. Bobby Orr:
Orr is the only Defensemen on this list who was not able to play 1,000 games, however his skating ability and ability to score led him to revolutionize not only the way the position was played, but also the game of Hockey.
In his 657 games played Orr was able to record 270 goals, and 645 assists.
Bobby Orr played for Boston from 1967-1976, and Chicago from 1977-1979.
In his years in Boston, Orr was able to win two Stanley Cups in 1970, and 1972, the Conn Smythe Award in 1970, and 1972, the Hart Memorial Trophy in 1970, 1971, and 1972, the Ted Lindsay Award in 1975, and the Calder Trophy in 1967 as Rookie of the Year.
When you think it can’t get even more impressive it does, Orr not only won eight Norris Trophies, he won them all in a row from 1968-1975.
To this day, that is still a record.
Knee injuries would end Orr’s career early, however he is still by far the greatest Defensemen of All-Time not only for his accomplishments, and stats, but also for his role in revolutionizing the game of Hockey.
Ray Bourque Boston: www.wikipedia.com
Ray Bourque Stanley Cup: www.pinterest.com
Ray Bourque Norris: www.hhof.com
Red Kelly: www.NHL.com
Red Kelly Stanley Cup: www.hhof.com
Doug Harvey Stanley Cup: www.pinterest.com
Doug Harvey: www.thirdstringgoalie.com
Nicklas Lidstrom: www.sports.yahoo.com
Nicklas Lidstrom Stanley Cup: www.theafhl.com
Nicklas Lidstrom Conn Smythe: www.qsl.net
Bobby Orr Boston: www.vintagesportsimages.com
Bobby Orr Stanley Cup: www.NHL.com
Bobby Orr Awards: www.bobbyorr.net
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