Best Athletes The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
237k votes 13.8k voters 152.7k views 504 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
5,480 1,904
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman
2
4,401 1,753
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman
3
3,788 1,337
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing
4
4,480 1,555
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman
5
2,341 1,264
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing
6
2,151 1,409
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Left Wing
7
2,265 1,238
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman
8
2,178 1,522
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Goaltender
9
3,025 1,298
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing
10
1,853 1,303
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman
11
1,765 1,206
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing
12
2,028 1,304
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender
13
1,778 913
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman
14
1,739 785
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing
15
1,886 877
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman
16
1,410 896
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman
17
2,146 833
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman
18
1,554 960
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
19
1,949 1,032
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender
20
1,308 837
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman
21
1,998 1,285
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Left Wing
22
2,737 1,516
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Centerman
23
1,283 996
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman, Forward
24
1,610 903
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Centerman
25
1,149 705
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender