The Best NHL Players of All Time Hockey Players
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The Best NHL Players of All Time

List Criteria: 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!

  • 59 ReRanks
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    • Age
    • Region
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2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 1173
    - 436

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Centerman

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 1154
    - 330

    Defenseman

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 947
    - 245

    Centerman

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 773
    - 250

    Right wing

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 632
    - 235
    ) open
  6. 6
    + 581
    - 507

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Right wing

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 647
    - 280

    Left Wing

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 404
    - 453

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Goaltender

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 439
    - 460

    often listed & added by BlakeMangone
    Centerman

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 450
    - 195

    ranked low on reranks
    Defenseman

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 443
    - 431

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Goaltender

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 507
    - 183

    ranked low on reranks & added by klubibar
    Centerman

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 534
    - 176

    ranked low on reranks & added by klubibar
    Goaltender

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 526
    - 429

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Centerman

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 537
    - 194

    ranked low on reranks & added by klubibar
    Right wing

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 251
    - 441

    often listed & added by Scott H
    Left Wing

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 522
    - 322
    ) open
  18. 18
    + 418
    - 182

    ranked low on reranks & added by klubibar
    Centerman, Forward

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 355
    - 254
    ) open
  20. 20
    + 375
    - 305

    Right wing

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 390
    - 411

    Centerman

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 332
    - 246

    added by Harrison1
    Centerman

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 294
    - 241

    added by klubibar
    Centerman

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 312
    - 168

    Centerman

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 341
    - 182
    ) open
  26. 26
    + 342
    - 169
    ) open
  27. 27
    + 331
    - 400

    often listed & ranked high on reranks

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 188
    - 217

    added by klubibar
    Defenseman

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 270
    - 357

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Defenseman

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 284
    - 108

    ranked low on reranks
    Goaltender

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 288
    - 103

    ranked low on reranks

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 237
    - 295

    Goaltender

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 192
    - 131

    added by klubibar
    Defenseman

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 169
    - 132

    Defenseman

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 172
    - 196

    Goaltender

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 274
    - 282

    added by klubibar
    Right wing

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 145
    - 237

    added by klubibar
    Defenseman

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 196
    - 268

    Defenseman

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 189
    - 202

    added by klubibar
    Centerman

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 173
    - 165

    Left Wing

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 104
    - 208

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Defenseman

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 119
    - 146

    added by hellodalai
    Right wing, Centerman

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 152
    - 135

    Centerman

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 180
    - 107

    Centerman

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 200
    - 98

    ranked low on reranks
    Centerman

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 227
    - 350

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Defenseman

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 118
    - 156

    often listed & added by Harrison1
    Centerman

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 252
    - 328

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Right wing

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 160
    - 78

    ranked low on reranks
    Defenseman

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 146
    - 52

    ranked low on reranks & added by gaug66
    Goaltender

    ) open
227 +

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