sports The Best NHL Players of All Time  

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List Rules NHL players only.

The best NHL players of all time are undoubtably the most talented and most decorated hockey players ever to take the ice in the National Hockey League. These NHL greats hold countless spots in the NHL record books, a fan favorites and if they haven't already been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, they surely will be when they are eligible. Plain and simple, these are hockey gods.

Easily earning the title as "The Great One," Wayne Gretzky is arguably among the very elite hockey players ever. Holding NHL records for everything from lifetime goals to the most goals in a season to the most career assists, points and even short-handed goals, there was little Gretzky didn't dominate during his 20 seasons in the National Hockey League.

While Gretzky is "The Great One," he's far from the only great one. Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe, is right up there with Gretzky with an impressive hockey career that lasted until he was 52 years of age. Along with other NHL legends like Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Mark Messier and Maurice Richard, these hockey greats dominated the league during their time.

Many will follow in the footsteps, or skate strides, of these all-time best NHL players but few will ever reach the level of greatness that these talented men have. Who is your all-time favorite NHL star? How would you rank these top NHL players of all time? Tell us by voting for your favorites below, adding any that are missed or even re-ranking this list of the best NHL players of all time below. Looking for more detailed rankings by position? Check out the best NHL defensemen of all time and the best hockey goaltenders of all time rankings too!

1
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Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

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2
+ - 2,787 911
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

3
+ - 2,326 873
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

4
+ - 1,844 592
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
+ - 1,305 548
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
+ - 1,217 609
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
+ - 1,201 582
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
+ - 997 542
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
+ - 1,013 542
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mike Bossy Right wing

10
+ - 1,203 567
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
+ - 961 429
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jean Béliveau Centerman

12
+ - 803 478
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

13
+ - 1,500 713
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

14
+ - 716 394
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Phil Esposito Centerman

15
+ - 706 444
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

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16
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Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

17
+ - 674 456
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

18
+ - 686 351
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

19
+ - 473 285
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Glenn Hall Goaltender

20
+ - 959 707
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

21
+ - 642 449
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

22
+ - 522 308
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Denis Potvin Defenseman

23
+ - 581 381
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

24
+ - 808 408
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

25
+ - 319 155
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

26
+ - 665 444
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

27
+ - 433 274
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

28
+ - 784 462
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

29
+ - 451 309
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

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30
+ - 398 272
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Börje Salming Defenseman

31
+ - 377 235
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

32
+ - 463 280
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

33
+ - 440 314
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

34
+ - 570 381
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

35
+ - 456 349
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Eddie Shore Defenseman

36
+ - 386 288
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

37
+ - 375 286
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

38
+ - 456 350
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

39
+ - 346 254
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Frank Brimsek Goaltender

40
+ - 836 514
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

41
+ - 907 604
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

42
+ - 370 260
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

43
+ - 1,057 549
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

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44
+ - 371 262
Bernie Federko is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Federko Centerman

45
+ - 303 222
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

46
+ - 350 210
Ted Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ted Kennedy Centerman

47
+ - 367 255
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

48
+ - 307 246
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Erik Karlsson Defenseman

49
+ - 314 191
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

50
+ - 370 313
Patrice Bergeron is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrice Bergeron Centerman, Forward