NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
197.2k votes 11.1k voters 137.3k 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
4,495 1,448
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

2
3,621 1,184
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

3
3,642 1,370
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

4
2,989 995
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

5
1,913 991
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

6
1,786 1,111
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Left Wing

7
1,557 1,028
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

8
2,480 1,032
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

9
1,491 956
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

10
1,836 964
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

11
1,817 1,213
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Goaltender

12
1,631 1,013
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

13
1,405 729
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

14
1,349 631
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

15
1,113 696
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

16
1,512 724
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

17
1,273 763
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

18
1,551 809
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

19
1,723 697
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

20
1,086 813
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman, Forward

21
2,041 1,133
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Centerman

22
1,070 690
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

23
1,420 921
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Left Wing

24
1,050 826
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

25
970 603
Marcel Dionne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

26
880 564
Terry Sawchuk is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

27
1,226 729
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Centerman

28
730 552
Denis Potvin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

29
878 749
Peter Šťastný is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

30
832 714
Gilbert Perreault is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

31
666 523
Glenn Hall is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
gaug66 added Goaltender

32
698 529
Bryan Trottier is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing, Centerman

33
743 636
Bernie Parent is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

34
566 394
Vladislav Tretiak is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

35
753 387
Jari Kurri is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added

36
620 498
Darryl Sittler is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

37
711 453
Bobby Clarke is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

38
586 465
Guy Lapointe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

39
571 482
Börje Salming is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

40
545 403
Pat LaFontaine is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

41
471 313
Dale Hawerchuk is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

42
545 441
Viacheslav Fetisov is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

43
624 417
Mike Modano is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

44
600 526
Adam Oates is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

45
558 350
Ron Francis is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

46
594 531
Eddie Shore is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Defenseman

47
615 338
Jacques Plante is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

48
812 469
Evgeni Malkin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
doremifasola added Centerman

49
481 445
Syl Apps is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

50
564 518
Erik Karlsson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
ConnorMurphy1 added Defenseman