NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
180.9k votes 10k voters 131.2k views 516 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
4,067 1,303
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

2
3,258 1,053
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

3
3,313 1,234
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

4
2,688 878
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
1,753 874
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,638 978
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
2,278 909
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

8
1,415 907
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,675 1,080
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

10
1,353 846
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

11
1,673 866
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

12
1,446 912
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

13
1,288 654
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

14
1,211 557
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

The Best NHL Teams of All Time

15
1,002 618
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

16
1,358 649
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

17
1,153 675
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
1,008 721
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

19
1,393 736
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

20
1,550 648
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

21
960 618
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

The Best Station Wagons of All Time

22
957 736
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

23
1,772 1,027
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

24
894 547
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

25
803 517
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

26
819 700
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

27
669 506
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

28
616 479
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

The Best Current NHL Players

29
1,103 676
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

30
779 671
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

31
1,193 855
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Alexander Ovechkin Left Wing

32
634 484
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

33
692 585
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

34
501 340
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

35
580 461
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

The Creepiest Sports Mascots

36
687 357
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

37
547 430
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

38
524 441
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

39
646 419
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

40
561 489
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

41
500 398
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

42
556 478
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

The Worst In-Season NHL Trades Ever Made

43
489 366
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

44
562 377
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

45
742 411
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Evgeni Malkin Centerman

46
507 450
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

47
451 408
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

48
415 290
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

49
501 326
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ron Francis Centerman

50
557 317
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jacques Plante Goaltender