May 31, 2012, 11:47 AM EDT
After an illustrious 20-year career, Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom has called it a day.
As such, conversations are underway to gauge where Lidstrom fits in various “best of” categories. The Hockey News selected him as the NHL’s best-ever European trained player; both The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated called him the best player of the last decade.
Soooo…where does Lidstrom rank among the best defensemen of all time? For argument’s sake, we’ve narrowed the field down to five candidates:
Resume: Seven Norris Trophies, four Stanley Cups, one Conn Smythe Trophy. Tenth all-time in games played, eighth all-time in plus-minus — and those are among all NHLers, not just defensemen.
Resume: Eight consecutive Norris Trophies, three consecutive Hart Trophies, two Stanley Cups, two-time Conn Smythe winner. Recorded nine hat-tricks, still an NHL record by for a defenseman.
Resume: 11 straight All-Star games, seven Norris Trophies, six Stanley Cups, played for 23 seasons.
Resume: Five Norris Trophies, one Stanley Cup, 13 NHL First Team All-Star nods (most in history), 19 All-Star games (most in history) and record-holder for most goals, assists and points by a defenseman.
Resume: Three Norris Trophies, four consecutive Stanley Cups, first defenseman to score 1,000 points, seven NHL All-Star teams.
Okay, go vote in the poll. There’s no option for write-in votes, so if you want to wax poetic about Larry Robinson or Rod Langway or Paul Coffey Borje Salming or Bullet Joe Simpson, you’ll have to do it in the comments section.
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