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

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2
+ - 2,129 797
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
+ - 1,667 530
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

4
+ - 1,973 608
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

5
+ - 1,212 492
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
+ - 1,139 537
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
+ - 1,110 492
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
+ - 926 463
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
+ - 935 485
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mike Bossy Right wing

10
+ - 1,103 506
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
+ - 904 376
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jean Béliveau Centerman

12
+ - 766 409
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

13
+ - 649 372
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

14
+ - 443 219
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Glenn Hall Goaltender

15
+ - 651 350
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Phil Esposito Centerman

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16
+ - 640 399
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

17
+ - 615 385
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

18
+ - 772 388
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

19
+ - 553 321
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

20
+ - 488 267
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Denis Potvin Defenseman

21
+ - 642 309
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

22
+ - 1,330 685
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

23
+ - 287 106
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

24
+ - 857 681
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

25
+ - 412 231
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

26
+ - 380 224
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Börje Salming Defenseman

27
+ - 361 192
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

28
+ - 752 379
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

29
+ - 436 265
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
+ - 424 268
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

31
+ - 452 242
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

32
+ - 378 251
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

33
+ - 339 217
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Frank Brimsek Goaltender

34
+ - 731 426
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

35
+ - 601 422
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

36
+ - 360 256
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

37
+ - 362 228
Bernie Federko is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Federko Centerman

38
+ - 355 229
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

39
+ - 431 320
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Eddie Shore Defenseman

40
+ - 293 192
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

41
+ - 530 362
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

42
+ - 434 328
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

43
+ - 339 182
Ted Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ted Kennedy Centerman

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44
+ - 272 194
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Erik Karlsson Defenseman

45
+ - 353 263
Patrice Bergeron is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrice Bergeron Centerman, Forward

46
+ - 343 230
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

47
+ - 757 499
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

48
+ - 818 585
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

49
+ - 196 104
Tiny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Tiny Thompson Goaltender

50
+ - 296 174
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman