Orr’s point-per-game rate remains unmatched by all other past and present blueliners and he all but single-handedly tipped the scale in the Boston Bruins’ favor en route to the 1970 and especially the 1972 Stanley Cup. He fittingly scored the Cup-clincher and deservingly garnered the Conn Smythe Trophy in both banner years.
Furthermore, if he had maintained the same level of health as Lidstrom, and thus rounded out two full decades in the pros, Orr all but certainly would be the only defenseman to reach 2,000 career points.
But a lack of fulfillment for that particular “if” leaves the net wide open for the case that Lidstrom has had the better career.
Among those in his position, if not the league altogether, Orr owned his only meaningful decade in the NHL. Lidstrom entered the circuit with lower expectations, wet his blades throughout the 1990s and has since been proclaimed the best blueliner, if not the best NHLer, in the first decade of this century.
While Lidstrom, whose playing days could be over by this summer, will not be historically cemented on quite the same par as Orr, his career has been distinctly more satisfying in the following three areas.