NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

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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
3,237 1,045
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

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2
2,671 997
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,145 693
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

4
2,570 820
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

5
1,459 665
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,341 742
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,357 761
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,130 665
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,131 653
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

10
1,392 669
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
1,788 781
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

12
1,074 516
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

13
1,113 766
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

14
810 471
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

15
946 514
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

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16
865 568
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

17
805 538
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
959 454
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

19
758 418
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

20
726 545
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

21
571 381
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

22
688 534
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

23
768 493
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

24
515 360
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

25
1,020 557
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

26
608 470
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

27
1,234 573
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

28
1,059 645
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

29
648 426
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

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30
895 551
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

31
385 227
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

32
491 368
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

33
446 337
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

34
516 399
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

35
423 292
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

36
467 343
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

37
1,254 851
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

38
489 399
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

39
476 383
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

40
498 344
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

41
401 339
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

42
393 323
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

43
409 294
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

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44
537 294
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

45
400 350
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Alexander Yakushev

46
517 348
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

47
345 227
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

48
321 266
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

49
353 308
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Frank Brimsek Goaltender

50
382 315
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman