NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
204.3k votes 11.5k voters 140k views 519 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
4,694 1,517
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

2
3,784 1,243
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

3
3,134 1,041
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

4
3,802 1,435
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

5
1,980 1,048
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

6
1,842 1,173
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Left Wing

7
2,581 1,087
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

8
1,543 1,013
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

9
1,906 1,020
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

10
1,614 1,093
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

11
1,882 1,277
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Goaltender

12
1,704 1,057
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

13
1,463 762
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

14
1,416 658
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

15
1,583 751
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

16
1,634 831
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

17
1,157 733
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

18
1,801 719
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

19
1,328 804
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

20
1,116 715
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

21
2,170 1,187
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Centerman

22
1,523 961
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Left Wing

23
1,116 850
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman, Forward

24
1,087 863
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

25
1,003 631
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

26
909 588
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

27
1,273 759
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Centerman

28
755 576
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

29
897 778
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

30
687 546
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Goaltender

31
847 741
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

32
726 546
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing, Centerman

33
761 656
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

34
799 401
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added

35
581 419
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

36
744 465
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

37
637 516
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

38
605 481
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

39
568 417
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

40
587 505
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

41
660 428
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
586 363
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

43
489 324
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

44
645 343
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

45
615 547
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

46
617 546
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

47
553 463
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

48
979 399
Teemu Selänne is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

49
855 494
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Centerman

50
568 443
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman