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11-24-2012, 11:08 PM
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Lidstrom won the Norris seven times. He was named to the First Team ten times. He was voted best defenseman by one of those two measures He was named to the second team twice.

Many make the argument against Lidstrom that he didn't break out into the league's top-tier right away like Bourque, Orr, etc. did. But those same people will also turn around and say that Bourque's prime was better despite fewer Norrises, because it was "a very deep pool of elite defensemen all in their primes" with Bourque competing with Coffey, Chelios, Stevens, MacInnis, Leetch, Murphy, and Housley.

And that deep group of prime defensemen just happened to coincide with the start of Lidstrom's career. Yet Lidstrom still had the following finishes:

1992: 8th in All-Star voting as a rookie, 2nd in Calder
1994: 8th Norris, 17th All-Star.
1996: 6th Norris, 6th AS.
1997: 6th Norris, 6th AS.
1998: 2nd Norris, 1st AS
1999: 2nd Norris, 2nd AS
2000: 2nd Norris, 2nd AS
2001: 1st Norris, 1st AS
2002: 1st Norris, 1st AS
2003: 1st Norris, 1st AS
2004: 6th Norris, 5th AS
2006: 1st Norris, 1st AS
2007: 1st Norris, 1st AS
2008: 1st Norris, 1st AS
2009: 3rd Norris, 3rd AS
2010: 4th Norris, 4th AS
2011: 1st Norris, 1st AS
2012: 5th Norris, 5th AS

So basically, Lidstrom entered the league as a top 10 defenseman. And as he rounded into his mid 20s, he became more polished and moved into a top 6 slot, which soon became a top-two and then a top-one slot. Even at the end, he was still a top-five defenseman. Which group of defensemen is better? What Lidstrom has played against the past four years, or what Bourque played against from 98-01?

Lidstrom, to me, is better than Bourque. Bourque has gaudier offensive totals, but just like with forwards we have to remember that those big numbers were 80s and early 90s. And it's notable that the big scoring differences between now/DPE and then are largely made up by bottom sixers and defensemen, not top-line players. So gaudy defense scoring from that era (Coffey, Bourque, Housley, etc.) is more about the style of play than the talent of the individual player.

Last edited by pdd: 11-24-2012 at 11:13 PM.
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