NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
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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
3,858 1,238
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

2
3,102 986
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

3
3,160 1,160
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

4
2,544 816
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
1,689 813
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,573 906
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,611 993
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,344 835
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
2,177 864
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

10
1,600 811
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
1,291 799
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

12
1,240 617
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

13
1,360 875
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

14
1,156 527
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
955 580
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

16
1,095 629
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

17
967 681
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

18
1,275 620
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

19
1,308 703
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

20
917 687
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

21
909 583
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

The Best HBO Comedies of All Time

22
1,458 624
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

23
863 506
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

24
1,643 961
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

25
765 482
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

26
802 666
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

27
594 446
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

28
648 475
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

The Best Current NHL Players

29
763 639
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

30
1,053 643
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

31
606 462
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

32
668 564
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

33
471 314
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

34
558 437
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

35
1,044 820
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Alexander Ovechkin Left Wing

37 Celebrities Who Played High School Basketball

36
533 410
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

37
660 338
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

38
507 419
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

39
483 372
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

40
546 471
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

41
616 403
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

42
536 456
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

The Best Defensemen in NHL History

43
468 350
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

44
710 384
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Evgeni Malkin Centerman

45
483 420
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

46
537 359
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

47
440 392
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

48
545 417
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

49
394 277
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

50
485 385
Doug Harvey is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Doug Harvey Defenseman