The Best NHL Players of All Time Hockey Players
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22  reranks 17,031 votes 1,027 voters 27,212 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 454
    Down 144

    the people's #1 1961

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  2. 2
    Up 397
    Down 106

    1948

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  3. 3
    Up 338
    Down 97

    most listed 1928

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  4. 4
    Up 375
    Down 115

    1965

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  5. 5
    Up 229
    Down 81

    1921

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  6. 6
    Up 201
    Down 95

    1939

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  7. 7
    Up 241
    Down 99

    1965

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  8. 8
    Up 181
    Down 79

    1951

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  9. 9
    Up 225
    Down 99

    1970

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  10. 10
    Up 173
    Down 92

    1961

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  11. 11
    Up 214
    Down 113

    1972

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  12. 12
    Up 126
    Down 60

    added by klubibar 1942

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  13. 13
    Up 173
    Down 93

    1965

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  14. 14
    Up 36
    Down 11

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1960

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  15. 15
    Up 167
    Down 94

    1969

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  16. 16
    Up 158
    Down 62

    ranked low on reranks 1972

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  17. 17
    Up 115
    Down 47

    added by klubibar 1931

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  18. 18
    Up 128
    Down 49

    added by klubibar 1957

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  19. 19
    Up 129
    Down 81

    1961

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  20. 20
    Up 100
    Down 46

    1929

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  21. 21
    Up 135
    Down 49

    ranked low on reranks & added by klubibar 1965

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  22. 22
    Up 96
    Down 52

    1951

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  23. 23
    Up 101
    Down 43

    added by klubibar 1940

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  24. 24
    Up 147
    Down 100

    1973

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  25. 25
    Up 121
    Down 83

    1962

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  26. 26
    Up 86
    Down 63

    often listed & added by klubibar 1902

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  27. 27
    Up 68
    Down 52

    often listed & added by klubibar 1924

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  28. 28
    Up 96
    Down 47

    1951

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  29. 29
    Up 126
    Down 72

    1964

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  30. 30
    Up 132
    Down 66

    added by Harrison1 1978

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  31. 31
    Up 79
    Down 41

    1936

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  32. 32
    Up 107
    Down 43

    added by klubibar 1970

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  33. 33
    Up 80
    Down 42

    added by klubibar 1956

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  34. 34
    Up 82
    Down 45

    1929

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  35. 35
    Up 69
    Down 57

    often listed & added by klubibar 1902

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  36. 36
    Up 80
    Down 57

    added by klubibar 1949

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  37. 37
    Up 91
    Down 47

    1925

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  38. 38
    Up 86
    Down 59

    added by klubibar 1960

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  39. 39
    Up 70
    Down 41

    1969

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  40. 40
    Up 74
    Down 49

    1950

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  41. 41
    Up 86
    Down 55

    1969

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  42. 42
    Up 105
    Down 95

    added by BlakeMangone 1987

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  43. 43
    Up 71
    Down 49

    added by klubibar 1953

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  44. 44
    Up 72
    Down 48

    1935

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  45. 45
    Up 58
    Down 37

    1963

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  46. 46
    Up 52
    Down 59

    often listed & added by Scott H 1985

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  47. 47
    Up 51
    Down 31

    1963

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  48. 48
    Up 59
    Down 44

    1970

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  49. 49
    Up 59
    Down 58

    1931

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  50. 50
    Up 64
    Down 53

    1973

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  51. 198 +

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