sports The Best NHL Players of All Time  

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List Rules 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 ordered by

1
+ - 2,879 942
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

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2
+ - 2,398 896
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
+ - 1,914 613
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

4
+ - 2,300 716
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

5
+ - 1,334 578
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
+ - 1,247 637
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
+ - 1,231 620
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
+ - 1,020 572
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
+ - 1,040 564
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mike Bossy Right wing

10
+ - 1,239 595
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
+ - 980 448
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jean Béliveau Centerman

12
+ - 1,558 724
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

13
+ - 818 496
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

14
+ - 856 446
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

15
+ - 734 411
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Phil Esposito Centerman

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16
+ - 722 467
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

17
+ - 991 721
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

18
+ - 702 365
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

19
+ - 682 478
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

20
+ - 656 465
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

21
+ - 535 324
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Denis Potvin Defenseman

22
+ - 480 303
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Glenn Hall Goaltender

23
+ - 590 399
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

24
+ - 836 420
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

25
+ - 689 455
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

26
+ - 329 174
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

27
+ - 812 481
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

28
+ - 442 290
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

29
+ - 409 284
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Börje Salming Defenseman

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30
+ - 457 322
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

31
+ - 385 247
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

32
+ - 585 392
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

33
+ - 875 524
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

34
+ - 1,094 552
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

35
+ - 443 330
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

36
+ - 471 294
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

37
+ - 935 613
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

38
+ - 470 361
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

39
+ - 381 297
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

40
+ - 459 364
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Eddie Shore Defenseman

41
+ - 388 303
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
+ - 347 267
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Frank Brimsek Goaltender

43
+ - 373 272
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

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44
+ - 374 276
Bernie Federko is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Federko Centerman

45
+ - 308 235
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

46
+ - 373 265
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

47
+ - 352 222
Ted Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ted Kennedy Centerman

48
+ - 1,069 796
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Sidney Crosby Centerman

49
+ - 323 268
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Erik Karlsson Defenseman

50
+ - 319 199
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman