NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
173.6k votes 9.6k voters 128k views 513 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
3,893 1,240
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

2
3,184 1,166
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,567 821
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

4
3,122 997
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

5
1,698 819
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,584 915
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,622 1,007
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,357 845
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
2,199 871
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

10
1,304 805
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

11
1,610 822
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

12
1,251 623
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

13
1,379 880
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

14
1,165 532
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

A Random Collection of 30 Hilarious YouTube Comments

15
964 587
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

16
1,107 634
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

17
1,291 623
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

18
975 688
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

19
1,323 707
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

20
923 697
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

21
920 588
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

The Best NHL Arenas

22
1,472 629
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

23
869 515
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

24
1,668 967
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

25
771 487
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

26
599 449
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

27
651 480
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

28
802 673
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

The Most Violent Thugs in NHL History

29
764 645
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

30
1,059 647
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

31
612 463
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

32
669 568
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

33
472 317
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

34
1,054 823
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Alexander Ovechkin Left Wing

35
560 441
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

The Best Kinds of Zero Calorie Soda

36
537 411
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

37
666 339
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri

38
510 422
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

39
485 374
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

40
621 403
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bobby Clarke Centerman

41
549 473
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

42
539 457
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Sports Movies

43
472 352
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

44
543 359
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

45
712 386
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Evgeni Malkin Centerman

46
486 425
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

47
443 394
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

48
397 279
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

49
546 420
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

50
475 312
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ron Francis Centerman