• Sports

The Best NHL Players of All Time

List RulesNHL 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!

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  • 1
    7,873
    2,274

    Wayne Gretzky

    Centerman
  • 2
    5,580
    2,746

    Mario Lemieux

    Centerman
  • 3
    5,387
    2,668
    Defenseman
  • 4
    4,746
    2,338

    Gordie Howe

    Right wing
  • 5
    2,802
    1,713

    Maurice Richard

    Right wing
  • 6
    3,878
    1,709

    Jaromír Jágr

    Right wing
  • 7
    2,237
    1,336
    klubibar added

    Jean Béliveau

    Centerman
  • 8
    2,334
    1,275

    Guy Lafleur

    Right wing
  • 9
    2,807
    1,159

    Steve Yzerman

    Centerman
  • 10
    4,285
    2,105
    BlakeMangone added

    Sidney Crosby

    Centerman
  • 11
    2,839
    1,736

    Nicklas Lidström

    Defenseman
  • 12
    2,540
    1,327

    Mark Messier

    Centerman
  • 13
    2,595
    1,488

    Martin Brodeur

    Goaltender
  • 14
    2,603
    1,331

    Patrick Roy

    Goaltender
  • 15
    3,306
    1,613
    Scott H addedLeft Wing
  • 16
    1,639
    761
    klubibar added

    Teemu Selänne

    Right wing
  • 17
    1,836
    819

    Peter Forsberg

  • 18
    1,102
    602

    Jacques Plante

    Goaltender
  • 19
    1,695
    1,017

    Paul Coffey

    Defenseman
  • 20
    1,967
    1,224

    Joe Sakic

  • 21
    1,784
    1,115
    klubibar added

    Phil Esposito

    Centerman
  • 22
    2,342
    1,548

    Ray Bourque

    Defenseman
  • 23
    1,507
    929

    Terry Sawchuk

    Goaltender
  • 24
    1,338
    831

    Marcel Dionne

    Centerman
  • 25
    1,304
    492
    Right wing