NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
211.7k votes 12k voters 142.4k views 518 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
4,850 1,565
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

2
3,915 1,287
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

3
3,912 1,481
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

4
3,238 1,079
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

5
2,037 1,086
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

6
1,890 1,219
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Left Wing

7
2,666 1,133
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

8
1,974 1,062
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

9
1,952 1,333
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Goaltender

10
1,587 1,057
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

11
1,656 1,136
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

12
1,764 1,088
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

13
1,510 796
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

14
1,473 686
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

15
1,639 785
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

16
1,206 768
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

17
1,687 862
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

18
1,864 744
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

19
1,376 840
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

20
2,290 1,233
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Centerman

21
1,623 1,007
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Left Wing

22
1,157 740
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

23
1,145 882
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman, Forward

24
1,122 894
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

25
1,034 650
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

26
937 613
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

27
1,313 789
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Centerman

28
783 598
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

29
916 803
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

30
752 570
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing, Centerman

31
865 767
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

32
705 571
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Goaltender

33
833 421
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added

34
775 683
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

35
612 435
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

36
650 542
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

37
763 491
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

38
607 527
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

39
615 505
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

40
583 438
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

41
671 356
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

42
677 451
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

43
629 565
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

44
506 342
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

45
603 382
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

46
633 567
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

47
1,024 412
Teemu Selänne is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

48
568 486
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

49
883 516
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Centerman

50
582 460
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman