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!

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Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

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

3
+ - 2,249 848
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

4
+ - 1,781 574
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
+ - 1,267 529
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
+ - 1,185 580
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
+ - 1,164 547
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
+ - 969 510
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
+ - 980 522
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mike Bossy Right wing

10
+ - 1,166 545
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

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

12
+ - 790 448
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

13
+ - 690 409
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

14
+ - 689 378
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Phil Esposito Centerman

15
+ - 811 413
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

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16
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Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Glenn Hall Goaltender

17
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Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

18
+ - 663 433
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

19
+ - 634 421
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

20
+ - 511 290
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Denis Potvin Defenseman

21
+ - 667 332
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

22
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Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

23
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Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

24
+ - 310 136
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

25
+ - 785 394
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

26
+ - 426 257
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

27
+ - 394 248
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Börje Salming Defenseman

28
+ - 373 216
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

29
+ - 447 290
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

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Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

31
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Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

32
+ - 459 264
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

33
+ - 432 296
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

34
+ - 383 277
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

35
+ - 448 336
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Eddie Shore Defenseman

36
+ - 342 244
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Frank Brimsek Goaltender

37
+ - 552 374
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

38
+ - 368 277
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

39
+ - 365 249
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

40
+ - 368 251
Bernie Federko is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Federko Centerman

41
+ - 447 342
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

42
+ - 806 507
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

43
+ - 298 213
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

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+ - 346 201
Ted Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ted Kennedy Centerman

45
+ - 362 243
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

46
+ - 868 596
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

47
+ - 1,019 544
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

48
+ - 292 224
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Erik Karlsson Defenseman

49
+ - 366 293
Patrice Bergeron is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrice Bergeron Centerman, Forward

50
+ - 309 183
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman