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
3,240 1,047
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
2,675 997
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,147 693
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

4
2,573 820
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

5
1,461 665
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,342 742
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,358 762
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,133 665
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,134 653
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

10
1,395 671
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
1,791 782
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

12
1,077 516
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

13
1,115 766
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

14
812 472
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

15
946 516
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

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16
866 568
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

17
806 540
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
961 454
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

19
759 418
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

20
727 545
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

21
573 381
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

22
689 534
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

23
770 493
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

24
516 360
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

25
1,022 558
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

26
610 470
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

27
1,235 575
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

28
1,061 645
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

29
650 426
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

The Best Defensemen in NHL History The Best Qualities in a Man

30
896 552
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

31
387 227
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

32
448 337
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

33
492 368
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

34
518 399
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
424 293
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

36
469 343
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

37
1,258 851
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

38
491 399
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

39
476 385
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

40
499 344
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

41
402 339
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

42
394 324
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

43
409 295
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

The Worst In-Season NHL Trades Ever Made The Best Dogs for Allergies

44
539 294
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

45
520 348
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

46
400 351
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Alexander Yakushev

47
322 266
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

48
345 228
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

49
354 308
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Frank Brimsek Goaltender

50
383 315
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman