The Best NHL Players of All Time

116k votes 5.7k voters 96k views 392 items tags f p @

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!
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  • 239 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 & most listed
    Defenseman

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  2. 2
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    Centerman

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    Centerman

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    + 1,566
    - 494


    Right wing

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  5. 5
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    - 457


    Right wing

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    added by klubibar
    Goaltender

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  7. 7
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    - 504


    Left Wing

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  8. 8
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    - 424


    Defenseman

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  9. 9
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    added by klubibar
    Right wing

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  10. 10
    + 1,037
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    Defenseman

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  11. 11
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    - 353

    added by klubibar
    Centerman

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  12. 12
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    - 379

    added by klubibar
    Centerman, Forward

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  13. 13
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    - 331


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  14. 14
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    - 192

    added by gaug66
    Goaltender

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  15. 15
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    Centerman

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    Centerman

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  17. 17
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    - 294


    Goaltender

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    + 740
    - 369


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  19. 19
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    - 244

    added by klubibar
    Defenseman

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  20. 20
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    - 336

    added by klubibar
    Centerman

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  21. 21
    + 265
    - 82


    Goaltender

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    + 612
    - 292


    Centerman

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    + 366
    - 193

    added by klubibar
    Defenseman

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    + 396
    - 210


    Defenseman

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  25. 25
    + 428
    - 242


    Centerman

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  26. 26
    + 344
    - 172


    Defenseman

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  27. 27
    + 335
    - 192

    added by gaug66
    Goaltender

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  28. 28
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    - 673


    Right wing

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  29. 29
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    - 243


    Centerman

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    - 231

    added by gaug66

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  32. 32
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    Goaltender

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    Right wing

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    - 211


    Centerman

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    + 355
    - 238


    Centerman

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  36. 36
    + 351
    - 210


    Centerman

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  37. 37
    + 342
    - 217

    added by BostonBruins
    Centerman, Forward

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  38. 38
    + 696
    - 404

    added by Harrison1
    Centerman

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  39. 39
    + 422
    - 305

    added by klubibar
    Defenseman

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  40. 40
    + 286
    - 176


    Centerman

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  41. 41
    + 335
    - 167


    Centerman

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    + 258
    - 163

    added by ConnorMurphy1
    Defenseman

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    - 415


    Defenseman

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    + 419
    - 312

    added by klubibar
    Right wing, Centerman

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  45. 45
    + 506
    - 355


    Goaltender

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  46. 46
    + 192
    - 84

    added by ConnorMurphy1
    Goaltender

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  47. 47
    + 249
    - 130


    Centerman

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  48. 48
    + 325
    - 218


    Centerman

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  49. 49
    + 232
    - 145

    added by ConnorMurphy1
    Defenseman

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  50. 50
    + 177
    - 77


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