The Best NHL Players of All Time Hockey Players
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22  reranks 16,710 votes 1,001 voters 26,621 views more info

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!
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 22 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 445
    Down 136

    the people's #1 1961

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  2. 2
    Up 387
    Down 103

    1948

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  3. 3
    Up 366
    Down 111

    1965

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  4. 4
    Up 329
    Down 94

    most listed 1928

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  5. 5
    Up 223
    Down 79

    1921

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  6. 6
    Up 195
    Down 94

    1939

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  7. 7
    Up 236
    Down 98

    1965

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  8. 8
    Up 176
    Down 79

    1951

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  9. 9
    Up 219
    Down 97

    1970

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  10. 10
    Up 167
    Down 92

    1961

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  11. 11
    Up 208
    Down 112

    1972

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  12. 12
    Up 171
    Down 90

    1965

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  13. 13
    Up 123
    Down 60

    added by klubibar 1942

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  14. 14
    Up 166
    Down 93

    1969

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  15. 15
    Up 33
    Down 10

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1960

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  16. 16
    Up 114
    Down 46

    added by klubibar 1931

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  17. 17
    Up 155
    Down 61

    1972

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  18. 18
    Up 125
    Down 49

    added by klubibar 1957

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  19. 19
    Up 127
    Down 80

    1961

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  20. 20
    Up 96
    Down 45

    1929

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  21. 21
    Up 133
    Down 48

    ranked low on reranks & added by klubibar 1965

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  22. 22
    Up 93
    Down 51

    1951

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  23. 23
    Up 145
    Down 97

    1973

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  24. 24
    Up 120
    Down 79

    1962

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  25. 25
    Up 96
    Down 43

    added by klubibar 1940

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  26. 26
    Up 85
    Down 62

    often listed & ranked high on reranks & added by klubibar 1902

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  27. 27
    Up 66
    Down 51

    often listed & ranked high on reranks & added by klubibar 1924

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  28. 28
    Up 94
    Down 45

    1951

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  29. 29
    Up 124
    Down 69

    1964

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  30. 30
    Up 128
    Down 64

    added by Harrison1 1978

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  31. 31
    Up 78
    Down 39

    1936

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  32. 32
    Up 106
    Down 40

    added by klubibar 1970

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  33. 33
    Up 75
    Down 42

    added by klubibar 1956

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  34. 34
    Up 68
    Down 55

    often listed & ranked high on reranks & added by klubibar 1902

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  35. 35
    Up 78
    Down 45

    1929

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  36. 36
    Up 75
    Down 57

    added by klubibar 1949

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  37. 37
    Up 87
    Down 47

    1925

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  38. 38
    Up 84
    Down 57

    added by klubibar 1960

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  39. 39
    Up 72
    Down 47

    1950

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  40. 40
    Up 66
    Down 39

    1969

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  41. 41
    Up 101
    Down 91

    added by BlakeMangone 1987

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  42. 42
    Up 69
    Down 48

    added by klubibar 1953

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  43. 43
    Up 82
    Down 54

    1969

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  44. 44
    Up 71
    Down 46

    1935

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  45. 45
    Up 57
    Down 35

    1963

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  46. 46
    Up 48
    Down 54

    often listed & ranked high on reranks & added by Scott H 1985

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  47. 47
    Up 50
    Down 30

    1963

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  48. 48
    Up 57
    Down 43

    1970

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  49. 49
    Up 58
    Down 57

    1931

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  50. 50
    Up 63
    Down 52

    1973

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  51. 198 +

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