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
3,389 1,085
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

2
2,707 855
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

3
2,789 1,037
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

4
2,235 724
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
1,517 701
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,401 784
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,416 820
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,181 701
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,166 694
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

10
1,447 705
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
1,887 806
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

12
1,113 544
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

13
1,171 797
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

14
841 504
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

The Best NHL Teams of All Time

15
885 602
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

16
974 555
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

17
832 575
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
1,013 471
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

19
785 444
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

20
803 515
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

21
742 581
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

The Best Sports Channels on YouTube

22
1,086 574
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

23
707 565
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

24
537 386
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

25
583 414
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

26
1,115 660
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

27
1,291 592
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

28
938 571
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

The Best Current NHL Players

29
674 440
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

30
622 497
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

31
401 249
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

32
1,333 878
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

33
463 359
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

34
484 358
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

35
503 387
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

37 Celebrities Who Played High School Basketball

36
529 418
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

37
439 311
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

38
503 416
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

39
489 402
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

40
411 352
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

41
508 361
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
565 303
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

The Best Defensemen in NHL History

43
413 353
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

44
418 314
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

45
541 365
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

46
477 321
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

47
331 281
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

48
392 331
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

49
359 324
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Frank Brimsek Goaltender

50
354 245
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman