NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
205.2k votes 11.6k voters 140.2k 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!

list ordered by

1
4,710 1,520
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

2
3,796 1,246
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

3
3,141 1,043
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

4
3,810 1,439
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

5
1,983 1,050
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

6
1,846 1,176
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Left Wing

7
1,549 1,015
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

8
2,585 1,092
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

9
1,616 1,097
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

10
1,910 1,026
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

11
1,884 1,282
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Goaltender

12
1,708 1,060
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

13
1,466 766
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

14
1,421 660
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

15
1,586 755
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

16
1,637 833
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

17
1,160 738
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

18
1,331 808
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

19
1,802 723
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

20
2,177 1,192
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Centerman

21
1,118 720
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

22
1,533 966
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Left Wing

23
1,120 854
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman, Forward

24
1,093 865
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

25
1,004 635
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

26
1,277 760
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Centerman

27
911 591
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

28
757 580
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

29
897 784
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

30
730 548
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing, Centerman

31
848 745
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

32
688 550
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Goaltender

33
762 660
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

34
800 406
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added

35
585 422
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

36
639 518
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

37
747 467
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

38
606 484
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

39
569 421
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

40
588 508
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

41
662 430
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
490 326
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

43
647 344
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

44
586 366
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

45
615 550
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

46
617 549
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

47
555 466
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

48
860 494
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Centerman

49
983 401
Teemu Selänne is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

50
592 547
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Defenseman