sports The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by
141.3k votes 7.7k voters 114.3k views 405 items Embed

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
3,127 1,011
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Wayne Gretzky Centerman

The Best NHL Teams of All Time The Best Police Movies Streaming on Hulu

2
2,586 966
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Orr Defenseman

3
2,498 789
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mario Lemieux Centerman

4
2,070 669
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gordie Howe Right wing

5
1,425 638
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Maurice Richard Right wing

6
1,306 710
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bobby Hull Left Wing

7
1,316 715
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Dominik Hašek Goaltender

8
1,094 635
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ray Bourque Defenseman

9
1,103 629
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Mike Bossy Right wing

10
1,338 648
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Nicklas Lidström Defenseman

11
1,723 761
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Jaromír Jágr Right wing

12
1,041 501
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jean Béliveau Centerman

13
919 494
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

14
1,070 752
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Martin Brodeur Goaltender

15
847 555
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Stan Mikita Centerman, Forward

The Best Current NHL Players 37 Celebrities Who Played High School Basketball

16
784 457
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Phil Esposito Centerman

17
780 517
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
922 441
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lafleur Right wing

19
741 404
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Marcel Dionne Centerman

20
712 522
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Peter Šťastný Centerman

21
677 510
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Gilbert Perreault Centerman

22
559 363
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Denis Potvin Defenseman

23
505 341
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Glenn Hall Goaltender

24
749 477
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Paul Coffey Defenseman

25
604 447
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Bernie Parent Goaltender

26
974 549
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Mark Messier Centerman

27
1,190 567
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Steve Yzerman Centerman

28
1,022 633
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Patrick Roy Goaltender

29
865 534
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Pavel Datsyuk Centerman

The Best Defensemen in NHL History Bucket List for Couples

30
629 420
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Terry Sawchuk Goaltender

31
363 214
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Vladislav Tretiak Goaltender

32
481 353
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Darryl Sittler Centerman

33
461 326
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Guy Lapointe Defenseman

34
432 321
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Börje Salming Defenseman

35
502 385
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Bryan Trottier Right wing, Centerman

36
410 280
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Viacheslav Fetisov Defenseman

37
1,197 835
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Sidney Crosby Centerman

38
481 391
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Eddie Shore Defenseman

39
465 368
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Adam Oates Centerman

40
398 324
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Syl Apps Centerman

41
488 331
Valeri Kharlamov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

42
371 299
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Erik Karlsson Defenseman

43
398 284
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Pat LaFontaine Centerman

The Worst In-Season NHL Trades Ever Made The Best Airlines for Domestic Travel in the US

44
395 335
Alexander Yakushev is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Alexander Yakushev

45
352 294
Frank Brimsek is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Frank Brimsek Goaltender

46
378 300
Andy Bathgate is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Andy Bathgate Centerman

47
339 217
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Dale Hawerchuk Centerman

48
316 256
Joe Malone is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Joe Malone Centerman

49
361 238
Ted Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Ted Kennedy Centerman

50
518 285
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Jari Kurri