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Current defensemen that are top 50 all time?

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Old
07-14-2006, 07:09 PM
  #1
Randall Graves*
 
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Current defensemen that are top 50 all time?

How many of todays defensemen are amongst the top 50 all time at that position?

Locks:
Niklas Lidstrom
Chris Chelios

but then there are several defensemen you can make a case for, Rob Blake, Brian Leetch, Chris Pronger, and Scott Niedermayer, come to mind. I am not saying all 4 of them are, but you can argue it.

Rob Blake:
6 time all star(may have made a 7th this year)
3 time Canadian olympian with 1 gold medal
Has won a Stanley Cup
has a total of 586 points
Has 10 40+ point seasons with 6 50+
Has won a Norris trophy
He has been a playoff performer, 67points in 125 playoff games, with 19 points in 23 games in the Avs 2001 Stanley Cup winning season.
Has 637 points in 984 career games
Was a great defensive defensemen


Brian Leetch:
Last defensemen to score over 100 points
Won a Stanley Cup
has 12 40+ point seasons with 11 50+ point seasons, 7 70+ point seasons and 3 80+ point seasons
Has a total of 1028 career points in 1205 career games
Was not known as a great defender but his offensive abilities make up for alot of that.
Won 2 Norris Trophies
Won a Conn Smythe
has averaged over a PPG in the playoffs with 97 points in 95 games
Won a silver medal with the US
3 time olympian(correct me if i'm wrong it may be 2)

Chris Pronger:
Only defensemen on this list to NOT win a Stanley Cup
Plus/Minus leader twice
1 Norris Trophy
1 Hart Trophy
5 all star appearances(probably would have went to a sixth this year)
NHL All first team once
NHL All second team three times
6 40+ point seasons 3 50+ point seasons 1 60 point seasons
456 points in 802 career games
72 points in 102 playoff games, likely would have won the Conn Smythe this year
Is a dominant defensive defensemen.
3 time Olympian with one gold medal
1 world championships gold medal



Scott Niedermayer
2 time all NHL first team selection
1 time all NHL second team selection
2 all star appearances(would've been 3 this year)
Olympic gold medalist, was named to team Canada twice
1 world championships gold medal
1 Norris Trophy
3 Stanley Cup championships, could have won the Conn Smythe in 2003.
1 memorial cup as well as the MVP
1 WJC gold medal
6 40+ point seasons, 3 50+ point seasons 1 60 point season
539 points in 974 games
56 points in 162 playoff games

Now there are some variables here.

Leetch and Blake offensively had more years in a higher scoring NHL.
Niedermayer was handcuffed a bit by the Devils system, I think many would agree statistically he'd have much better numbers if he had played in a more open system.
Pronger and Niedermayer are both in their primes, so they are likely to improve on their pedigrees for being top 50 all time defensemen.

Now I know there are some differences in the info i've given, I used wikipedia to get accolades such as all NHL team selections but only Niedermayer and Pronger had them so feel free to add Leetch's and Blakes.

My conclusion at this point is Leetch probably should be considered a lock in the top 50 but not to the point where Lidstrom and Chelios are. Blake has a good case as well. Niedermayer I would say is not there at this point although he has won every major hockey title there is, but he still needs a couple more all star and norris trophy nominations and I think at the end of his career he will. Pronger is still pretty young and as of right now I don't rank him in the top 50 of all time, although he IS the only defensemen that has won a Hart trophy that's active. He needs to win a cup but I think at the end of his career he'll be considered a lock in the top 50.

if there are any omissions you'd like to add, please do so, I thought about putting Zubov amongst this group but he has never won a Norris while the others have,

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07-15-2006, 12:52 AM
  #2
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The "Dead Puck Era" should not be a factor when evaluating defencemen. Shore and Harvey played in tight, defensive eras, but they are consensus top three all-time defencemen. Those who try to evaluate defencemen on stats need a clue.

Chelios, IMO, is a top 10 all-time defenceman. A dominant, all-round force, who could kill a team in every aspect of the game (offensively, defensively, physically) and could carry his team on his back for extended periods of time.

Lidstrom falls just outside of my top 10, but a case could be made for his place in the top 10. A silky smooth, steady defenceman who excelled in the offensive and defensive zone. A fine playoff performer, too.

Leetch is definitely a top-50 all-time defenceman. A Conn Smythe Trophy winner, two-time Norris winner, and a five-time post-season all-star. Two things have hurt his legacy: he was never a top defensive defenceman, and his post-30 career has not been comparable to his contemporaries (Chelios, Stevens, MacInnis, etc). Leetch did his damage before he was 30, he was an HHOF-calibre player before he was 30, and he's a solid, top-25 defenceman.

I don't know if there's anyone else active who would definitely be a top 50 defenceman ever. There are 73 defencemen in the HHOF. Most of them belong in the top 50. (Some got into the HHOF during the HHOF's more permissive early days). There are five defencemen who should be in the top 50 who aren't in the HHOF: Stevens and MacInnis (who are eligible next year) and Mark Howe, JC Tremblay and Carl Brewer (who have been passed over many times).

I wouldn't rate Blake as a top 50 defenceman. Nor would I rate Zubov, although Zubov is one of the best defencemen I've ever seen for keeping the puck in at that point. (A very underrated skill for an offensive defenceman). Niedermayer and Pronger (who turn 33 and 32, respectively, this year), still have lots of time to cement their careers, and could definitely one day become top-50 all-time defencemen. But not yet.

Reality is that we went through a real dearth of top-notch defencemen for a long time. When Lidstrom won his first three Norris Trophies, the runner-ups were Bourque and Stevens in 2001, Chelios in 2002, and MacInnis in 2003. The last sure-fire HHOF defenceman drafted was Lidstrom in 1989. (He was actually passed over for the 1988 Draft). I don't rate Niedermayer and Pronger as sure-fires yet, although I'm confident they will play their way into that status. Guys like Bourque, Coffey, Leetch, Chelios and MacInnis were HHOF locks by their 30th birthday. The 1990s were not a good time to produce elite defenceman. Who is the best defenceman to be drafted since Pronger in 1993? Chara?

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07-15-2006, 08:50 AM
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Chelios, Lidstrom, Blake, Leetch, Niedermayer, Pronger.

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07-15-2006, 09:03 AM
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Lidstrom, Chelios, Leetch, Pronger, Blake, and Niedermayer is right on the cusp.

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07-15-2006, 10:30 AM
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IMO: I`d put Lidstrom and Chelios in the 10-20 range, closer to 10 than 20. I rate Pronger higher than most do, around 20-25 already with a chance to still go higher; nobody dominates a game the way he does. Leetch would be in the 30-40 range, about equal to Howe or Salming. Neidermayer would be 40-50 and rising. Blake just simply falls short. Zubov is an interesting case; rarely gets mentioned and has some flaws, but has cohnsistently been one of the best passers in the game and was a key offensive contributor on two Cup winners.

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07-15-2006, 08:05 PM
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Well let's see, this is only NHL players. Current players are in red

1. Blake, Rob
2. Bouchard, Butch
3. Boucher, George
4. Bourque, Ray
5. Cameron, Harry
6. Chelios, Chris
7. Clancy, King
8. Clapper, Dit
9. Cleghorn, Sprague
10. Coffey, Paul
11. Conacher, Lionel
12. Coulter, Art
13. Flaman, Fern
14. Gadsby, Bill
15. Gerard, Eddie
16. Goodfellow, Ebbie
17. Harvey, Doug
18. Horton, Tim
19. Howe, Mark
20. Howell, Harry
21. Johnson, Ching
22. Johnson, Tom
23. Kelly, Red
24. Langway, Rod
25. Laperriere, Jacques
26. Lapointe, Guy
27. Leetch, Brian
28. Lidstrom, Nicklas
29. MacInnis, Al
30. Mantha, Sylvio
31. Murphy, Larry
32. Orr, Bobby
33. Park, Brad
34. Pilote, Pierre
35. Potvin, Denis
36. Pratt, Babe
37. Pronger, Chris
38. Pronovost, Marcel
39. Quackenbush, Bill
40. Reardon, Ken
41. Robinson, Larry
42. Salming, Borje
43. Savard, Serge
44. Seibert, Earl
45. Shore, Eddie
46. Siebert, Babe
47. Stanley, Allan
48. Stevens, Scott
49. Stewart, Jack
50. Tremblay, J.C.

Should Niedermayer make it? And who would be taken off? Blake? Flaman? Howell? Mantha? Murphy? Stanley? Tremblay?

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07-15-2006, 11:01 PM
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Bluesfan, I gain more respect for you with every post. Yeah, it'd be nice to have a top 50 in order (that would be impressive), but to actually list a top 50 is very commendable.

JC Tremblay is, for my money, the No. 2 defenceman not in the Hall, behind Mark Howe. (Thank you very much, WHA punishment). He belongs in the top 50.

Sometimes I wonder whether to rate Murphy as underrated or overrated. I think he belongs in the top 50. The bottom half of the top 50, mind you, but in the top 50. I don't think he gets the credit he deserves for playing such a steady all-round game, and delivering when it counts.

Fernie Flaman is very underrated, IMO. (And I'm not just saying that because I landed him in All-Time Draft #5). A rock-solid, stay-at-home defenceman. One of the best shut down defencemen ever.

Allan Stanley, Sylvio Mantha and Harry Howell would all be on the edge of the top 50, but all three belong.

One defenceman who is conspicuous by his absence is Carl Brewer. At this point in time, he has the most all-star team selections (four) of any defenceman not in the Hall. I think he would be there, if he didn't piss off so many people. A backbone for the Leafs three straight championships in the 1960s.

I don't think Blake belongs in the top 50. I wouldn't rate Pronger and Niedermayer as top 50 guys, yet, either, but they are inching towards that lofty status.

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07-15-2006, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by God Bless Canada View Post
One defenceman who is conspicuous by his absence is Carl Brewer.
Yeah he could have easily made it. Niedermayer and Brewer are the two that barely missed it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by God Bless Canada View Post
I don't think Blake belongs in the top 50. I wouldn't rate Pronger and Niedermayer as top 50 guys, yet, either, but they are inching towards that lofty status.
I think Blake is right on the edge, maybe Brewer should be ahead of him. But I disagree about Pronger, I think he easily makes the top 50.

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07-16-2006, 12:06 AM
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Zubov should make the list when it's all said and done.

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07-16-2006, 12:16 AM
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Chelios & Lidstrom are top 15 defensemen all-time. No one else is even close right now.

Blake? Neidermeyer? Leetch? There have been times they were not even the best on their own teams!

But with the lower standards of the last several years (Cam Neely, Clark Gillies, Kevin Lowe, etc.), above-average guys like Leetch & Blake might get in. Neidermeyer is not even in the top 5 in the NHL right now. How can he be considered in the top 50 of all-time?

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07-16-2006, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiggs 10 View Post
Chelios & Lidstrom are top 15 defensemen all-time. No one else is even close right now.

Blake? Neidermeyer? Leetch? There have been times they were not even the best on their own teams!

But with the lower standards of the last several years (Cam Neely, Clark Gillies, Kevin Lowe, etc.), above-average guys like Leetch & Blake might get in. Neidermeyer is not even in the top 5 in the NHL right now. How can he be considered in the top 50 of all-time?
And there were times when Lidstrom and Chelios weren't the best on their teams, either. What's your point?

Niedermayer is not one of the top 5 defencemen in the game? Let's see now, since January 1, 2003, he has led the NHL playoffs in scoring on a Cup champion, he has won the Norris Trophy, and he has been named a first team all-star in back-to-back seasons. I guess you didn't hear everyone raving about his two-way play, puck moving ability and leadership in Anaheim this past season. If he's not in the top five, who is, besides the obvious pick of Nicklas Lidstrom.

Leetch is far advanced being above-average. Above-average defencemen don't win two Norris Trophies (especially with the competition Leetch faced in those seasons), win a Conn Smythe Trophy and get named to five all-star teams.

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07-16-2006, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiggs 10 View Post
Chelios & Lidstrom are top 15 defensemen all-time. No one else is even close right now.

Blake? Neidermeyer? Leetch? There have been times they were not even the best on their own teams!

But with the lower standards of the last several years (Cam Neely, Clark Gillies, Kevin Lowe, etc.), above-average guys like Leetch & Blake might get in. Neidermeyer is not even in the top 5 in the NHL right now. How can he be considered in the top 50 of all-time?
When did Kevin Lowe get elected to the Hall of Fame?

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07-16-2006, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiggs 10 View Post
Chelios & Lidstrom are top 15 defensemen all-time. No one else is even close right now.

Blake? Neidermeyer? Leetch? There have been times they were not even the best on their own teams!

But with the lower standards of the last several years (Cam Neely, Clark Gillies, Kevin Lowe, etc.), above-average guys like Leetch & Blake might get in. Neidermeyer is not even in the top 5 in the NHL right now. How can he be considered in the top 50 of all-time?
Yeah well look who they played with.

Niedermayer played with Scott Stevens, a top 50 defensemen. And on the importance list, Stevens wasn't that far ahead of Niedermayer on the importance scale..especially in the 2003 playoffs.

Blake played on a team with Ray Bourque but at the time Blake was probably the better defensemen as Bourque was at the end of his career.

How is Niedermayer not in the top 5??

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07-16-2006, 03:01 AM
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Pronger and Neidermeyere are both still on the too soon to tell list IMO.

Lidstrom and Chelios are no brainers.

Leetch is almost certainly.

Blake is on the fringe.

IMO, Foote is also a fringe choice.

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07-16-2006, 12:36 PM
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Pronger and Neidermeyere are both still on the too soon to tell list IMO.

Lidstrom and Chelios are no brainers.

Leetch is almost certainly.

Blake is on the fringe.

IMO, Foote is also a fringe choice.
I agree. I think that Berard would have had a chance at coming close to cracking it, if not for his eye injury. I also think that when his career is over Phaneuf may make the list.

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07-16-2006, 02:00 PM
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And there were times when Lidstrom and Chelios weren't the best on their teams, either. What's your point?

Niedermayer is not one of the top 5 defencemen in the game? Let's see now, since January 1, 2003, he has led the NHL playoffs in scoring on a Cup champion, he has won the Norris Trophy, and he has been named a first team all-star in back-to-back seasons. I guess you didn't hear everyone raving about his two-way play, puck moving ability and leadership in Anaheim this past season. If he's not in the top five, who is, besides the obvious pick of Nicklas Lidstrom.

Leetch is far advanced being above-average. Above-average defencemen don't win two Norris Trophies (especially with the competition Leetch faced in those seasons), win a Conn Smythe Trophy and get named to five all-star teams.
Good call. IMO Leetch hit a level that none of the other players hit on this list. While his best years came in to short a window to overcome Lidstrom and Chelios on an all time list, I really do think that his play in the mid-90's was very close to being the leagues best.

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07-16-2006, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by God Bless Canada View Post
The "Dead Puck Era" should not be a factor when evaluating defencemen. Shore and Harvey played in tight, defensive eras, but they are consensus top three all-time defencemen. Those who try to evaluate defencemen on stats need a clue.

Chelios, IMO, is a top 10 all-time defenceman. A dominant, all-round force, who could kill a team in every aspect of the game (offensively, defensively, physically) and could carry his team on his back for extended periods of time.

Lidstrom falls just outside of my top 10, but a case could be made for his place in the top 10. A silky smooth, steady defenceman who excelled in the offensive and defensive zone. A fine playoff performer, too.
In terms of historical comparison I would class Chelios as a Tim Horton style D-man while Lidstrom would be equivalent to a Doug Harvey or Red Kelly.

Then there is Bobby Orr who towers over them all.

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07-16-2006, 06:52 PM
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I agree. I think that Berard would have had a chance at coming close to cracking it, if not for his eye injury. I also think that when his career is over Phaneuf may make the list.
Berard wasn't going to come close to that level. While he had the speed, shot and skills to be an elite offensive defenceman, he had shown that he was distinctly lacking in hockey sense and decision making. Simply put, he was very error-prone. Made the simple play look difficult. Even before the injury, the consensus was that Redden would become the better defenceman.

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07-16-2006, 08:17 PM
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Berard wasn't going to come close to that level. While he had the speed, shot and skills to be an elite offensive defenceman, he had shown that he was distinctly lacking in hockey sense and decision making. Simply put, he was very error-prone. Made the simple play look difficult. Even before the injury, the consensus was that Redden would become the better defenceman.

Berard's attitude problem held him back as well.

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07-16-2006, 11:54 PM
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I agree. I think that Berard would have had a chance at coming close to cracking it, if not for his eye injury. I also think that when his career is over Phaneuf may make the list.
I doubt his eye injury prevented Berard from making this list. Berard would not have been a top 50 defenceman regardless of his injury. He is simply not that good of all around player.

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