Best NHL Defenseman 2023

Best NHL Defenseman 2023

Check out our rankings of the best NHL defensemen for the 2021 NHL season.

Now that a handful of games from the 2023 NHL regular season are in the books, we have enough information to start drawing some serious conclusions. This holds especially true for player rankings, and it's why we're taking this opportunity to discuss the best NHL defensemen in 2023.

Of course, because this season is still so young, we're not only basing our findings off the sub-10-game sample we're working with as of this writing. The beginning of any year is mostly about monitoring the pecking order for any seismic changes from the previous campaign.

To build our list of the NHL's best current defensemen, we'll rely heavily on what we saw from the top NHL defensemen in 2022, including the Stanley Cup playoffs. We will also take into account what we've watched thus far, in addition to how likely players are to hold their current position for the rest of the year.

And in case you're wondering, this snapshot of the NHL's defensive hierarchy does serve a sports-betting purpose. The folks over at Bovada actually provide odds for who will win Defensive Player of the Year. If nothing else, it clues you in on which teams to monitor as you consider any NHL futures.

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  • The NHL Norris Trophy odds were last updated on October 21, 2022: 

    Cale Makar+350
    Roman Josi+5000
    Adam Fox+300
    Victor Hedman-
    Aaron Ekblad-
    Miro Heiskanen-
    Moritz Seider-
    Charlie McAvoy-
    Quinn Hughes+6600
    Kris Letang-
    Alex Pietrangelo-
    Devon Toews-
    Shea Theodore-

    This Year's Favorites

    Here are tbe top candidates for the Norris Trophy in 2023. See their full odds to win the Norris Trophy above.

    1. Cale Makar
    2. Roman Josi
    3. Victor Hedman
    4. Charlie McAvoy
    5. Adam Fox

    Top 10 Best NHL Defensemen

    Here are some of the top defensemen from years past. These are the ones we really love, even if they did not end up winning the Norris Trophy. Each one of these NHL defense players brings their own style, so it is impossible to compare directly. Getting to know these historical figures will help you make decisions going forward!

    1. Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars
    2. Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes
    3. Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets
    4. Alex Pietrangelo, Vegas Golden Knights
    5. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
    6. Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins
    7. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
    8. Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
    9. John Carlson, Washington Capitals
    10. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Kris Letang

    Kris Letang

    Past Winners of the Norris Trophy

    Here is a complete list of past winner of the Norris Trophy. Knowing the betting history of the best defensemen in the NHL is key to making the best Norris Trophy bets going forward. Fr example, you will notice that the same player can earn the Norris Trophy several years in a row. While this was a stronger trend in the early years of the award, it nonetheless remains relevant.

    • 1953–54 - Red Kelly Detroit Red Wings
    • 1954–55 - Doug Harvey Montreal Canadiens
    • 1955–56 - Doug Harvey Montreal Canadiens
    • 1956–57 - Doug Harvey Montreal Canadiens
    • 1957–58 - Doug Harvey Montreal Canadiens
    • 1958–59 - Tom Johnson Montreal Canadiens
    • 1959–60 - Doug Harvey Montreal Canadiens
    • 1960–61 - Doug Harvey Montreal Canadiens
    • 1961–62 - Doug Harvey New York Rangers
    • 1962–63 - Pierre Pilote Chicago Black Hawks
    • 1963–64 - Pierre Pilote Chicago Black Hawks
    • 1964–65 - Pierre Pilote Chicago Black Hawks
    • 1965–66 - Jacques Laperriere Montreal Canadiens
    • 1966–67 - Harry Howell New York Rangers
    • 1967–68 - Bobby Orr Boston Bruins
    • 1968–69 - Bobby Orr Boston Bruins
    • 1969–70 - Bobby Orr Boston Bruins
    • 1970–71 - Bobby Orr Boston Bruins
    • 1971–72 - Bobby Orr Boston Bruins
    • 1972–73 - Bobby Orr Boston Bruins
    • 1973–74 - Bobby Orr Boston Bruins
    • 1974–75 - Bobby Orr Boston Bruins
    • 1975–76 - Denis Potvin New York Islanders
    • 1976–77 - Larry Robinson Montreal Canadiens
    • 1977–78 - Denis Potvin New York Islanders
    • 1978–79 - Denis Potvin New York Islanders
    • 1979–80 - Larry Robinson Montreal Canadiens
    • 1980–81 - Randy Carlyle Pittsburgh Penguins
    • 1981–82 - Doug Wilson Chicago Black Hawks
    • 1982–83 - Rod Langway Washington Capitals
    • 1983–84 - Rod Langway Washington Capitals
    • 1984–85 - Paul Coffey Edmonton Oilers
    • 1985–86 -  Paul Coffey Edmonton Oilers
    • 1986–87 - Ray Bourque Boston Bruins
    • 1987–88 - Ray Bourque Boston Bruins
    • 1988–89 - Chris Chelios Montreal Canadiens
    • 1989–90 - Ray Bourque Boston Bruins
    • 1990–91 - Ray Bourque Boston Bruins
    • 1991–92 - Brian Leetch New York Rangers
    • 1992–93 - Chris Chelios Chicago Blackhawks
    • 1993–94 - Ray Bourque Boston Bruins
    • 1994–95 - Paul Coffey Detroit Red Wings
    • 1995–96 - Chris Chelios Chicago Blackhawks
    • 1996–97 - Brian Leetch New York Rangers
    • 1997–98 - Rob Blake Los Angeles Kings
    • 1998–99 - Al MacInnis St. Louis Blues
    • 1999–2000 - Chris Pronger St. Louis Blues
    • 2000–01 - Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
    • 2001–02 - Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
    • 2002–03 - Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
    • 2003–04 - Scott Niedermayer New Jersey Devils
    • 2004–05 NHL lockout – No winner — —
    • 2005–06 - Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
    • 2006–07 - Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
    • 2007–08 -Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
    • 2008–09 - Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins
    • 2009–10 - Duncan Keith Chicago Blackhawks
    • 2010–11 - Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
    • 2011–12 - Erik Karlsson Ottawa Senators
    • 2012–13 P- . K. Subban Montreal Canadiens
    • 2013–14 - Duncan Keith Chicago Blackhawks
    • 2014–15 - Erik Karlsson Ottawa Senators
    • 2015–16 - Drew Doughty Los Angeles Kings
    • 2016–17 - Brent Burns San Jose Sharks
    • 2017–18 - Victor Hedman Tampa Bay Lightning
    • 2018–19 - Mark Giordano Calgary Flames
    • 2019–20 - Roman Josi Nashville Predators
    • 2020–21 - Adam Fox New York Rangers
    • 2021–22 - Cale Makar Colorado Avalanche

    Cale Makar

    Cale Makar


    Betting on the NHL

    Check out the below list of the best online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your NHL betting:

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    NHL Defenseman FAQs

    • 1. Are NHL Norris Trophy odds worth playing?

      The NHL Defenseman odds offer something different from the weekly moneyline, parlay, and props. They offer a futures market, or a betting line that can be accessed anytime throughout the week. Check them out, as another way to access NHL betting.

    • 2. Who won the Norris Trophy in 2022?

      Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche

    • 3. Why is it called the Norris Trophy?

      The trophy is named after James E. Norris, who was the owner of the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings from 1932 to 1952. An honorary member of the NHL and someone people have looked up to over the years.

    • 4. Which is the best online bookmaker for Norris trophy odds?

      The best bookmaker is the one that suits the bettor the most. There are a variety of great bookmakers available, each offering its own unique betting selling point. We'd always strongly advise choosing the sportsbook that appeals most to you. Check out our list of oddsmakers for the very best around.

    • 5. Can only defensive players win the Norris Trophy?

      The Norris Trophy is designed specifically for defensive players. There are other trophies that are given to goaltenders, rookie players, and for the MVP each season - be sure to check those out too!

    Meet the author


    Austin is a sports fan who has been writing for OSB for over 5 years. Austin can write about any sport, but his favorites are UFC, ice hockey and English soccer.