Close but no cigars...
I was scrolling from the 1st post in disbelief that Langwat wasn't there. Thanks.I think you've got it right. Fetisov may have been the best of the bunch, but if it's an NHL list, you've got the right 5 guys. If Poti makes, what about Tom Kurvers ?
Although it's still early in his career to call Zdeno Chara "one of the best", he is currently ranked by THN behind only Pronger, Lidstrom, Niedermayer and Blake. I agree with the rankings and think he could eventually be #1. A lot of the players mentioned in this thread were never "the best" d-men in any given year...or even top 5.
Honorable mention: Phil Housley, who was NOWHERE near as good defensively as some people try to make him out to be. And Mark Howe, who was a great defenseman before being switched to wing by the Flyers.
Howe played LW more when he was playing with his Dad and Marty in the WHA. Mark Howe played less than 30 games as a Flyers as a LW.
If Teppo Numminen is close then Reijo Routsalainen should be as well, unless you're choosing Teppo because of his very long and consistant career.
I'd say Reijo is the most skilled Finnish defenseman ever.
Fetisov was not a great defenseman in the NHL. By the time he arrived, he was long passed his prime. Overall, Kasatonov was just as good, anyway.
I put him first overall beacuse I wasn't just counting NHL games. When Fetisov came over here he was just past his prime. During the 80's he was an excellent defenceman for the Soviets. People say if he came over here at the begginning of his career he would be one of the top 10 defencemen of all time.