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
+ - 2,842 929
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
+ - 2,372 886
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
+ - 2,271 706
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

4
+ - 1,885 603
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
+ - 1,319 569
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
+ - 1,233 629
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
+ - 1,218 603
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
+ - 1,010 561
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
+ - 1,029 554
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mike Bossy Right wing

10
+ - 1,228 584
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
+ - 971 442
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jean Béliveau Centerman

12
+ - 812 489
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

13
+ - 1,534 718
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

14
+ - 727 405
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Phil Esposito Centerman

15
+ - 847 441
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

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16
+ - 717 457
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

17
+ - 983 712
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

18
+ - 680 470
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

19
+ - 651 459
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

20
+ - 693 362
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

21
+ - 529 316
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Denis Potvin Defenseman

22
+ - 476 297
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Glenn Hall Goaltender

23
+ - 586 391
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

24
+ - 825 415
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

25
+ - 326 167
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

26
+ - 680 452
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

27
+ - 800 473
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

28
+ - 436 286
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

29
+ - 406 281
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
+ - 456 318
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

31
+ - 381 244
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

32
+ - 581 388
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

33
+ - 468 288
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

34
+ - 862 521
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

35
+ - 442 326
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

36
+ - 466 357
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

37
+ - 459 359
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Eddie Shore Defenseman

38
+ - 927 610
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

39
+ - 1,080 551
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

40
+ - 379 294
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

41
+ - 388 298
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
+ - 347 262
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Frank Brimsek Goaltender

43
+ - 372 268
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
+ - 373 272
Bernie Federko is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Federko Centerman

45
+ - 307 230
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

46
+ - 372 260
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

47
+ - 350 219
Ted Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ted Kennedy Centerman

48
+ - 316 259
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Erik Karlsson Defenseman

49
+ - 318 196
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

50
+ - 1,051 793
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Sidney Crosby Centerman