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Best All-Time Defenseman Round 4

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4th Greatest All-Time Defenseman  

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Maybe I was not clear enough last time I mentioned it.......................Brad Park

 

Park was the runner-up six times for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defender and earned a berth on the league's All-Star Team seven times. He was an easy choice for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

 

Guess who won it, all 6 times? Orr.........kind of hard to beat Superman

 

A foot note........Orr and Park actually played together for a couple of seasons................WOW!......think of that!

 

I think that underlines his worthiness to be on the list

 

 

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11 hours ago, janisahockeynut said:

Maybe I was not clear enough last time I mentioned it.......................Brad Park

 

Park was the runner-up six times for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defender and earned a berth on the league's All-Star Team seven times. He was an easy choice for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

 

Guess who won it, all 6 times? Orr.........kind of hard to beat Superman

 

A foot note........Orr and Park actually played together for a couple of seasons................WOW!......think of that!

 

I think that underlines his worthiness to be on the list

 

 

Yes Park should be on the list - the number one bridesmaid and who a lot of folks compared Doughty too until he won one.   And after Orr Potvin arrived making it equally as difficult to win one..and agree his name should be on the voting options already 

 

Edit:  Park and Orr were before my time (well I was alive for some/most of their careers but didn’t have a lot of exposure until later on - as in hearing about how great they were...)but I heard about them all the time especially from a friend who played against Wendel Clark, Neely and a whole slew of guys that generation (and called them pussie’s in Junior so that tells you a little about what he was like).   He played for the Tri-City Americans - an exceptional player but wasn’t drafted because he was too small.   Then grew from 5’10 160 lbs to 6’2 235 in his late teens early 20’s, played until he was around 23 and then quit and went to University.   
 

Used to say Orr was the best penalty killer ever - would just give him the puck and he’d skate around with it and play keep away for two minutes.   Also loved Park ... Potvin and Orr for sure and to a degree later Robinson played keep away from him ever winning a Norris.   He was good that’s for sure ... ranked number 49 by THNs famous 1998 ranking.   That’s ahead of most of the guys still available to vote for... Shore at 10 and Potvin at 18ish are glaring obmissions - same with Robinson at 24. 

Edited by IBatch
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13 hours ago, janisahockeynut said:

Maybe I was not clear enough last time I mentioned it.......................Brad Park

 

Park was the runner-up six times for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defender and earned a berth on the league's All-Star Team seven times. He was an easy choice for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

 

Guess who won it, all 6 times? Orr.........kind of hard to beat Superman

 

A foot note........Orr and Park actually played together for a couple of seasons................WOW!......think of that!

 

I think that underlines his worthiness to be on the list

 

 

Park was voted number 49 on the all-time 1998 Bible list by THN...for sure that’s exceptional territory even with some additions the past 20 years.   Bourque isn’t even considered the best defenseman on his own team (Boston) but ranked third (after Orr and Shore).  
 

To me the most glaring omissions so far are Shore and Potvin.   I never saw some of these guys play - including Orr and Park I was too young to remember even if I did back then.  But heard about them all the time from a buddy who played against guys like Wendel Clark and Neely (also called them pussies which tells you a little about him), who would often go on and on about Orr and sometimes Park.    Shore at 10 back then says a lot.   Back then the guys that made the list some of them watched all of them play.   Ahead of everyone but Orr and  Harvey...Potvin, Robinson, and Bourque also made the high cut (top 25ish)...Park 49.   Still ahead of a lot of nominees so I get your point for sure. 
 

Potvin IMO is the best of the best elite level guys after Orr, that said Harvey was number 6 in their 1998 list...ahead of Shore, because I never saw either of them play a deep dive shows that Shore would have won more Norris trophies then any player ever (first team votes -which didn’t start until he was well into his career) and the four Hart trophies and multiple runners ups etc have to be acknowledged, not to mention he was the meanest player at the time - or one of them.  
 

On THN.   They kind of pissed me off a little lately.  For 20 years since this ranking they repeatedly say that the 1998 ranking is the holy grail given how they did it - and they’d never move a player ahead of another after they retired.   Yet they have done that with one player.    So get that these things are subjective- and that a recency bias exists.   That said I challenge everyone to really look at it - if a former great player in his 30’s can keep up with the next crowd in their peak peak...then how would they do at the same age?  Better for sure. 

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15 hours ago, janisahockeynut said:

Maybe I was not clear enough last time I mentioned it.......................Brad Park

 

Park was the runner-up six times for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defender and earned a berth on the league's All-Star Team seven times. He was an easy choice for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

 

Guess who won it, all 6 times? Orr.........kind of hard to beat Superman

 

A foot note........Orr and Park actually played together for a couple of seasons................WOW!......think of that!

 

I think that underlines his worthiness to be on the list

 

 

Interesting read here Jan. 

https://thehockeywriters.com/best-nhl-defensemen-ever/

 

The Best NHL Defensemen Ever

First Pairing: Bobby Orr and Doug Harvey

Bobby Orr Best Defenceman Ever Orr was the best defenseman of all-time (Dick Raphael-US PRESSWIRE)

When the debate over which player was the best of all-time rears its ugly head, three names always come up— Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr.

Depending on your view, Orr is arguably the best player ever. Even if you disagree, there is no doubt that he is the best defenseman of all-time.

Orr was a pioneer for offensive defensemen. He was the first defenseman to really embrace the idea of making offense a priority and his end-to-end rushes were a thing of beauty to watch.

Orr is the only defenseman to score nine hat tricks, was the first defenseman to score 30 goals in a season (1969-70), the first defenseman to score 40 goals in a season (1974-75), the first player to register 100 assists in a season (1970-71), the only defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring (a feat he accomplished twice in 1969-70 and 1974-75), and he is the only player to win the Norris, Art Ross, Hart and Conn Smythe Trophy in a single season.

Orr owns the record for the most points in one season by a defenseman (139; 1970-71), most assists by a defenseman in one season (102; 1970-71), the highest plus/minus in one season (plus-124; 1970-71), and he ranks second overall for most goals by a defenseman in one season with 46 (Paul Coffey had 48 in 1985-86).

To put everything into perspective, Orr played a total of 657 NHL games, notching 270 goals and 645 assists for a total of 915 points. That’s an average of 1.393 points per game— fifth all-time and highest amongst defensemen. Again, Orr averaged the fifth highest points per game of all-time…and he was a defenseman!

Orr was so slick with the puck and so elusive when he was on the rush that his opponents and teammates often appeared to be moving in slow motion.

Say what you will about Paul Coffey, Denis Potvin, Doug Harvey, Larry Robinson, Eddie Shore, Nik Lidstrom and Raymond Bourque— Bobby Orr is still the best defenseman to ever lace up the skates.

Known as the best set-up man of his time and perhaps the best defensive defenseman ever, Doug Harvey ranks number six on The Hockey News’ top 100 players of all-time.

Doug Harvey Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens (THW Archives)

An 11-time All-star and seven-time Norris Trophy winner, Harvey’s skating was effortless and he might just be the cleanest hitter in NHL history.

Harvey was a wiz with the puck, rarely giving it up to opposing players, which resulted in Harvey controlling much of the games in which he played. Harvey’s stick handling, ability to take the puck off of opposing players sticks and pin-point passing made him one of the most dangerous defensemen of all-time.

Legendary hockey coach Toe Blake, who also witnessed the likes of Paul Coffey and Bobby Orr play, once said of Harvey: “As far as I’m concerned, he’s (Harvey) far and away the best defenseman ever”, said Blake.

Harvey was the quarterback of arguably the best power play of all-time, which included the likes of Bert Olmstead, Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Jean Beliveau and Bernie “Boom-Boom” Geoffrion. This power play unit was routinely able to score two or even three goals in a single two-minute penalty; which eventually resulted in the NHL changing the rule so that only a single goal could be scored before the penalized player would be allowed back on the ice.

When the NHL has to tweak its rule book in order to keep things fair you know you must be good. Harvey was a big reason that the league changed their rules, which speaks to his innovation and hockey acumen.

Second Pairing: Eddie Shore and Nicklas Lidstrom

 Like Orr before him, Nicklas Lidstrom dominated his hockey era through tremendous offensive and defensive play and the ability to rush the puck.

Best NHL defensemen ever - Lidstrom Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings (Icon SMI)

Through 1,564 career games, Lidstrom notched 264 goals (ninth all-time amongst defensemen) and 878 assists (sixth all-time amongst defensemen) for a total of 1,142 points (sixth all-time amongst defensemen) while boasting a career plus/minus of plus-450 (fourth all-time amongst defensemen).

Lidstrom also registered 132 power play markers (fifth all-time amongst defensemen) and his 183 playoff points (54 goals, 129 assists) ranks him second all-time amongst defensemen.

Lidstrom’s elusive skating made him next to impossible to hit, while his tremendous hockey IQ was off the charts. Lidstrom was rarely found out of position, which is a testament to his hockey IQ.

The Hockey News called Lidstrom the “best European-trained player ever in the NHL”. Lidstrom’s strong play on the International stage helped Sweden earn a Gold Medal at the 2006 Olympics and another Gold Medal at the 1991 World Championships.

 

Affectionately known as “Mr. Perfect”, Lidstrom is a seven-time Norris Trophy winner, the first European-born and trained captain of a Stanley Cup winning team (Detroit Red Wings; 2008), a Conn Smythe Trophy winner (2001-02) and a 12-time All-Star.

Few players had the vision that Lidstrom had on the ice. His uncanny ability to find players in open ice is legendary, as was his calm demeanor. While not a physical player, Lidstrom was the master of stealing pucks off of opposing forwards (much like Doug Harvey before him), often resulting in turnovers.

If you were going to start a team, Lidstrom would be high on any general managers list. His durability is legendary, as are his accomplishments within the NHL and the World stage.

Eddie Shore Eddie Shore was one of the toughest defensemen of all-time. (THW Archives)

When it came to gritty play and shutting down the opposition, few players were any better at it than legendary defenseman Eddie Shore.

 

Winner of four Hart Trophies as the league’s most valuable player (the most ever by a defenseman), Shore was a staple on the Boston Bruins’ blue line from 1926-27 through 1939-40, earning a reputation as a bruising defenseman with a taste for violence.

Shore’s on-going feud’s with opposing players, questionable hits and dirty tactics made him the most hated man in all of hockey— maybe even the most hated man in NHL history!

Retaliating for a hit he had received earlier in the game, Shore hit Toronto Maple Leafs’ star Irvine “Ace” Bailey from behind, sending the unsuspecting Bailey crashing to the ice where he hit his head. Unconscious from the hit, Bailey was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Bailey was later diagnosed with a fractured skull and nearly died in the operating room. Shore would receive a 16-game suspension for his actions. Sadly, Bailey never played another game.

greatest NHL defensemen Eddie Shore Eddie Shore (THW Archives)

Make no mistake about it, this was not an isolated incident as Shore’s career is riddled with stories of violence, injuries and blood spilling. In some ways, Shore was the original “goon”, but he could also play the game at a high level, which made him even more dangerous.

While not a significant offensive contributor (he registered 105 goals and 179 assists over 550 career NHL games) Shore, who appeared in eight All-Star games, is widely regarded as one of the game’s most feared players of all-time and his defensive prowess was legendary.

Shore won two Stanley Cups with the Bruins in 1928-29 and 1938-39 and is number 10 on The Hockey News’ top 100 players of all-time list.

Third Pairing: Larry Robinson and Raymond Bourque

Affectionately known as “Big Bird”, Larry Robinson was a staple on the Montreal Canadiens defense throughout their 1970’s dynasty.

Larry Robinson Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens (THW Archives)

Robinson’s career plus/minus rating of plus-730 ranks as the best ever recorded. Robinson posted a miraculous plus/minus rating of plus-120 in 1976-77, which is second only to Bobby Orr’s plus-124 in 1970-71.

Robinson earned a career 958 points (208 goals, 750 assists) ranking him ninth all-time amongst NHL defensemen.

At 6’4” and 225 pounds, Robinson was huge for his era. Not known as a fighter per say, Robinson had no trouble dropping the gloves when needed, as witnessed by his battle with legendary tough guy Dave “The Hammer” Schultz in which Robinson got the better of Schultz who was one of the best fighters in NHL history.

Like many of the great players, Robinson could do it all— skate, pass, score, hit and fight— and he exhibited great leadership which helped earn him six Stanley Cup Championships.

Robinson played 20 seasons in the NHL, boasting two Norris Trophies as the league’s best defenseman (1976-77, 1979-80), appeared in ten All-Star games and earned a Conn Smythe Trophy in 1977-78.

Robinson may not have been the best of all-time at any one discipline on the ice, but his consistency, durability, longevity, leadership, hockey IQ and overall play earns him a place on our team.

The career leader in points by a defenseman with 1,579 (410 goals, 1,169 assists),  second all-time in career plus/minus with a plus-528 rating, the most dominating defenseman on the power play with a career total of 173 goals and the career leader in game-winning goals by a defenseman with 60, Raymond Bourque is arguably the most dominating offensive defenseman of all-time.

Ray Bourque Bruins Raymond Bourque, Boston Bruins (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bourque is the all-time leader in shots on goal with 6,206, leading the league in 1984, 1987 and 1995. A five-time Norris Trophy winner, Bourque played in a league-leading 19 consecutive All-Star games, a record that will likely never be broken.

Known as a solid puck moving defenseman, Bourque spent 21 seasons with the Boston Bruins before requesting a trade in an attempt to fulfill his lifelong dream of winning a Stanley Cup. Bourque got his wish when he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in 1999-2000, where hehelped lead the Avalanche to their second Stanley Cup a year later— a seven-game series win against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.

For Bourque, it was the final validation of his legendary career and the icing on the cake for a player whose loyalty to the Bruins will forever be unmatched by an NHL player.

Seventh Defenseman: Paul Coffey

Known as a terrific skater and superb puck rusher, Paul Coffey ranks second all-time in goals (396), assists (1,135) and points (1,531) by a defenseman. He owns five of best single-season scoring records by a defenseman, all of which were 100+ point seasons, including 103 points in 1989-90 (29 goals, 74 assists), 113 points in 1988-89 (30 goals, 83 assists), 121 points in 1984-85 (37 goals, 84 assists), 126 points in 1983-84 (40 goals, 86 assists) and a 138 point effort in 1985-86 (48 goals, 90 assists).

best nhl defensemen Paul Coffey Paul Coffey, Edmonton Oilers (NHL.com)

Coffey’s 48 goals in a season ranks first all-time, while his 90-assist effort tied him for second overall, which he shared with Bobby Orr who is the only defenseman to ever register more assists in a season with 102 in 1970-71. Coffey also holds the NHL record for shorthanded goals by a defenseman with nine, while his seven game-winning goals in 1984-85 ranks him sixth all-time amongst defensemen.

As great as Coffey was in the regular season, he was equally dominant in the playoffs, registering the all-time record for points in 1984-85 with 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists). Coffey’s career 196 playoff points (59 goals, 137 assists) stand as the best of all-time amongst defensemen— only Ray Bourque had more career playoff assists by a defenseman with 139.

Coffey also holds the playoff record for shorthanded goals by a defenseman with seven and ranks second overall in game-winning goals by a defenseman in the playoffs with eight— second only to Nik Lidstrom who registered 11.

Some experts question Coffey’s defensive skills, but when you lead the league in as many offensive categories as Coffey does, nobody cares about his defense, which was still more than adequate.
The All-Time Best NHL Lineup

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