There has been some banter during these playoffs as to whether Nicklas Lidstrom should be considered one of the top defencemen of all-time. His resumé speaks for itself: five Norris Trophies, three Cups, 10 all-star game appearances and a Conn Smythe trophy. Add in that he could become the first European-born player to captain a team to a title later this evening—and that while living in Detroit he has somehow acquired an awesome southern accent—and it’s no surprise that Lidstrom would garner such attention. But is he one of the greatest of all-time? Maybe down the road, but he’ll be hard pressed to crack the Top 5 list below.
5. EDDIE SHORE
So he only recorded 284 points in his entire career, plus a paltry 19 in the playoffs. Eddie Shore is on the list for two simple reasons: he won the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP four times and revolutionized the game by being the first true rushing defenceman. And when you add that he was loathed in every arena he played for his abrasive style, his legend and impact on the game are beyond refute.
Goals: 105 Assists: 179 Points: 284
Hart Trophies: 4
Stanley Cups: 2
4. PAUL COFFEY
You just can’t argue with his stats and playmaking ability. Plus any player would give their left you-know-what to skate like him.
Goals: 396 Assists: 1135 Points: 1531
Norris Trophies: 3
Stanley Cups: 4
3. RAY BOURQUE
He may have won only one Cup in his career, but Ray Bourque left the game as a five-time Norris winner whose 1,579 total points and 410 goals currently lead all defencemen. His 180 playoff points are also second only to “butter-skates” above.
Goals: 410 Assists: 1169 Points: 1579
Norris Trophies: 5
Stanley Cups: 1
2. DOUG HARVEY
Blacklisted by the league because of his involvement with trying to form a player’s association, Harvey still managed to win seven Norris Trophies in eight years. With his amazing offensive rushes and defensive prowess he dominated the game for nearly a decade and a half.
Goals: 88 Assists:452 Points: 540
Norris Trophies: 7
Stanley Cups: 6
1. BOBBY ORR
Yeah, that’s right, Robert Gordon Orr. You got a problem with that? I didn’t think so. If his career hadn’t ended early due to knee injuries he might easily be regarded as the greatest player in the history of the game. Want proof? He’s the only defenceman to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s highest scorer (which he did twice), he averaged an amazing 1.39 points per game during his career and won the Norris Trophy eight years in a row. For more proof, check out his accomplishments and the clip below.
Goals: 270 Assists:645 Points: 915
Hart Trophies: 3
Norris Trophies: 8
Stanley Cups: 2
Art Ross Trophies: 2
Conn Smythe: 2