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!
  • 22 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 433
    Down 117

    1948

    open
  2. 2
    Up 485
    Down 163

    the people's #1 1961

    open
  3. 3
    Up 401
    Down 129

    1965

    open
  4. 4
    Up 358
    Down 110

    most listed 1928

    open
  5. 5
    Up 256
    Down 86

    1921

    open
  6. 6
    Up 229
    Down 100

    1939

    open
  7. 7
    Up 257
    Down 121

    1965

    open
  8. 8
    Up 191
    Down 95

    1951

    open
  9. 9
    Up 239
    Down 111

    1970

    open
  10. 10
    Up 62
    Down 14

    1960

    open
  11. 11
    Up 184
    Down 114

    1961

    open
  12. 12
    Up 223
    Down 132

    1972

    open
  13. 13
    Up 135
    Down 75

    added by klubibar 1942

    open
  14. 14
    Up 184
    Down 110

    1965

    open
  15. 15
    Up 151
    Down 51

    ranked low on reranks & added by klubibar 1957

    open
  16. 16
    Up 178
    Down 109

    1969

    open
  17. 17
    Up 123
    Down 59

    added by klubibar 1931

    open
  18. 18
    Up 165
    Down 79

    1972

    open
  19. 19
    Up 162
    Down 53

    ranked low on reranks & added by klubibar 1965

    open
  20. 20
    Up 136
    Down 101

    1961

    open
  21. 21
    Up 108
    Down 60

    1929

    open
  22. 22
    Up 115
    Down 45

    added by klubibar 1940

    open
  23. 23
    Up 96
    Down 66

    added by klubibar 1902

    open
  24. 24
    Up 152
    Down 121

    1973

    open
  25. 25
    Up 72
    Down 57

    added by klubibar 1924

    open
  26. 26
    Up 101
    Down 72

    1951

    open
  27. 27
    Up 128
    Down 100

    1962

    open
  28. 28
    Up 107
    Down 49

    ranked low on reranks 1951

    open
  29. 29
    Up 139
    Down 74

    ranked low on reranks & added by Harrison1 1978

    open
  30. 30
    Up 131
    Down 89

    1964

    open
  31. 31
    Up 91
    Down 54

    1929

    open
  32. 32
    Up 84
    Down 58

    1936

    open
  33. 33
    Up 86
    Down 54

    added by klubibar 1956

    open
  34. 34
    Up 115
    Down 59

    added by klubibar 1970

    open
  35. 35
    Up 74
    Down 72

    often listed & added by klubibar 1902

    open
  36. 36
    Up 93
    Down 50

    1950

    open
  37. 37
    Up 84
    Down 73

    added by klubibar 1949

    open
  38. 38
    Up 96
    Down 65

    1925

    open
  39. 39
    Up 91
    Down 76

    added by klubibar 1960

    open
  40. 40
    Up 114
    Down 111

    added by BlakeMangone 1987

    open
  41. 41
    Up 78
    Down 57

    added by klubibar 1953

    open
  42. 42
    Up 82
    Down 51

    1956

    open
  43. 43
    Up 75
    Down 59

    1969

    open
  44. 44
    Up 77
    Down 60

    1935

    open
  45. 45
    Up 89
    Down 73

    1969

    open
  46. 46
    Up 65
    Down 47

    1963

    open
  47. 47
    Up 55
    Down 79

    often listed & added by Scott H 1985

    open
  48. 48
    Up 50
    Down 43

    1915

    open
  49. 49
    Up 71
    Down 71

    1973

    open
  50. 50
    Up 54
    Down 48

    1963

    open
  51. 189 +

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