NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
198.4k votes 11.1k voters 137.5k views 517 items

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
4,507 1,457
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

2
3,632 1,187
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

3
3,654 1,374
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

4
2,998 1,000
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

5
1,921 997
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

6
1,792 1,116
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Left Wing

7
1,499 960
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

8
2,491 1,036
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

9
1,563 1,037
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

10
1,841 971
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

11
1,821 1,220
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Goaltender

12
1,640 1,017
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

13
1,415 732
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

14
1,358 634
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

15
1,120 701
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

16
1,520 728
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

17
1,279 769
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
1,559 812
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

19
1,735 699
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

20
2,052 1,137
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Centerman

21
1,091 819
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman, Forward

22
1,078 693
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

23
1,429 924
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Left Wing

24
1,054 831
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

25
976 607
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

26
885 568
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

27
1,231 735
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Centerman

28
735 555
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

29
880 754
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

30
671 526
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Goaltender

31
833 719
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

32
703 531
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing, Centerman

33
746 638
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

34
760 388
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added

35
568 400
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

36
623 501
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

37
716 455
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

38
574 484
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

39
588 468
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

40
547 405
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

41
628 419
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
546 445
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

43
471 316
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

44
601 530
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

45
561 353
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

46
597 534
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

47
619 338
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

48
483 446
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

49
815 471
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Centerman

50
566 522
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Defenseman