Rod Langway won two Norris trophies and finished 2nd in Hart trophy voting to Wayne Gretzk once. He totally belongs, right?
However, Langway is the basically only purely defensive defenseman to win the Norris trophy in the trophy’s history. (Or, if you prefer, he’s the only purely defensive defenseman to win it since Bobby Orr transformed the position.)
Paul Coffey’s offensive stats are just staggering. He owns the single season goals record for a defender and almost topped Orr’s points record. He had both an extremely high offensive peak and also did things consistently through his career that few have ever done before. If he was healthier at the end, he probably would be the highest scoring D in NHL history.
But, especially in the ’80s, there were huge concerns about his defense. And some people still believe he should have played forward.
So where does he rank all time? Does such a player belong in the Hall of Fame?
Chris Chelios has one of the most impressive resumes of any American defenseman. He might have the most impressive resume. So the question isn’t so much whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but where does he rank among the greatest NHL defenders ever.
If you judge strictly on the basis of Norris Trophy wins, Nicklas Lidstrom is the second best NHL defenseman of all time. Obviously Norris wins are not the only criteria we should use when evaluating NHL D, so in this episode we look at his entire career and try to figure out where he ranks all time.