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
2,911 952
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
2,424 905
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,331 725
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

4
1,937 624
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
1,346 585
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,253 650
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,242 634
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,031 583
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,049 576
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

10
1,249 604
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
986 454
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

12
1,582 728
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

13
819 507
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

14
741 417
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

15
863 454
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

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16
732 473
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

17
1,000 725
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

18
708 368
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

19
684 484
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

20
656 469
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

21
539 327
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

22
482 308
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

23
592 402
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

24
848 421
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

25
696 457
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

26
333 177
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

27
818 486
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

28
442 293
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

29
411 287
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

The Best Defensemen in NHL History The Best Things About Fall

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

31
389 249
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
888 529
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

34
1,104 556
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
471 365
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
472 298
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

38
445 336
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
374 272
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

The Worst In-Season NHL Trades Ever Made The Best Subarus of All Time

44
374 281
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
375 267
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

47
1,085 802
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

48
330 269
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
319 202
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman