NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
180.6k votes 10k voters 131k 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!

list ordered by

1
4,057 1,296
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

2
3,308 1,229
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,684 875
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

4
3,247 1,051
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

5
1,749 872
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,636 975
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,412 903
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

8
2,271 908
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

9
1,673 1,075
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

10
1,349 843
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

11
1,667 864
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

12
1,441 909
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

13
1,284 653
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

14
1,205 556
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

The Best NHL Teams of All Time

15
1,002 614
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

16
1,354 648
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

17
1,150 674
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
1,006 719
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

19
1,387 736
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

20
1,547 646
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

21
959 616
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

The Best Station Wagons of All Time

22
955 735
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

23
1,766 1,025
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

24
894 544
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

25
803 516
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

26
669 505
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

27
819 699
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

28
616 479
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

The Best Current NHL Players

29
1,101 676
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

30
779 671
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

31
1,187 853
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Alexander Ovechkin Left Wing

32
634 484
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
692 585
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

34
500 340
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

35
580 460
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

The Creepiest Sports Mascots

36
687 356
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

37
547 429
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

38
524 440
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

39
646 419
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

40
561 489
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

41
499 398
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

42
556 477
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

The Worst In-Season NHL Trades Ever Made

43
489 366
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

44
562 377
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

45
742 409
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Evgeni Malkin Centerman

46
507 448
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

47
451 408
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

48
501 325
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ron Francis Centerman

49
415 290
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

50
557 317
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jacques Plante Goaltender