sports 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
3,055 995
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

The Best NHL Teams of All Time The Best Looking Car Brands

2
2,538 943
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,437 767
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

4
2,025 653
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
1,400 622
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,292 691
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,293 690
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,077 614
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,087 611
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

10
1,311 631
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
1,022 488
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

12
1,681 748
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

13
906 479
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

14
773 445
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

15
835 542
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

The Best Current NHL Players The Creepiest Sports Mascots

16
768 502
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

17
1,045 744
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

18
733 392
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

19
896 436
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

20
702 511
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

21
669 496
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

22
549 353
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

23
496 333
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

24
597 434
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

25
729 473
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

26
847 515
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

27
940 545
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

28
354 202
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

29
1,158 563
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

The Most Violent Thugs in NHL History People We Wish Were Still Alive

30
992 628
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

31
455 316
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

32
613 415
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

33
423 311
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

34
472 346
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

35
403 268
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

36
491 379
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
457 357
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

38
485 320
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

39
472 383
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

40
389 318
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

41
1,152 825
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

42
394 324
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Alexander Yakushev

43
358 288
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

The Worst In-Season NHL Trades Ever Made The Very Best Pop-Tart Flavors

44
349 286
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Frank Brimsek Goaltender

45
377 291
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

46
388 280
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

47
377 298
Bernie Federko is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Federko Centerman

48
313 251
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

49
329 213
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

50
354 235
Ted Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ted Kennedy Centerman