NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
189.5k votes 10.6k voters 134.2k 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!

1
4,288 1,389
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

2
2,860 945
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

3
3,447 1,128
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

4
3,482 1,312
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

5
1,842 945
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,717 1,058
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
2,383 970
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

8
1,438 904
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

9
1,490 979
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

10
1,765 916
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
1,748 1,156
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

12
1,555 962
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

13
1,355 693
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

14
1,286 599
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

10 Celebrities Who Have Been Stabbed

15
1,059 663
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

16
1,443 691
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

17
1,219 719
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
1,484 777
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

19
1,057 767
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

20
1,642 672
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

21
1,024 657
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

The Best NHL Arenas

22
1,919 1,092
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

23
1,002 792
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

24
941 577
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

25
1,323 891
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Alexander Ovechkin Left Wing

26
844 549
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

27
1,171 705
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

28
647 500
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

The Most Violent Enforcers in NHL History

29
704 530
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

30
852 726
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

31
812 692
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

32
671 504
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
725 612
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

34
540 372
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

35
603 483
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

The Most Addictive Video Games of All Time

36
719 376
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

37
570 452
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

38
685 440
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

39
543 464
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

40
521 418
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

41
599 396
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
518 389
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

The All-Around Best Athletes of 2018

43
582 503
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

44
576 513
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

45
531 338
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ron Francis Centerman

46
442 303
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

47
590 329
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jacques Plante Goaltender

48
468 428
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

49
786 450
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Evgeni Malkin Centerman

50
537 489
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman