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!

1
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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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2
+ - 2,131 797
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
+ - 1,668 530
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

4
+ - 1,974 608
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

5
+ - 1,212 493
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
+ - 1,139 538
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
+ - 1,111 492
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
+ - 926 464
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
+ - 935 486
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mike Bossy Right wing

10
+ - 1,103 507
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
+ - 904 377
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jean Béliveau Centerman

12
+ - 766 410
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

13
+ - 650 372
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

14
+ - 443 220
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Glenn Hall Goaltender

15
+ - 652 350
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
+ - 773 388
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

17
+ - 640 400
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

18
+ - 615 386
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

19
+ - 553 322
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

20
+ - 488 268
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Denis Potvin Defenseman

21
+ - 643 309
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

22
+ - 1,331 685
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

23
+ - 287 107
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

24
+ - 858 681
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

25
+ - 412 232
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

26
+ - 381 225
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Börje Salming Defenseman

27
+ - 752 380
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

28
+ - 361 193
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

29
+ - 436 266
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

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30
+ - 424 269
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

31
+ - 452 243
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

32
+ - 378 252
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

33
+ - 339 218
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Frank Brimsek Goaltender

34
+ - 731 427
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

35
+ - 602 422
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

36
+ - 360 257
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

37
+ - 362 229
Bernie Federko is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Federko Centerman

38
+ - 355 230
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

39
+ - 431 321
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Eddie Shore Defenseman

40
+ - 293 193
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

41
+ - 531 362
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

42
+ - 434 329
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

43
+ - 339 182
Ted Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ted Kennedy Centerman

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44
+ - 273 196
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Erik Karlsson Defenseman

45
+ - 353 264
Patrice Bergeron is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrice Bergeron Centerman, Forward

46
+ - 343 230
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

47
+ - 757 499
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

48
+ - 818 585
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

49
+ - 196 104
Tiny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Tiny Thompson Goaltender

50
+ - 296 174
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman