NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
184.8k votes 10.3k voters 132.5k 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!

1
4,176 1,353
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

2
3,396 1,274
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,772 913
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

4
3,347 1,093
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

5
1,795 912
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,674 1,013
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
2,328 943
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

8
1,453 941
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,395 872
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

10
1,709 1,115
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

11
1,717 886
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

12
1,499 935
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

13
1,317 672
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

14
1,247 575
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

10 Celebrities Who Have Been Stabbed

15
1,028 638
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

16
1,398 668
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

17
1,183 699
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
1,434 751
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

19
1,029 744
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

20
1,590 659
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

21
993 632
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

The Best NHL Arenas

22
1,846 1,063
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

23
977 767
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

24
920 557
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

25
1,270 870
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Alexander Ovechkin Left Wing

26
823 532
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

27
687 517
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

28
630 490
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

The Most Violent Enforcers in NHL History

29
1,131 691
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

30
835 716
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

31
795 682
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

32
654 490
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
707 598
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

34
515 359
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

35
587 472
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time

36
559 440
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

37
697 368
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

38
664 429
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

39
531 453
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

40
567 486
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

41
502 374
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

42
508 408
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

The All-Around Best Athletes of 2018

43
566 501
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

44
578 385
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

45
522 465
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

46
763 428
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Evgeni Malkin Centerman

47
459 417
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

48
427 295
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

49
511 334
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ron Francis Centerman

50
568 323
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jacques Plante Goaltender