sports 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
2,374 738
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

The Best NHL Teams of All Time The Best Sports Channels on YouTube

2
2,966 971
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

3
2,466 926
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

4
1,970 640
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
1,373 597
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,267 671
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,264 660
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,053 598
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,069 592
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

10
1,277 619
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
1,005 470
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

12
1,628 741
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

13
889 464
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

14
826 524
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

15
752 485
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

The Best Current NHL Players The Creepiest Sports Mascots

16
750 433
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

17
1,017 735
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

18
718 378
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

19
693 493
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

20
544 336
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

21
661 480
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

22
868 426
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

23
487 318
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

24
594 416
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

25
708 465
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

26
827 500
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

27
341 190
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

28
446 303
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

29
418 298
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

The Most Violent Thugs in NHL History The Conspiracy Theories You Believe Are True

30
909 537
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

31
601 402
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

32
464 336
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

33
397 260
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

34
1,128 559
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

35
963 622
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

36
481 373
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

37
480 308
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

38
468 371
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

39
451 347
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

40
384 305
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

41
392 312
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Alexander Yakushev

42
348 274
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Frank Brimsek Goaltender

43
376 279
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

The Worst In-Season NHL Trades Ever Made The Best Healthy Cereal

44
376 286
Bernie Federko is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Federko Centerman

45
1,110 811
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

46
342 276
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

47
312 241
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

48
379 273
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

49
353 228
Ted Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ted Kennedy Centerman

50
324 205
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman