The game of hockey is not just a game played on ice. It is also very popular for its hard hits and fast action. When we now come down to the NHL, you have no choice but to get your mind blown away. This effect is because the NHL is where the biggest, strongest, and most aggressive players show their talents and skills as they play on the ice.
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Speaking of the NHL, it has been in existence for a long time now. We have seen many great players display their skills and talents on the ice over and over. However, in this article, we shall be looking at Jujhar Khaira first and then a special group of players who prevent the goalies from doing much work, and thus the scores from getting higher - the defensemen. This article will be talking about Khaira and the five best offensive defensemen in NHL history.
Jujhar Khaira, born on the 13th of August, 1994, has been a remarkable player so far. The third player of Punjabi descent to play in the NHL. He started his professional career at Edmonton Oilers, where he had been in the headlines a couple of times. He currently plays for the Chicago Blackhawks. In all honesty, he does not have impressive career stats yet, but that does not mean you should write him off. He has potential and possesses some decent tools; he is a very good straight-ahead skater and has some of the makings of a power forward. He also has the grit and can take a defender's punishment. In other words, Khaira can always come around to make headlines like he did at the Oilers.
Five Best Offensive Defensemen in NHL History
(1) Bobby Orr
Whenever the debate of the best players of all-time in the history of the NHL comes up, one thing is constant – Bobby Orr will be mentioned. Even if you do not think he is the best player ever, you cannot refute the fact that he is the best defenseman of all time. This is because he practically turned the hockey world around with his offensive dominance from the defensive position. He was the pioneer for offensive defensemen. He also set the records so high that it will take a great player to fill his shoes.
Orr played in the NHL for 12 seasons (1966-1976; 1978-1979) for the Boston Bruins (1966-1976) and Chicago Blackhawks (1978-1979). During this time, he captured the Norris Trophy 8 times from 1968 to 1975. Orr also won the Stanley Cup Championship twice, the Hart Trophy 3 times, and Art Ross Trophy twice. The picture of him flying high in the sky as he scored the winning goal in the 1970 Stanley Cup is arguably one of the most famous images in NHL history. Some of the records Orr set are:
- Only defenseman to score nine hat tricks
- First defenseman to score both 30 goals in a season and also 40 goals in a season
- The first defenseman to register 100 assists in a season
- The only player to win the Art Ross, Hart, Norris and Conn Smythe Trophy in a single season.
- Ranked second in NHL history for the most goals by a defenseman in one season at 46 goals.
- 657 NHL games, 270 goals, 645 assists, and a total of 915 points – an average of 1.393 points per game. The highest among defensemen and fifth-highest among all players of all time
(2) Nicklas Lidstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom played for the Detroit Red Wings for 20 seasons and only missed 17 games in the first 14 seasons in the NHL. Lidstrom finished his career in 2012 with over 1,500 games and 850 assists. Here is a list of his awards and achievements.
- Won the Stanley cup 4 times
- Won the Norris Trophy 7 times
- Won the Viking award two times (best Swedish ice hockey player in North America)
- Won Gold Medal at 2006 Olympics
- Won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2006, becoming the first European-born player to do so.
- Won Gold Medal at the 1991 World Championship.
(3) Chris Chelios
Chris Chelios played in the NHL for 27 seasons. He played from 1983 to 2010, and would have played for more years if he had age on his side. Chelios was one of the most frustrating and intimidating defensemen you can ever come across in the NHL. He played for four different teams in the NHL and led three to four Stanley cup finals during his days. He won 3 Stanley Cup Championships and 3 Norris Trophies. He also holds the NHL record of most career games by a defenseman, 1651, and the most career playoff games, 266.
(4 ) Paul Coffey
Paul Coffey played for eight different teams in the NHL in his 21 years career. During this time, he set records other defensemen could only dream of, many of which still stand today. He set the record for the most goal by a defenseman in a season, capping it at 48 goals. He also holds the most points in a game by a defenseman in NHL history, 8 points. He won 4 Stanley Cup Championships and 3 Norris Trophies. He also has 14 all-star appearances.
(5) Doug Harvey
Doug Harvey was also one of the greatest defenders ever to grace the NHL. He was a Canadian football and baseball star in his youth. Harvey played for four teams in the NHL for the 20 seasons of his career. He helped the Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup Championships 6 Times and played in 5 more finals. He also won the Norris Trophy 7 times and 12 all-star appearances.
The NHL is as interesting as it gets. We have examined some of the best offensive defensemen ever to grace the game. Jujhar Khaira on his part still has some seasons left in him and, therefore, still has a chance to improve on his records. Watch out for him and other young talents out there. Who knows, they may just carve out a position for themselves in the NHL's greatest of all-time list.