NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
205.5k votes 11.6k voters 140.3k 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
4,720 1,521
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

2
3,803 1,247
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

3
3,812 1,442
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

4
3,142 1,047
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

5
1,984 1,053
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

6
1,846 1,178
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Left Wing

7
2,587 1,094
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

8
1,549 1,019
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

9
1,618 1,099
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

10
1,888 1,283
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Goaltender

11
1,912 1,028
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

12
1,709 1,061
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

13
1,467 769
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

14
1,422 663
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

15
1,590 757
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

16
1,639 834
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

17
1,162 741
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

18
1,333 809
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

19
1,805 724
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

20
1,539 967
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Left Wing

21
2,184 1,195
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Centerman

22
1,118 721
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

23
1,120 855
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman, Forward

24
1,094 866
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

25
1,004 635
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

26
1,278 763
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Centerman

27
911 592
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

28
758 582
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

29
897 784
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

30
732 549
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing, Centerman

31
850 745
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

32
688 551
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Goaltender

33
762 661
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

34
803 406
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added

35
588 422
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

36
750 467
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

37
640 518
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

38
607 484
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

39
570 421
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

40
589 508
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

41
663 430
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
490 326
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

43
648 344
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

44
587 367
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

45
615 551
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

46
617 550
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

47
556 466
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

48
987 401
Teemu Selänne is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

49
862 495
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Centerman

50
592 550
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Defenseman