NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
190.5k votes 10.6k voters 134.4k 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
4,296 1,396
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

2
3,497 1,313
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,870 947
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

4
3,459 1,132
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

5
1,851 946
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,727 1,062
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
2,389 975
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

8
1,443 909
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

9
1,771 919
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

10
1,494 984
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

11
1,756 1,161
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

12
1,564 967
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

13
1,362 697
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

14
1,293 603
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

The Best NHL Teams of All Time

15
1,450 695
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

16
1,063 669
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

17
1,229 723
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
1,489 782
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

19
1,063 771
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

20
1,651 676
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

21
1,027 662
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

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22
1,927 1,097
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

23
1,009 795
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

24
945 582
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

25
1,330 895
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
851 551
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

27
1,178 708
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

28
651 502
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

The Best Current NHL Players

29
707 533
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

30
856 728
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

31
816 694
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

32
673 507
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
731 613
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

34
544 374
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

35
607 485
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

The Creepiest Sports Mascots

36
721 378
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

37
576 452
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

38
689 441
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

39
545 468
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

40
521 391
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

41
585 505
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

42
523 421
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

The Best Defensemen in NHL History

43
601 399
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

44
580 514
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

45
534 339
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ron Francis Centerman

46
473 428
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

47
444 305
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

48
593 329
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jacques Plante Goaltender

49
789 452
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Evgeni Malkin Centerman

50
541 492
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman