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
2,915 952
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
2,428 905
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,334 726
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

4
1,940 624
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
1,349 586
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,253 652
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,244 635
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,033 585
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,051 578
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

10
1,252 604
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
989 455
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

12
1,584 729
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

13
821 507
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

14
742 417
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

15
865 455
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

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16
733 475
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

17
1,002 725
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

18
710 368
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

19
685 484
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

20
539 327
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

21
656 470
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

22
482 309
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

23
592 403
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

24
851 421
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

25
697 457
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

26
334 178
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

27
819 487
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

28
442 294
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

29
411 288
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

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30
458 326
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

31
389 250
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

32
592 394
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

33
890 529
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

34
1,105 556
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

35
945 617
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

36
472 365
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

37
473 299
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

38
446 337
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

39
464 365
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

40
381 299
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

41
388 305
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Alexander Yakushev

42
347 269
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Frank Brimsek Goaltender

43
374 273
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
374 282
Bernie Federko is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Federko Centerman

45
310 236
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

46
1,086 802
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

47
375 268
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

48
330 270
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

49
352 225
Ted Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ted Kennedy Centerman

50
321 202
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman