NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
201.1k votes 11.3k voters 138.8k views 519 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!

list ordered by

1
4,593 1,486
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

2
3,704 1,212
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

3
3,727 1,402
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

4
3,057 1,017
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

5
1,941 1,023
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

6
1,815 1,139
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Left Wing

7
1,586 1,063
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

8
2,529 1,060
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

9
1,869 995
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

10
1,513 988
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

11
1,847 1,247
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Goaltender

12
1,665 1,036
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

13
1,434 745
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

14
1,380 646
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

15
1,546 737
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

16
1,132 718
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

17
1,585 822
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

18
1,297 791
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

19
1,762 712
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

20
2,102 1,159
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Centerman

21
1,094 705
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

22
1,473 940
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Left Wing

23
1,100 835
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman, Forward

24
1,069 843
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

25
983 617
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

26
1,250 746
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Centerman

27
893 579
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

28
740 566
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

29
883 766
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

30
677 534
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Goaltender

31
836 730
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

32
710 540
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing, Centerman

33
753 645
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

34
773 395
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added

35
574 408
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

36
629 506
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

37
596 473
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

38
726 460
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

39
579 495
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

40
554 410
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

41
643 421
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
573 357
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

43
608 535
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

44
478 320
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

45
602 542
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

46
550 453
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

47
628 340
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

48
835 483
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Centerman

49
486 452
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

50
575 534
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Defenseman