NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
193.7k votes 10.8k voters 135.6k 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!

1
4,392 1,420
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

2
3,535 1,155
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

3
3,562 1,338
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

4
2,927 966
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
1,872 969
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,751 1,086
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
2,435 1,001
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

8
1,462 932
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

9
1,800 940
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

10
1,518 1,009
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

11
1,781 1,186
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

12
1,598 988
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

13
1,381 711
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

14
1,314 617
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

15
1,476 710
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

16
1,086 684
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

17
1,248 745
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
1,514 794
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

19
1,686 682
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

20
1,072 790
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

21
1,990 1,115
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

22
1,044 677
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

23
1,028 808
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

24
1,371 907
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Alexander Ovechkin Left Wing

25
954 592
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

26
862 556
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

27
1,200 717
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

28
718 541
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

29
823 700
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

30
657 511
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

31
863 738
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

32
682 518
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
735 623
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

34
558 380
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

35
733 382
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

36
610 491
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

37
580 458
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

38
695 449
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

39
533 395
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

40
552 477
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

41
536 428
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

42
590 513
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

43
608 409
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

44
583 523
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

45
456 309
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

46
541 346
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ron Francis Centerman

47
602 333
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jacques Plante Goaltender

48
800 458
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Evgeni Malkin Centerman

49
475 436
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

50
550 504
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman