Top 10 Best Hockey Players of All Time

Let's drop the puck on a debate as old as the game itself: who are the greatest players to ever lace 'em up?

With your help, we've rounded up a list of legends, icons, and absolute snipers. These are the players whose names echo through arenas, whose jerseys hang in the rafters, and whose highlights still give you chills.

From coast-to-coast, in barns and massive stadiums, these players have dazzled us with their speed, skill, and pure hockey IQ. They've lifted the Stanley Cup, shattered records, and left fans gasping in awe.
The Top Ten
1 Wayne Gretzky Wayne Gretzky, often referred to as "The Great One," is the leading point scorer in NHL history, with 2,857 points. He played for the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, and New York Rangers.

The NHL has retired just one number. No one in the league will ever don a #99 jersey again. I'd like to think they knew what this other-worldly talent did for the game.

To try to expound on his accolades here would be redundant, as it seems many here know the true brilliance of this guy as a hockey player, and as a humble human being. Greatness of this level is not generational, or even once in a lifetime. In fact, I'm fairly confident there will never be another hockey player with his skill set, ever.

It was a blessing for me to watch his entire NHL career, and I fondly remember watching him play with much better hockey minds than me, guys way up in the NHL food chain. We were all in awe of Wayne Gretzky. He hit the ice and we were silent, as there was a fairly good chance we would see something that had never been witnessed before. The puck on his stick almost certainly meant a scoring chance. Those ridiculous point totals were not by accident.

Hey, I'm just happy to be among those that know. As time goes on, there seems to be less and less of us. All hail the Great One, the best there ever was, or ever will be.

2 Bobby Orr Bobby Orr revolutionized the role of defensemen in hockey, known for his offensive skills and speed. He won the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman eight times during his career.

Most dynamic of all the superstars. He skated better, handled the puck better, saw the ice better, and was tougher and gutsier than anyone of his time. A defenseman who could win scoring titles? Who does that?! A player that could kill a penalty on his own, rush the length of the ice and either score or set someone up, and still make it back on D to block a shot if needed. Only Orr.

As Mr. Hockey said, "I've never seen a player dominate both ends of the ice like that young man did." There will never be another that could do as much - only his knees prevented him from doing it longer. If Gretzky is the Great One, #4 is the Greatest One!

3 Mario Lemieux Mario Lemieux played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring 1,723 points in 915 games. He is one of the few players to return to professional play after battling serious health issues, including cancer.

It is either Orr or Lemieux. Based upon pure skills alone, they are both far better than Gretzky. If people were allowed to check Gretzky, his numbers would have been different. If he didn't have protectors on his own team, the same could easily be said. Plus, Gretzky's teams were FAR BETTER than Mario's, and it was not mostly because Wayne made them better. They were better on their own than the Pens.

Of course, everyone knows Wayne's records would have been matched, at least if not surpassed, if Mario had played longer and healthier. Imagine how many points he would have had in seasons he played hurt or sick, not to mention the shortened career. Gretzky should be third. I would even consider Howe third and Gretzky fourth. Howe was more physical and a better all-around player, so was Mario.

Orr changed the game and redefined defensemen. He made people chasing him look silly. All of the fastest skaters of the time admitted they feared having to try to keep up with him, and even worse if Orr got past them… Forget it. He skated circles around the average player and beat the fastest.

4 Gordie Howe Gordie Howe, nicknamed "Mr. Hockey," played 26 seasons in the NHL and is second in career points with 1,850. He was known for his scoring ability, toughness, and longevity in the sport.

Howe had the unique ability to define how a game was to be played on any given night. Any style/speed his skill set allowed him to play any way the opponents wanted to play.

Probably the one thing about Howe was that while he was the most dominant player, he was not dynamic in the sense of the other great players. You had to watch him play over a period of time to witness how much better he was than his contemporaries. There would be an even higher appreciation of his extraordinary skill set if there were video and tape of him during his prime.

5 Maurice Richard Maurice Richard, nicknamed "The Rocket," was the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games. He played his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens and won eight Stanley Cups.

The Rocket never got the recognition he deserved at the time. Let's not forget that when Maurice started his career, the NHL was on the verge of folding. He rejuvenated interest in professional hockey.

Besides being a pure goal scorer, he was fearless and had a mean streak that struck fear into even the most feared fighters of the time.

Maurice Richard was not only an excellent player, but he also had to endure the racism against the French-Canadians. He continually played brilliantly. Like many others may have, but he also had another task: not letting the others get to him. It was a difficult time. Trust me, Richard should win, hands down, #1.

6 Steve Yzerman Steve Yzerman spent his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings, scoring 1,755 points. He served as the team's captain for 19 seasons, leading them to three Stanley Cup championships.

Steve Yzerman had something that Crosby will never have: class. I will never say that Crosby isn't talented or doesn't deserve to be ranked high on this list, but he can never be compared to Stevie, Wayne, Bobby, or Gordie. I think a lot of people have voted based primarily on who is currently on top and whose name they hear the most.

Possibly the best two-way player of all time. His work ethic, hockey smarts, and leadership put him in the top 10 for sure. When looking and measuring his skill level, he seemed to excel in every facet of the game. His shot from in the slot was great, as was his passing ability. They called him "Stevie Wonder" for a reason.

7 Bobby Hull Bobby Hull, known as "The Golden Jet," was famous for his powerful slapshot and speed. He was a dominant goal scorer, leading the league in goals seven times during his career.

"The perfect mesomorph" -- Time magazine, March 1, 1968. He had the fastest shot ever. His slap shot was clocked at 118.3 mph. His wrist shot was timed at 105.7 mph, and his backhand shot sailed along at only 96 mph. He was the fastest timed NHL skater ever, at 29.7 mph, with full hockey equipment on. The skates in those days were as heavy as lead weights. None of the modern players can touch those marks.

Just think what Bobby Hull would do in today's game with the graphite sticks and lightweight skates that are now used. Not to mention the state-of-the-art workout gyms that every NHL team has. Even though Hull had muscles growing out of muscles, he never took steroids to get that way. And he was one of the most complete players ever. He didn't need a bodyguard to protect him.

8 Sidney Crosby Sidney Crosby, captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, has won three Stanley Cup championships and two Olympic gold medals. He is known for his exceptional playmaking and leadership on the ice.

#1! Best player on the ice, currently speaking. And definitely one of the best players of all time! Anyone who says differently or calls him a cry-baby has no knowledge of the NHL and dislikes him because he doesn't play for their team. I can guarantee, anybody who speaks negatively about Crosby would be wearing his jersey and cheering him on if he played for their favorite team. Numbers don't lie (stats).

He also does a lot for his community, visits a lot of children's hospitals, and gives a lot of kids hope. He has earned his spot on this list. Keep in mind, he's not even 30 yet. If he stays healthy and keeps up what he's been doing since day one, he will be #1.

9 Mark Messier Mark Messier, who played 25 NHL seasons, is the only player to captain two different teams to Stanley Cup victories. He scored 1,887 points and won six Stanley Cups.

This list is idiotic. Nobody still playing in the NHL should be in the top 30 except for maybe Martin Brodeur - certainly not Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin. How could any of these guys be rated above Mark Messier? He is 2nd all time in scoring and perhaps the best 2-way player of all time.

The best leader in hockey history. A great two-way player. He admitted to adding extra padding in the playoffs because he would be hitting and getting hit more. He was one of the best-amped Stanley Cup playoff competitors.

10 Jaromir Jagr Jaromir Jagr, with over 1,900 points, is one of the top point scorers in NHL history. He played for nine NHL teams and is renowned for his durability and scoring prowess.

What makes Jagr a top-5 player of all-time is his ability to succeed in the many changing eras of the game. It's nearly impossible to compare Crosby and Gretzky, given the evolution in rules, conditioning, goalies, etc. But, here's a guy that managed to be successful across all of these eras.

His lack of success without Mario wasn't a function of riding coattails as much as it was a team running dry on money and talent. It takes a team to win, not an individual. The prime of Jagr's career was spent with lackluster teams expecting him to carry most of the load. The greatest of greats had supporting casts, including Gretzky, Howe, Orr, and even Crosby.

Let's face it, today's NHL is a young man's game, and Jagr has found a way to stay relevant and successful in spite of it.

The Contenders
11 Patrick Roy Patrick Roy, regarded as one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history, won four Stanley Cups. He is known for his clutch performances in the playoffs and holds the record for most playoff wins by a goalie.

Best goalie in the history of the sport, and far too low on this list for someone who did so much.

He has to be the best goalie ever in the history of the NHL.

Four cups in three different decades. Only a three-time Conn Smythe winner, once in each decade. His performance in the '93 playoffs, winning 10 consecutive overtime games, is the greatest sustained effort in hockey history.

12 Alexander Ovechkin Alexander Ovechkin, a prolific goal scorer, has spent his entire NHL career with the Washington Capitals. He is known for his powerful shot and physical style of play, leading the league in goals nine times.

You look at this man's career so far, and it is just undoubtedly better than Crosby's. From a talent perspective, he is top 3 of all time. It just amazes me how durable and how reliable Ovi is. He has put up incredible numbers for many more games than Crosby has. The combination of durability and talent are what will make Ovi go down as one of the best to ever grace the ice.

He has the speed of light and is awesome. He has dangles, is tough, and doesn't get concussions all the time, and he fights like a man. And it doesn't matter about stats. Just because a player has better stats doesn't mean you can trash talk another player, because that player can crush you any day!

13 Teemu Selanne Teemu Selanne, known as "The Finnish Flash," scored 684 goals in his NHL career. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks.

There's nothing about the "Finnish Flash" I didn't like. He is one of those guys who is very good. He scored 50 goals in a season with the Winnipeg Jets and also played against the great one, Wayne Gretzky, in a game. He got his 1000th point, 500th and 600th goal with the Anaheim Ducks. He won a Stanley Cup in 06-07, and in that same year, he got the game-winner in game 5 in Detroit. I am glad that the LA Kings did something nice for him before his last games.

Teemu Selanne would, the next night, skate with his friend and former teammate JS Giguere (who helped the Ducks win their first Stanley Cup) on the rink.

14 Jean Beliveau Jean Beliveau, a legendary center for the Montreal Canadiens, won 10 Stanley Cups as a player. He scored 1,219 points in his career and was known for his leadership and sportsmanship.

Jean Beliveau is too good of a player to be this far down. He should be higher than Crosby and Ovechkin at the least. I don't think Crosby and Ovechkin deserve to be on this list, but Rocket Richard does.

A reliable and highly skilled centerman. Always a force to be reckoned with on the ice, he could move quickly for a big man, handle the puck, pass, and shoot with great skill.

He was a real gentleman and a great player. He is somebody all hockey players should strive to be like.

15 Phil Esposito Phil Esposito, a dominant center for the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, scored 717 goals in his career. He led the league in goals six times and points five times.

One of only four players to top 150 points in a season, which he did in the '70s, a far less offensive era than the '80-'90s when Gretzky, Lemieux, and Yzerman all did it (also more than Jagr has ever got). When he scored 76 goals in '70-'71, it had never been done before. Second place that year scored 51. Third place scored 44. Just to give some perspective, he had as many goals as 6th and 7th place combined. That would be like scoring 73 goals in a season today.

He was the most dominant forward of his era. Period.

There are a definite top five iconic players in hockey who will always be considered the best: Gretzky, Howe, Hull, Orr, and Richard (with an honorable mention to Lemieux). But Phil was a cool cucumber, so I'm giving him my vote.

16 Martin Brodeur Martin Brodeur holds the record for most wins by a goaltender in NHL history, with 691 victories. He spent the majority of his career with the New Jersey Devils, winning three Stanley Cups.

How many rules did the NHL change for Patrick Roy? Did Marty ever pout like a baby and quit the team, wrecking an organization and their ability to win for decades? People keep talking about how Marty won because of the team around him. Look at Roy's teams. They weren't slouches. Patrick was a true pioneer and gifted as a player, so he should be on this list, but not higher than Marty. Stats don't lie.

He was the best goalie of all time. Who has the most wins as a goalie? Marty. Who has the most shutouts? Marty. Games played? Marty. He even had a rule made because of his style of play. He is simply the best goalie to ever play the game. Yes, Roy is good, but not as good as Marty!

17 Mike Bossy Mike Bossy, a right winger for the New York Islanders, is one of the most prolific goal scorers in NHL history. He scored 573 goals in 752 games, maintaining an impressive goals-per-game ratio.

Bossy is at least top 10. He had over 500 goals in less than 1,000 games in his career. If he had continued his insane pace, he would have been the highest goal scorer in NHL history. It wouldn't have been that high, but it would have been much higher. He was always one of the best players in the league, and I still stand by him being underrated.

I can see people rating their fair share of people above Mike Bossy, but not this many. He's AT LEAST top 10 material. He holds the record for most goals per game of all time, and even the Great One's goals per game doesn't threaten his record. So, ranking Ovechkin 7th and Bossy 33rd makes absolutely no sense.

18 Marcel Dionne Marcel Dionne, a prolific scorer, amassed 1,771 points over his career. He won two Art Ross Trophies and played primarily for the Los Angeles Kings.

More dangerous than most centers on this list. Barry Sanders on ice.

19 Peter Forsberg Peter Forsberg, a highly skilled playmaker and scorer, won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche. He also achieved success internationally, winning two Olympic gold medals with Sweden.

Greatest all-around hockey player ever. He wasn't just good at defense or manhandling defensive players. He was a dominant force. Plus, he was physically one of the most powerful and quick players to take the ice. Big flames burn up fast, however, and we didn't get enough good years to put him up there with Orr, Howe, and Lemieux. But, I'd still rather have him on my team for a game seven than Gretzky. The Great One was great but not the greatest player of the game. No fault of his own, his size limited what he could do, and he absolutely made the best of it. Hockey is a two-way game, though.

20 Stan Mikita Stan Mikita, who played his entire career with the Chicago Blackhawks, is one of the most skilled centers in NHL history. He won two Hart Trophies and four Art Ross Trophies.

I saw Mikita play one time in Toronto. What a player, and that was at the very end of his career. This guy is a top 10. I thought he won the scoring title 4 times. At one point, Hull and Mikita, and Orr and Esposito dominated the NHL scoring. Mikita was also a class act and did the NHL proud.

He should be a top 10 player. He is a hockey legend, winning the Hart Trophy twice, the Art Ross Trophy twice, and the Lady Bing twice. At one point, he was one of the most heavily penalized Hawks due to getting into scraps.

He was a great fighter for his size and could take on an opponent 30 pounds heavier than him and make him feel sorry he took the challenge. He is one of the NHL's greatest snipers.

21 Pavel Datsyuk Pavel Datsyuk, known for his exceptional stickhandling and defensive play, spent most of his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings. He won the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward three times.

Pavel Datsyuk is probably one of the best hockey players of all time because he is an amazing shooter. He makes the best plays, and his puck control is amazing, even better than others in the top ten.

He is the smartest hockey player of all time, hands down, no contest. He has unbelievable defense along with the best hands the league has ever seen and barely takes any penalties. We will never see another player like Pavel.

712 takeaways since 2005 to 2006. That's crazy. He's good in his own way. For some reason, he usually seems to be overlooked. Now off to promote Darren Helm.

22 Brett Hull Brett Hull, known for his exceptional goal-scoring ability, netted 741 goals in his NHL career. He won two Stanley Cups and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Brett Hull was a scoring machine: 14 seasons he scored over 30 goals, 8 seasons over 40, 5 seasons over 50, 3 seasons over 60, 2 seasons over 70, and to top it off, he had an 86 goal season, the second highest ever scored in one season. Add on 103 playoff goals and a Stanley Cup overtime winner. Top 10 for sure.

This is a disgrace! Whoever made this doesn't know anything about stats. Hull is in the top ten. He is second all-time in goals.

Brett is an amazing player and a wonderful person. I met him on two occasions. He was very friendly. Top in his field.

23 Gilbert Perreault Gilbert Perreault spent his entire 17-season NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres, scoring 1,326 points. He was known for his speed, skill, and playmaking ability as the center of the famed "French Connection" line.

I saw him put the puck right between Orr's legs and go around him as if he was standing still. The guy was the most graceful and dynamic player I've ever had the pleasure of watching, and to top it off, he was all class.

He was the greatest stick handler to ever play the game. A tremendous playmaker and skater. Even as a junior, he skated circles around visiting Soviet teams. He is a quiet man and very underrated.

The 1976 Canada Cup had the best team ever assembled. With Perreault and Hull on the same line, they were unstoppable. Perreault should be considered a top 25 player.

24 Vladislav Tretiak Vladislav Tretiak, a legendary Soviet goaltender, was instrumental in the USSR's success in international hockey during the 1970s and 1980s. He won three Olympic gold medals and ten World Championship titles.

Vladislav Tretiak is the greatest goalkeeper of all time. It was a mistake to bench him in the 1980 Olympic semifinal against the USA (the "Miracle" game). This probably affected the USSR playing morale negatively, and it boosted the USA team morale. If they hadn't benched Tretiak, the USSR team would probably have won the Olympics, and the title would have stayed in the USSR. However, the young USA team won the game, and they deserve the greatest credit for their fantastic efforts. And Herb Brooks too, of course.

He has earned so many awards, even though he was in the Soviet "Cage." He taught many great goaltenders, such as Dominik Hasek. It's a shame the Cold War was happening during his career.

25 Guy Lafleur Guy Lafleur, a standout player for the Montreal Canadiens, scored over 1,200 points in his career. He was known for his speed and scoring ability, winning five Stanley Cup championships.

He definitely should be in the top ten. He was a game-changer and dominated the league for four years as the best player in the world - check your history. It seems everyone forgets that Lafleur was a playmaker, not just a goal-scorer. He consistently got many more assists than goals and made everyone around him better.

Along with Lemieux, he is the most naturally skilled hockey player and a real winner. It's too bad he sat on the bench for a couple of seasons as a rookie. Bossy was good, but not like Lafleur. Lafleur had natural skills and talent.

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