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
3,403 1,088
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

2
2,801 1,037
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,717 861
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

4
2,243 725
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
1,522 707
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,407 788
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,425 825
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,186 703
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,171 699
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

10
1,452 708
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
1,898 808
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

12
1,117 547
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

13
1,177 799
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

14
843 507
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

Famous People You Didn't Know Were Married to Each Other

15
977 557
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

16
1,017 472
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

17
886 605
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

18
834 577
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

19
786 446
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

20
806 516
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

21
745 581
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

The Best NHL Arenas

22
1,092 575
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

23
540 387
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

24
708 567
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

25
587 415
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

26
1,119 660
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

27
1,296 592
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

28
676 440
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

The Most Violent Thugs in NHL History

29
940 573
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

30
623 498
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

31
402 249
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

32
1,338 879
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

33
463 360
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

34
505 387
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

35
441 311
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

The Best Reasons to Get Married

36
484 359
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

37
530 419
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

38
505 417
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

39
490 402
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

40
412 352
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

41
509 361
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
568 303
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

The Best Central Michigan Chippewas Quarterbacks of All Time

43
414 355
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

44
419 314
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

45
544 365
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

46
481 322
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

47
331 282
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

48
357 245
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

49
393 332
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

50
359 325
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Frank Brimsek Goaltender