NHL The Best NHL Players of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
219.3k votes 12.5k voters 145.2k views 515 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
5,039 1,675
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

2
3,401 1,166
Gordie Howe is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

3
4,051 1,577
Bobby Orr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

4
4,071 1,378
Mario Lemieux is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

5
2,150 1,142
Maurice Richard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

6
1,994 1,279
Bobby Hull is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Left Wing

7
2,784 1,179
Jaromír Jágr is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

8
2,058 1,112
Nicklas Lidström is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

9
2,014 1,387
Dominik Hašek is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Goaltender

10
1,712 1,181
Ray Bourque is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

11
1,633 1,102
Mike Bossy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Right wing

12
1,842 1,171
Martin Brodeur is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

13
1,611 833
Jean Béliveau is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

14
1,585 720
Guy Lafleur is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Right wing

15
1,700 810
Mark Messier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

16
1,292 817
Phil Esposito is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman

17
1,955 772
Steve Yzerman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Centerman

18
1,761 925
Patrick Roy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Goaltender

19
1,429 873
Joe Sakic is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

20
1,197 765
Paul Coffey is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Defenseman

21
1,207 910
Stan Mikita is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
klubibar added Centerman, Forward

22
2,412 1,329
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
BlakeMangone added Centerman

23
1,725 1,103
Alexander Ovechkin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Scott H added Left Wing

24
1,160 926
Pavel Bure is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time

25
1,427 813
Pavel Datsyuk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NHL Players of All Time
Harrison1 added Centerman