This list of the top 50 greatest NHL hockey players of all time is bound to create some controversy. NHL hockey is nearly a century old, and few people alive today have been around since the birth of the league. Around the water cooler we banter about who was the best, and our views are often biased towards players on our favorite teams. When I set out to create this list I had it in mind to try and be as objective as possible, and I hope I achieved that goal. There are a few things to note before I begin. First of all, there are no goalies on this list. In my opinion the goal position is so radically different from the defense or forward position that it is impossible to compare the men who tend the nets with those who wander the ice freely. Also, though you will see some active players on the list, none without at least a decade of NHL experience will appear. With career numbers and longevity both factors in building the list, newer players just haven’t established enough of a resume to warrant their inclusion. Barring major health problems there is no doubt Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin will one occupy high spots on this list, but with only a few years of NHL experience under their belts they will still have to wait a few years to get their due. With those exceptions noted here are my picks for the best NHL players of all time:
50 – Sergei Fedorov
Some might raise eyebrows at Fedorov’s inclusion on this list. Fans who’ve begun to follow the sport only recently have only seen him as a role player in the twilight of his career. However, at his peak in the mid-90s, he was arguably the best two-way player in the game, winning a pair of Selke Trophies as the NHL’s best defensive forward, as well as a Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP. He was a key component of the Detroit Red Wings team that won two Stanley Cups in the 1990s, and his skating prowess, his vision on the ice and his incredible hockey sense at both ends of the ice made this Russian superstar the complete package.
49 – Bernie Geoffrion
The man they called Boom Boom is most famous with popularizing the slapshot, but he was also a major reason why the Canadiens won a record-setting 5 consecutive Stanley Cups in the late 50s. In the 1960-61 season he became only the second player in NHL history (after teammate Maurice Richard) to score 50 goals in a single season, and fell just 7 goals shy of notching 400 in his Hall of Fame career.
48 – Ron Francis
Underrated his entire career, there will no doubt be some who protest this franchise player’s inclusion on the list of the greatest NHL hockey players. However, even ignoring the many intangibles this guy brought to the rink just by pure numbers alone he deserves to be recognized among the game’s greats. As every hockey fan worth their salt knows Wayne Gretzky is the all time leader in career assists. Who’s second? That’s right, Ron Francis. With 1,249 career helpers and 1,798 career points he ranks higher than most of the people ahead of him on this list. However, points alone don’t make a great player. Francis also delivered when it really counted, and Mario Lemieux will tell you Francis was a huge reason why the Penguins won back to back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 92.
47 – Brad Park
Though the forwards might get all the glory, it is the rocks on the back end that are the true backbone of any great team. Brad Park was not only great in his own end, he was also pretty darn good on the offensive side of the puck, racking up points with the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, and Detroit Red Wings during his career. When the dust settled he had 896 points in 1,113 career games. As good as Park was he never won a Norris Trophy, mostly due to the fact that Bobby Orr was racking up 8 Norris wins in the prime of Park’s career. Perhaps Park’s most notable achievement was the fact that he made the playoffs every single season of his 18 year. Unfortunately that incredible consistency was never rewarded, as Park never managed to get his hands on the Stanley Cup.
46 – Dit Clapper
Not only one of the NHL’s greatest players, but also one of its greatest names. Aubrey “Dit” Clapper spent his entire NHL career with the Boston Bruins in the 20s, 30s and 40s, and in the twilight of his career he took on coaching duties as well. He was the first NHL player to enjoy a 20 year career, and managed to rack up a respectable 474 points in 824 games as both a defenseman and a forward in a low scoring era. He helped the Bruins win 3 Stanley Cups during his tenure there, and his number 5 was retired by the team once this Hall of Famer’s playing days ended.
45 – Elmer Lach
In 1944-45 Maurice Richard turned the hockey world on its ear, scoring an incredible 50 goals in 50 games. However, it was Elmer Lach who led the league in points and won the Hart Trophy as league MVP that year. Lach is one of the least heralded of the great Montreal Canadiens from years gone by, but his numbers show he had talent to burn. He led the league in scoring again in 1947-48 and took home the first ever Art Ross Trophy that season for his efforts. He would finish his career averaging nearly a point a game, was a first team all-star on three separate occasions and helped his Canadiens win 3 Stanley Cups during his time with the club.
44 – Chris Chelios
This guy belongs on the list just for his incredible longevity alone. At 47 years of age Chelios is the second oldest player in NHL history behind only Gordie Howe, who came back to play with sons Mark and Marty at the ripe old age of 52. Though these days Chelios watches the games from the press box more often than not, back in the 80s and 90s he was one of the most feared defenders in the league, not only for his offensive prowess, but for his incredible will to win and his penchant for using his stick as a weapon. He has won 3 Norris Trophies, 3 Stanley Cups as a member of both the Montreal Canadiens and the Detroit Red Wings, and has played more playoff games than any other player in the history of the NHL.
43 – Brett Hull
Though he might not have earned as high a spot as his famous father, Brett Hull actually finished with 131 more goals than the Golden Jet, and ranks 3rd all time with 741 career snipes. Known as a shooter, Brett Hull’s one-dimensional play kept him from attaining a higher spot on the list of the greatest hockey players ever, but he was so good at that one thing that keeping him off the list would have been a crime. His 86 goal season in 1990-91 is the second highest single season total in NHL history, and was the second of three consecutive seasons where the right winger eclipsed 70 goals. Even Hull’s harshest critics can hardly dispute he is one of the greatest snipers to ever fire a hockey puck.
42 – Peter Stastny
Another controversial choice, considering he never won a Stanley Cup, an Art Ross Trophy, or a Hart Trophy. However, Peter Stastny had the distinct disadvantage of playing the prime of his career in Wayne Gretzky’s enormous shadow. Without Gretzky in the picture there is little doubt that Stastny would have brought home plenty of hardware, and with the exception of The Great One no one scored more points in the 80s than this Slovakian superstar.
41 – Newsy Lalonde
I go back into the annals of NHL history for my next selection. In 2006 Evgeni Malkin tied one of the NHL’s oldest records when he scored a goal in each of his first 6 career games. The man whose record he tied was Newsy Lalonde. Lalonde also has the distinction of scoring the first goal in NHL history, a feat he achieved in 1917 while playing for the Montreal Canadiens. The only thing that keeps him from a higher ranking is his relatively short NHL tenure. Lalonde only played 99 career regular season games, barely more than a single season’s worth in this day and age. However, he made the best of that relatively short time, scoring an incredible 124 goals in that span.
40 – Charlie Conacher
From a legendary Montreal Canadien to a legendary Toronto Maple Leaf. Charlie Conacher starred with the Buds in the 1930s. He helped the club make it to 5 Stanley Cup finals during his playing days, capturing the silver chalice in 1932. He also led the league in scoring on 2 separate occasions and in goals in 5 seasons. Though he would go on to play with the New York Americans and Detroit Red Wings he will always be remembered as Leaf and is widely considered one of the greatest Toronto Maple Leafs of all time.
39 – Tim Horton
One of the most physically punishing players ever to play in the NHL, Tim Horton could crack ribs with his famous bear hugs. He played an incredible 24 seasons before a 1974 automobile accident ended his life and his career. During his playing days he put up a respectable 518 career points and his 1,611 career penalty minutes give tribute to his ornery style of play, and he helped the Punch Imlach-led Leafs win 4 Stanley Cups in the 60s. For those who are wondering, yes he was also the founder of the Tim Hortons franchise.
38 – Peter Forsberg
Based on pure talent alone this Swedish phenom would be much higher on this list. However, chronic injuries plagued Forsberg throughout his career, and he was unable to put up the kind of numbers that you’ll see from many others on this list. However, at the peak of his game between 1995 and 2003 Forsberg was arguably as good as any player in the game, averaging well over a point per game, and helping his Colorado Avalanche to 2 Stanley Cups. He was nearly unstoppable down low, and in my opinion his on-ice vision and his ability to pass through sticks is only second to Wayne Gretzky in the last thirty years.
37 – Syl Apps
Though at 6 feet and 185 pounds Apps would be pretty average by today’s NHL standards back in the 30s and 40s he was an absolute beast, physically dominating his opponents with his sheer size. He wasted no time making his presence felt in the NHL, winning the inaugural Calder Trophy in 1937 as the NHL’s best rookie. Apps played his entire 10 year NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and was a model of consistency, scoring over 20 goals 6 times during that span and finishing his career with a better than point per game average (432 points in 423 games). Despite his size, Apps only spent 56 minutes in the sin bin during his career, winning the Lady Byng as the league’s most gentlemanly player in 1942. Apps would help the Leafs to 3 Stanley Cups during his tenure, and though he never won a Hart Trophy or led the league in scoring he was certainly one of the NHL’s best player during that era.
36 – Cy Denneny
This legendary Ottawa Senator has the dubious distinction of winning the NHL scoring race with the lowest total points in a season. In the 1923-24 season he finished with 22 goals and 1 assist to lead the NHL with a mere 23 points. He played 11 seasons with the Sens, helping the team to 4 Stanley Cup championships during that time. Denneny was one of the most prolific goal scorers of his era, and he netted a whopping 246 goals in just 326 career games.
35 – Gilbert Perreault
This slick Buffalo Sabre center is generally considered to be one of the greatest players who never won a Stanley Cup. Perreault, who starred alongside Rick Martin and Rene Robert on the French Connection Line in the 1970s, played all 1,191 games of his NHL career as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, racking up 1,326 points over that time. Despite his inability to win the big prize few who saw this incredible player during his prime would dispute his spot on this list.
34 – Jari Kurri
Some critics might argue that Kurri’s NHL success came mainly from riding the coattails of Wayne Gretzky during the duo’s run with the Oilers in the 1980s. However, Kurri’s incredible individual skill and his on-ice intelligence became readily apparent when Gretzky was traded in the summer of 1988 in a blockbuster trade that sent number 99 to the Los Angeles Kings. Kurri would hardly miss a beat, despite his superstar linemate’s absence, scoring 102 and 93 points respectively in the next 2 years. Kurri won 5 Stanley Cups during his playing days, and his 1,398 career points rank him third behind only Jaromir Jagr and Stan Mikita in career scoring by European born players.
33 – Joe Malone
It is hard to compare players that played in such completely different eras. However, when a player scores 44 goals in a 20 game season it is hard to find a valid reason to keep him off the list of the greatest players of all time. Malone, much like Newsy Lalonde, had a relatively short NHL career, but in only 125 games he managed to bulge the twine a jaw-dropping 146 times. He holds the NHL record for the most goals in a single game with 7, and is the only player in league history to score 5 goals in a single game 3 times in a single season.
32 – Henri Richard
Though not as famous as his brother, Maurice “Rocket” Richard, the man known as the Pocket Rocket was a pretty darn good player in his own right. Richard spent his entire 20 year career as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, scoring over 1,000 points as a forward for the club. However, it is his Stanley Cup success that is his most impressive achievement. Richard doesn’t even have enough digits on both hands combined for all his Stanley Cup rings, and the 11 he won as a player is an all time NHL record. No, he didn’t have the flash and dash of his brother, but his consistency and his skill earn him a deserving spot on this list of the greatest players in NHL history.
31 – Joe Sakic
Though his nickname may be Burnaby Joe, this slick center with one of the game’s best wrist shots has spent his entire career as a member of the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise. Sakic is generally regarded by his peers and by fans of the game as one of the classiest players to ever pick up a hockey stick. Sakic is the scoring leader among active NHL players, with 1,641 career points at the time of this writing. He has helped the Avalanche to 2 Stanley Cups and has a Conn Smythe as the Stanley Cup playoff MVP after an incredible 18 playoff goal performance in 1996. Over the past two seasons Sakic has been plagued by injuries, and hopefully we haven’t seen the last of this classy player. If he can stay healthy I have no doubt he still has some great hockey left in him.
30 – Milt Schmidt
One of the greatest Boston Bruins of all time Milt Schmidt played for the Bs his entire 16 year NHL career between 1937 and 1955. Even more incredibly he missed 3 full seasons in the 40s as he served his country in World War II. Despite his 3 year absence Schmidt didn’t miss a beat on his return to the NHL. When the dust settled on his career Schmidt had 575 points in 776 games, 2 Stanley Cups and a Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player.
29 – Dickie Moore
It is little surprise that the team with the most Stanley Cup victories in NHL history would also have the most players on the list of the best hockey players of all time. Dickie Moore was yet another member of the fabled Montreal Canadiens franchise that was so dominant in the late 50s. Moore might not have the star power of the Richard brothers, Jean Beliveau, or Bernie Geoffrion, but on any other team the spotlight would have shone brightly on him. He racked up 608 points in 719 career games, won 6 Stanley Cups, and capture 2 Art Ross Trophies as the league’s leading scorer during his playing days.
28 – Larry Robinson
Yes, another Montreal Canadien legend. (Sorry Leafs fans). In the 1970s Larry Robinson helped form the triumvirate of defenseman that was simply called “The Big Three”. One of the best puck rushers of his era, Robinson was key in igniting the vaunted Canadiens offense, and his 958 career points put him high on the list of the best offensive defensemen in NHL history. Though Robinson went on to finish his Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles Kings he will always be remembered as a Montreal Canadien, the team for which he won 2 Norris Trophies with and helped hoist the Stanley Cup on 6 different occasions.
27 – Paul Coffey
If anyone could make an argument for anyone besides Bobby Orr when discussing the best offensive defenseman of all time it would be for this man. Coffey, arguably the best skater to ever lace them up in the NHL was a force to be reckoned with, particularly during his time with the powerful Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s. Coffey eclipsed the 100 point mark in 5 separate seasons, including the 1985-86 campaign when he racked up 48 goals and 138 points. He is 2nd all time to only Ray Bourque in career scoring by a defenseman with 1,531 points. Coffey’s abilities landed him the Norris Trophy on three separate occasions, and most importantly he has hoisted the Stanley Cup 5 times. Not only is he one of the greatest players of all time, he is without question one of the most entertaining as well.
26 – Ted Lindsay
It seems strange to see a man with the nickname “Terrible” on a list of great players. However, it was his reputation for meanness rather than his skill set that earned him the moniker. Ted Lindsay labored in Gordie Howe’s enormous shadow on one of the greatest lines in hockey history, the Production Line of the Detroit Red Wings. Though he didn’t rack up as many points as his famous linemate, Lindsay knew where the net was, and his 851 career points and his Art Ross Trophy back that up. With more than 1,800 career penalty minutes Terrible Ted Lindsay was no stranger to the sin bin either, and any player who played against him back in the day probably has some scars to prove it.
25 – Marcel Dionne
At the time of his retirement the player known as “the Little Beaver” ranked 2nd behind only Gordie Howe in career goals in points. Though he has since been reeled in by Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Ron Francis (points) and by Brett Hull (goals) his positions as 5th and 4th in each respective category is nothing to sneeze at. Unfortunately this member of the “Los Angeles Kings’ Triple Crown Line’s remarkable offensive talents yielded very little reward in the way of hardware. Marcel Dionne is arguably the best player who never won a Stanley Cup. He did enjoy some success on a personal level, beating out a young Wayne Gretzky in the 1979-80 season to capture both the Art Ross Trophy, and his second consecutive Lester B. Pearson Trophy as the league’s best player as voted by his peers.
24 – Steve Yzerman
This former Detroit Red Wings’ superstar ranks with players like Jean Beliveau, Igor Larionov and Joe Sakic in the discussion of the classiest hockey player of all time. When he broke into the league in the early 80s he was an offensive dynamo and between 1987 and 1993 he broke the 100 point plateau six times and the 60 goal mark twice. However, as his career progressed he added defensive structure to his game, and his incredible two way play, his leadership and his determination would help him go on to win 3 Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy and an Olympic gold medal. He finished his amazing career with 692 goals and 1,755 points and will be a first ballot shoe-in for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
23 – Frank Mahovlich
Arguably the greatest Toronto Maple Leaf of all time the man known as The Big M played 19 NHL seasons with the Leafs, Wings and Canadiens before making the jump to the rival WHA in 1974. During that time Mahovlich was incredibly consistent and his point totals in his final 3 NHL seasons were higher than any other 3 year period of his career. During his time he netted 533 career goals, and totaled 1,103 points helping his teams to 6 Stanley Cups along the way.
22 – Bobby Clarke
Though some might question his managerial skills few can dispute this Philadelphia Flyer’s incredible determination, grit and will to win. Bobby Clarke would do whatever it took to win a hockey game (just ask Valeri Kharlamov) and he led his Broad Street Bullies to 2 Stanley Cups during the 1970s, and was a key component of the Team Canada team that beat the Soviets in the 1972 Summit Series. Clarke wasn’t just grit though. He had plenty of raw talent and he racked up 1,210 regular season and 119 playoff points during his spectacular career. His success on the ice also translated to individual awards, and he carried home the Hart Trophy 3 times and the Selke Trophy once during his Hall of Fame career.
21 – Jaromir Jagr
It almost pains me to include a man who squandered so much talent, took so many nights off, and complained so much a spot amongst these other legends on the list of the greatest hockey players of all time. However, I cannot ignore his incredible raw talent, and thus must give him his due. Jaromir Jagr might just be the most offensive gifted player to ever pick up a hockey stick, and when he was so inclined he could turn an entire team inside out twice before finishing the play with a highlight reel deke on the goalie. His prolific scoring ability landed him 5 Art Ross Trophies, and a Hart Trophy. As a sidekick to Mario Lemieux he captured two straight Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 90s. If the sun has set on his incredible career then he is already among the all time leaders in all offensive categories, with a staggering 646 goals and 1,599 points to his credit. Say what you will about his competitive drive, but anyone who saw this guy play cannot deny he is one of the NHL’s all time most talented players.
20 – Red Kelly
Another legend from days gone by marks the entrance into the top 20 NHL players of all time. Leonard “Red” Kelly split his NHL career between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. He was an incredibly versatile player, starring at both the defense and the forward positions. In Detroit he was overshadowed by legends like Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay, however it was his puck-moving ability that jumpstarted that powerful team’s offense, and helped the club win 4 Stanley Cups during Kelly’s tenure there. He was just as good in Toronto, moving up to center Frank Mahovlich. The duo was all but unstoppable and they led the Leafs to 4 Stanley Cups in the 1960s. With 8 Stanley Cups in all, 4 Lady Byng Trophies, and a Norris Trophy there can be little question that Red Kelly holds a deserving spot on this list.
19 – Denis Potvin
It is a testament to just how many great players have graced NHL rinks over the years when a player as good as the Islanders’ Denis Potvin was can barely crack the top 20. The powerful Islanders teams of the early 80s had stars like Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier lighting the lamp consistently at the front end, but it was Potvin who was the linchpin of the team and was an offensive star on the back end. He was the first defenseman to score over 1,000 career points, and he added 164 points in the playoffs for good measure. Over his career he won 4 Stanley Cups and 3 Norris Trophies. Such is his legend that the chant “Potvin sucks!” can still be heard many nights in Madison Square Gardens, the home of the Islanders’ cross-town rivals, the New York Rangers. How is that for making an impact?
18 – Eddie Shore
The Boston Bruins have to be the luckiest franchise in NHL history when it comes to the blueline. They’ve seen the likes of Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Brad Park, and of course, this old-time hockey legend grace the back end through their history. Shore spent all but 10 games of his NHL career with the Boston Bruins, potting 105 goals and 284 points in 553 games in an era when most defensemen contributed very little to their team’s offense. Shore won the Hart Trophy 4 times during a 6 year span in the 30s, and is the only defenseman in NHL history (including Bobby Orr) to win the coveted trophy that many times.
17 – Phil Esposito
Before Wayne Gretzky came along and annihilated the NHL record book, Phil Esposito’s 76 goals and 152 points were by far and away the highest single season totals in both categories. During his incredible career with the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers the outspoken superstar racked up over 700 goals and 1,590 points, and at the time of his retirement in 1981 he ranked 2nd all time behind only Gordie Howe in both those categories, nabbing himself 5 Art Ross Trophies and 2 Harts along the way.
16 – Bryan Trottier
With 95 points and a Calder Trophy in his rookie year Bryan Trottier wasted no time serving notice to his peers that he would be a force to be reckoned with in the NHL. Not only was he an offensive dynamo, eclipsing the 100 point barrier 6 times in his career, he was also an underrated defensive player, and pound for pound was one of the toughest players to ever lace up the skates. Trottier teamed up with Mike Bossy and Clark Gillies to form one of the best lines in NHL history, and together they helped the Islanders win 4 straight Stanley Cups in the early 1980s. Trottier would go on to win 2 more cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, giving him 6 in total, to go along with his Hart, Conn Smythe, Art Ross and Calder Trophies.
15 – Stan Mikita
Long before Jari Kurri and Jaromir Jagr came along this guy was showing that Europeans could be superstars in the NHL. Though it has been almost 3 decades since he played an NHL game, his 1,467 career points ranks him second all time behind only Jaromir Jagr in scoring by a European born player. He and Bobby Hull formed one of the deadliest duos in NHL history, starring for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 60s and 70s. During that span Mikita captured 4 Art Ross titles and 2 Harts, was a 6 time first team all star and helped his Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup in 1961.
14 – Ray Bourque
What’s a guy got to do to crack the top 10 NHL players of all time? Apparently being the all-time leading scorer on defense with 410 goals and 1,579 points is not enough. How about a Calder Trophy and 5 Norris Trophies? Not good enough apparently. 1,612 regular season games and 214 playoff games? Still nope. 180 playoff points and a Stanley Cup? Alright, you get the point. This guy was one of the best ever. It’s hard to believe there are 13 guys ahead of him.
13 – Howie Morenz
One of the NHL’s first true superstars, Howie Morenz dominated the game in the 20s and 30s. While starring with the Montreal Canadiens he led the fabled club in scoring in 7 consecutive seasons, helping them to 3 Stanley Cups, and nabbing himself 3 Hart Trophies as the league MVP to boot. In 1945 when the Hockey Hall of Fame opened his doors, Morenz was among its first 12 inductees, and is considered by many to be the greatest player of the first half of the 20th century.
12 – Nicklas Lidstrom
This might be a controversial choice, but I have a hard time ranking this guy any lower. He is the closest thing I have seen to a machine in my many years of watching NHL hockey, and he always seems to make the right decision with or without the puck. Sure, many of the players on this list might have more flash or might make the highlight reel more often, but Lidstrom just goes about his business with remarkable consistency and simply put, this guy doesn’t know how to lose. With 6 Norris Trophies he ranks behind only Bobby Orr (8) and Doug Harvey (7) for the most ever. He has 4 Stanley Cup rings and came within a whiskers breadth of making it 5 this past spring when his Detroit Red Wings bowed out to Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
11 – Guy Lafleur
One of the most popular and electrifying players of all time, Guy Lafleur is one of the true icons of the game. Lafleur flying down the right wing, blond hair flying as he unleashes a devastating slapshot is one of the enduring images in all of sports. However, this guy, much like Ovechkin now, wasn’t just charismatic – he was a true superstar. He accumulated an incredible collection of trophies during his career including 3 Art Ross Trophies, 3 Lester B. Pearsons, 2 Harts, a Conn Smythe and 5 Stanley Cup rings. He is the Montreal Canadiens’ all time leader in both assists and points, and ranks second in both goals and popularity with Habs fans to only the great Rocket Richard.
10 – Mike Bossy
The greatest pure goal scorer in NHL history is also one of the top 10 greatest NHL hockey players of all time. Forget Gretzky, Lemieux, Ovechkin or Brett and Bobby Hull, when it came to snapping the puck in the net, nobody did it better than this guy. Much like his Islander linemate, Bryan Trottier, Bossy made an impact in his first season in the big league, setting an NHL rookie record and nabbing the Calder Trophy by scoring 53 goals that year. That was just a sign of things to come. The following year he would score 69 – the second highest single season total in NHL history at the time. He would eclipse the 60 goal mark 4 additional times in his career, and in 1980-81 became the first player since Maurice Richard to score 50 goals in 50 games, and set an NHL record (later broken by Gretzky) by scoring 9 hat tricks that same season. Though his remarkable career was cut short by injuries he set an NHL record scoring 50 goals or more in each of his first 9 NHL seasons, and he finished with 573 goals and 1,126 points in only 752 games, helping his Islanders to 4 Stanley Cups, and earning himself a Conn Smythe Trophy along the way.
9 – Bobby Hull
Sorry Brett, but your dad was better. Another one of the true icons of the game, The Golden Jet not only had a wicked shot, but was one of the fastest skaters to ever patrol the wing. He played 15 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks before a lucrative $1,000,000 contract lured him to the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA. In 1966 he became the first player to score more than 50 goals in a single season, bulging the twine 54 times that year, 1 of 5 times he would reach the 50 goal plateau. Had his WHA years instead been spent in the NHL he would no doubt challenge Wayne Gretzky’s career goals mark of 894. Hull had 610 in the NHL and an additional 303 in the WHA during his magnificent pro hockey career.
8 – Mark Messier
Often referred to as the greatest leader in professional sports Mark Messier spent the early part of his career in the shadow of Edmonton Oilers teammate and friend Wayne Gretzky. During that time Messier was a prolific scorer, but his leadership abilities didn’t become apparent until Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles in 1988. Messier would take over the captaincy of the Oilers and in 1990 led the Oilers to a 5th Stanley Cup, and their only one without Gretzky. However, Messier’s greatest moment as a captain came when he led the 1994 New York Rangers to dramatic 7 game semi-finals and finals wins over the New Jersey Devils and the Vancouver Canucks to deliver long-suffering Rangers fans their first Stanley Cup since 1940. With 2 Hart Trophies, a Conn Smythe and 6 Stanley Cups Messier is one of the most decorated players of the modern era, and his 1,756 career games and 1,887 career points rank him 2nd all time in both categories.
7 – Doug Harvey
One of the best offensive defensemen of all time, Doug Harvey was the key to the vaunted Montreal Canadiens’ offense of the 1950s. He was a member of the Habs from 1947 until 1961, helping them to 6 Stanley Cups along the way. He also all but owned the Norris Trophy during that era, winning 7 of them in an 8 year span. Though his 540 points might pale in comparison to the totals of some other defensemen on this list, don’t let the numbers fool you. Anyone who saw this guy play in his prime will tell you in this case the numbers lie. Only Bobby Orr was better at the position, plain and simple.
6 – Jean Beliveau
Though some might argue I have this guy a little high up on the list in my opinion his combination of leadership, skill, class, and his incredible ability to win makes him deserving of the number 6 spot. Beliveau racked up 507 goals and 1,219 points in his 20 seasons with the Habs, winning the Stanley Cup exactly half of those years. Though he didn’t put up massive single season numbers like some of the others mentioned here, he was a model of consistency, averaging better than a point per game over his lengthy career. Incredibly Beliveau’s 10 Stanley Cup rings as a player (the second most ever) were just the beginning. He went on to earn 7 more rings as an executive with the club and his 17 total Stanley Cup rings are more than anyone else in the history of the sport.
5 – Maurice “The Rocket” Richard
Arguably the sport of hockey’s greatest legend Maurice Richard was also arguably its greatest goal scorer. Not a pure sniper like Bossy or Hull, or a human highlight reel like Ovechkin or Bure, Richard just had a desire to get to the net with the puck unmatched by anybody before or since. In the 1944-45 season he became the first player to score 50 goals in a single season, accomplishing the feat in just 50 games, a record that would go unmatched for 36 years. He would go on to score 544 goals in his Hall of Fame career, winning 9 Stanley Cups along the way, and though he only won 1 Hart Trophy and never led the league in scoring you’d have a hard time finding anyone who doesn’t have this guy as one of the top 5 greatest NHL players ever.
4 – Mario Lemieux
In terms of pure talent with the puck this “magnificent” player is the greatest ever in my opinion. With tremendous grace belying his hulking size Mario routinely made seasoned NHL defenders look like Pee Wee players as they tried helplessly to stop him. When Wayne Gretzky started putting up such huge numbers in the 80s it seemed impossible that any of the records he was setting would ever be broken. People started to imagine otherwise when Mario hit his prime. Unfortunately health problems interfered and Mario’s true potential was never reached. However, in the 915 career regular season games he did play Mario had a staggering 690 goals and 1,723 points. He grabbed 6 Art Ross Trophies, 3 Hart Trophies, 2 Conn Smythes, a Calder, 2 Stanley Cups and an Olympic gold medal, and had he enjoyed a healthy 20 year career there is a good chance that at least some of Wayne Gretzky’s scoring records would belong to Mario.
3 – Gordie Howe
If you’ve got the nickname Mr. Hockey there is little doubt that you are one of the best hockey players ever. Gordie Howe was a dominant force, both physically and on the score sheet, in the NHL for decades. He played his first NHL game way back in 1946 and his last in 1980, consistently piling up points and penalty minutes along the way. Amazingly Howe only cracked the 100 point plateau once in his incredible career. Even more amazingly he did it at the age of 40! At the time of his retirement in 1980 he led in all major offensive statistical categories with 801 goals, 1,049 assists and 1,850 points. He won 6 scoring titles and was voted NHL MVP on 6 separate occasions, and helped the Wings win 4 Stanley Cups during their dominance in the early 50s.
2 – Bobby Orr
This one was closer than most people might have it. Bobby Orr was, in my opinion, the most dominant player in the game in any era, and if he, like Lemieux, had had the luxury of a long, healthy career I have no doubt he would be at the pinnacle of this list. Orr simply played the game at a different speed. He owned the puck, he owned the ice, and when he was on his game he was closer to unstoppable than any other player ever. He racked up 8 straight Norris Trophies, 3 Harts, 2 Conn Smythes and a Calder. However, most amazing was his 2 Art Ross Trophies. That’s right, he led the league in scoring twice, as a defenseman! He holds the single season record for points by a defenseman with 139, the 2nd highest total for goals with 46 and racked up 915 points in just 657 career games. It truly boggles the mind to wonder what this guy could have done in his NHL career with 2 healthy knees.
1 – Wayne Gretzky
With the incredible number of NHL records he holds it is very difficult for anyone to argue against Wayne Gretzky as the greatest NHL hockey player of all time. He not only holds the records in all major statistical scoring categories, he is a country mile ahead of his competitors! His 2,857 career points put him almost 1,000 points ahead of his next closest competitor. Considering that competitor (Mark Messier) played in the same era and on the same great team for the bulk of his career it is just mind-boggling that Gretzky was able to distance himself by such a margin. He owned the NHL in the 80s, winning the Hart and Art Ross year after year. He led the Oilers to 4 Stanley Cups, setting numerous playoff scoring records along the way. He is the undisputed greatest playmaker in NHL history and his 1,963 career assists are more than 700 ahead of Ron Francis who sits in 2nd place. There is so much more I could say, but I think you get the drift. Wayne Gretzky’s holds a deserving spot at number 1 on the list of the greatest NHL hockey players of all time, and I can promise you won’t see him dethroned any time soon.
Having Yzerman that low on the list is ridiculous. He deserves top 10 recognition.
Not having Howe at #2 is just as bad, and Stevie Y is a top 10.
Is this a joke. Lemuix at 4. Jagr at 21. Lemuix is at least 2. His point per game numbers match Gretzkys. This is while playing with cancer and back pain. Also while playing with less talented linemates. Jagr I’m not even going to get started. I’m also not going to get started with Steve Y.
not really “at least” considering Gretzky is obviously the best no contest
he never threw a check in his life–the old 6 team league would have killed him.
gretsky the best ? not even close ! to add to joe comment : His point per game numbers match Gretzkys. This is while playing with cancer and back pain. Also while playing with less talented linemates. you have to had that gretzky played against really poor goaltenders in the west and really poor defensive team . on the oppositive, lemieux played on a regular based against probably the 3 greatest goaltenders of all time : roy, brodeur and hasek . give me the point average a game of gretzky against the eastern teams for his career against western ones . probably he has 1.5 ppg
absolutly right joe !
Not having mark Howe on the list at all is equally ridiculous!
Fascinated to reas this list
Swedish guy, proud to have Nicklas Lidstrom at 12.
But really I would like to have Borje Salming om this list. A tough and loyal player to the maple leafs for 17 seasons
And above all he was the first european to make it in NHL and paved the way for others
Mats Sundin is also a name Worth mentioning. As good and as loyal to the same team
I agree that Yzerman should be top 10 but can’t argue with top 4.
You’s are obviously low on your true knowledge of the game of hockey! Yzerman was playing at the same time as Gretzky and Lemieux……then there’s Messier! Yzerman was a cut, 2x from Team Canada! Because he could not exceed the 3 I mentioned! As for comparing to the others in the top ten! Do your Homework, prior to any comment! Wake up! The Lack Of Hockey knowledge is rather evident!
Even worse is Gordie Howe # 3, he is # 1.
whoever picked this list haven’t got a clue le fluer #11 he should be behind Mario @# 5 yes ahead of the rocket
Orr was a lot betterthen Gretzky,big difference between most points vs all round player.
it’s starts at the bottom, then makes it’s way up from there.
Why isn’t Ovi on it he has to be top ten
A well thought out list. Mikita may have been born in Czechoslovakia but he learned his hockey in Canada as a child. I think Mr. Salming was the first top quality European to grace the NHL ice. I’d elevate Yzerman a few spots as well but it just opinion. Good job.
Lemieux is def number 2….this list is a joke for thinking less than that.
I’m more to spectacular hockey plays than stats or wins. I followed Hockey in the 90s where Mario was spectacular with Dekes against defenders and Goalies. He was definitely my no.1 NHL player.
But after watching plenty of archive videos of 80s Oilers Fire Wagon Hockey and Bobby Orr in the early 70s, the writer got it right for 1 & 2, and Mario to me is number 3 now.
Now i understand why Gretzky was called the Great One, not because of his Records stats, its just by watching him played! His skating was so smooth and fluid. His Puck Control was the best i have ever seen, his passing and shot was so accurate and he surprised me mainly his position on the ice that he knows where to be at the right time at the right place.
Bobby Orr – is even more spectacular! He skating is full of speed that nobody can ever catch him! His open ice artistry is 2nd best to Gretzkys. Plus this guy is so Brave. His 2nd best player for me and the best 2 way player ever!
I don’t mean to be disrespectful but you cannot seriously compare Gretzky’s “open ice artistry” with Bobby Orr. Gretzky got most of his points while standing BEHIND the net. He was NOT a great skater. Bobby Orr would skate RINGS around Wayne Gretzky. Orr was the best hockey player and the best athlete in ANY sport that I have ever seen.
Bobby Orr was great, but he doesn’t even come close to Gretzky in a scoring facet. He scored over 100 pts 5 times, Gretzy scored over 200 pts 4 times and had 196 in another season. 4 cups to 2. The argument is silly.
However, Gretzky was scoring all these points AFTER expansion greatly diluted the league, especially in the goaltending department. Orr came thru the ranks before expansion and honed his skills against the very cream of the crop. He broke scoring records while there were still less than 10 teams in the league. If his knees held up I have no doubt he would have surpassed the 200 point level playing in the 80’s.
Orr is simply the greatest hockey player ever. No one could dominate a game as he did during his shortened career. In fact he dominated his sport while he was playing better than any professional athlete ever!
Bobby Orr was a defenceman! Appearances some of these people didn’t know that. The guy changed the game forever. I have a little more respect for Gretzky now but hated watching him play. He played on 1 end of the rink. Yzerman was by far the best “complete” player of that Era possibly all time.List needs work. But somewhat accurate
There are no goalies on this list.
Very good point Terry Sawchuk comes to mind
What about Martin Brodeur?
As a Wings fan, I’d put Yzerman a little higher, but I appreciate the love for Nick Lidstrom. He’s still underrated if that’s possible in most circles though I think you place him well (just a shade above Bourque).
And I think Lemieux was the most talented player ever… but 4 on this list is completely appropriate.
i wouldn’t say the mmost tallented but probably top 3 most tallented… and i’m a habs fan
@John – I stated at the beginning of the article that there would be no goalies on the list. The goalies have their own list. You can see it at:
Best NHL Goalies of All Time
Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Ken Dryden etc as goalkeepers never get the respect they deserve. However a lot of these choices and rankings I agree with to a certain point. Gretzky yes had amazing career but the obvious fact is, without protection he wouldnt have lasted 5 seasons. Orr was targeted every game until NHL realised that STARS were the reason why a lot people came to the games. Orr in my opinion is #1, Gretzky #2, Lemieux #3, Howe #4. Good list never the less.
I guess you’ve never heard of Bob Gainey. You know, the guy they pretty well invented the Selke trophy for? He only won it the first four years it was awarded. 5 stanley cups, captain of the Habs all through the 80’s, first ballot hall of famer.
Pavel Bure surely deserves a spot on this list. Very few could raise them out of their seats like he did. Very disappointing that an injury ended his career prematurely, one of the most talented players ever to play the game.
I’m glad to see Brad Park on the list. He was unlucky to have played the same time as Bobby Orr, and then Dennis Potvin came along when Orr retired. Park missed a lot of time with knee injuries to. In the 72-73 season and the 78-79 season he easily could have finished with a point a game if not for knee problems. Brad Park was not only a great stick handler and passer but also a sound defenseman with a noted hip check. His career plus/minus is one of the best all time.
Overall, pretty excellent list.
Teemu Selanne – I think he has 2nd most points among European players now. Rookie goal record. Might be enough to make the top 50.
Chris Pronger – Defensively, I want him over Lidstrom. Obviously Lidstrom is a reason Detroit has been so great over the years, but Lidstrom benefited immensely from Detroit as well. Pronger is the most intimidating player in the NHL during the last 20 years who delivered serious results. Hart and Norris on Blues. Best NHL player since the lockout with 3 Stanley Cup appearances on 3 different teams.
Dionne should probably be higher based on stats alone. His numbers are pretty incredible.
Yzerman should be higher simply for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAOYjVxP2wc
I put Lemieux at 3, maybe 2. His playing through pain is legend. The epitome of a hockey player playing through everything. Having a trainer tie his skates because he was in so much pain. And radiation treatment between games. That’s what makes hockey players better than anyone else
Some interesting stats. If we take the first 12 years of their careers, the most productive years normally, here’s what we get (without the playoffs):
Wayne Gretsky goals/game: 0.784 Points/game: 2.27
Mario Lemieux goals/game: 0.823 Points/game: 2.01
Gordie Howe goals/game: 0.478 Points/game: 1.05
Maurice Richard goals/game: 0.584 Points/game: 0.99
Jean Beliveau goals/game: 0.492 Points/game: 1.15
If we take in account the (possible) difficulty to score because of some other aspects, good goalers, a more defensive approach in a large number of teams, rules, etc.. and take the year 1960 as a reference ( an average of 6 goals/game in the NHL see http://www.dropyourgloves.com/Stat/LeagueGoals.aspx ),
the reasoning would be like this:
If Maurice Richard scored 27 goals in 50 games in 1945-46, they worth 24.21 goals in 50 games of 1960 ( 6.69 goals/game in the 1945-46 NHL season for all teams, so 27 goals times ( 6/6.69)=24.21.
If Gordie Howe scores 29 goals in 64 games in 1952-53, they worth 36.32 goals in 64 games of 1960 ( 4.79 goals/game in he NHL in 1952-53, so 29 goals times (6/4.79)=36.32).
Wayne Gretsky goals/game: 0.619 Points/game: 1.79
Mario Lemieux goals/game: 0.700 Points/game: 1.70
Gordie Howe goals/game: 0.538 Points/game: 1.18
Maurice Richard goals/game: 0.590 Points/game: 1.01
Jean Beliveau goals/game: 0.537 Points/game: 1.24
Good list, and I would keep the top 5 as they are, but I think that if Lemieux had a long healthy career we would be arguing over he and Gretzky for the number one slot. Not even Gretzky was as dominant as lemieux was in his prime when healthy.
If each of them had been healthy, Orr would get the top spot, IMO.
No way should Steve Yzerman be ranked 24th! That is a joke and waaay too low! Are you kidding me? Definitely a top 10 player for sure hands down!He was behind Gretzky and Lemiuex during his career and maybe a couple of others in the history…He at worst should be #10. Lidstrom I agree the best defense man of all time ahead of Orr because hi s career was really short.Mario was the best offensive player of all time hands down. Can you imaging if Mario and Wayne were swapped? We can even imagine what Edmonton would have done with him instead and what kind of point totals he would have had and even with a shortened career yet a full career.
One of the worst lists ever. Forsberg, Sakic, H. Richard,Dionne and Yzerman much too low… Bossy and Bourque too high…Orr and Howe ahead of Lemieux is just crazy. You did manage to get the 1 spot correct. Sorry….way off my friend.
You haven’t watched much hockey I guess. Orr was in his own league as a hockey player. I would rate Lemieux second, Howe 3rd and Gretzky 4th. Orr has the 4th highest points per game average ever – 1.37 … in terms of +- rating – probably the most indicative of a player’s greatness, Orr’s best + of 124 in 70-71 is way ahead of Gretzky’s 98 (in 84-85 on a stacked team – Coffey, Kurri, Messier, Anderson etc.) True,Gretzky was great and he made his teammates better, but Orr was the best IN ANY SPORT that I have ever seen in the last 55 years. By the way Mike Bossy is third all time on the points per game list and the best sniper ever, so maybe he wasn’t placed too high after all.
I agree with a lot of these except Yzerman should be ranked higher at least top 15 and also Bob Gainey was one of the greats and should be in there.
agree with what “Allan” said, especially Peter Forsberg, he is one of the greatest hockey players of all time and he deserves a spot on the top15.
I think the list is good…as for Yzerman, I think he is where he should be, they have Sakic at 31 and I feel that he was a better hockey player. As for the guy who said Pronger over Nicky Lid, no way you would ever pick that, I am not a Wings fan but know that Lidstrom is the man to have if you are going to pick one of two all time D-men…Mario should be 2, it has always been a debate on Mario vs. Gretzky (even though the great one is and always will be the best of all time)…there are a lot of great players left off that are more my time period that i feel should be there, i know sergei was good but (modano, roenick, gilmour, sundin, shannahan, robitaille, many others)….oh and besides Gretzky, the most entertaining player i saw play was Forsberg, hands down…
What the hell is Forsberg doing on this list, he coulden’t score. Career best is 30goals in 82 games.. and Teemu Selanne isn’t on this list?
This list is a joke..
No question that both Wayne and Mario were born to score goals but that alone doesn’t not make you the greatest or most complete. Gordie and Bobby were the only players who could dominate the game at both ends and were blessed with the unique skill set to do so. The only difference between Howe and Orr was that Orr was far more dynamic in his style and play. You had to watch Howe over a period of time just to appreciate how much bettor he was than his opposition. Neither Wayne or Mario could compete in all facets of the game the way Orr and Howe did.
You are nuts to rate Gretzky ahead of Orr. Orr was a total complete player. He could skate, score, play defense and hold his own physically. No one, including Gretzky could dominate a game like Bobby Orr could
lmao..did you just say gretzky couldnt dominate the game like orr????? get your head out of your ass….he has almost every record there is too have..that is exactly what domination is..you guys make me laugh
Orr’s PLUS/MINUS Dwarf both Gretzky & Lemiuex. Seen them all- Orr was by far more dominant. Gretzky was awesome but needed GPS to find the defensive end.
You may be able to look up statistics, but you know nothing about hockey! Orr was the best in any sport – period
Obviously, Orr demands respect but to claim that Gretzky could not dominate a game the way Orr could is completely ridiculous. And to say that Mario would have faired much better had he played in Edmonton (swapping him with Gretzky) is suspect as well. Edmonton was a very lack-luster team prior to Gretzky’s arrival. He made everyone he played with far better. No disrespect to guys like Kurri and Messier but the Great one was largely responsible for the great players they became. I think Messier and Kurri would readily admit that.
i agree completely with that statement. gretzky was absolutely the best player of all time.
Everyone knows that Wendel Clark is by far the best man to touch the ice.
I’m shocked Mike Modano wasn’t on this list…arguably the best American born player ever.
Modano holds no candle to any Canadian … it’s our game
where is Brendan Shanahan and Teppo Numminen?
Orr, easily #1. Cam Neely (50 goals in 50 games) doesn’t rate? goalies need to be on this list.
Orr Was the Best player. I could easily make and argument for Lemieux and Howe ahead of Gretsky. To put it simply, Gretsky was not a complete Hockey player. He was without a doubt the greatest point getter. Who played on arguably the greatest hockey team ever assembled. Edmonton went on and won the cup without Gretsky; that is how great that team was. Don’t get me wrong; Orr played for good teams as well but with out him the Bruins probably do not win either of those cups.
Lemieux and Howe were both more complete hockey players than Gretsky. If you want to call Gretsky the Greatest offensive player ever I would agree. But he is not the greatest hockey playrer ever.
Orr led the league in scoring as a defensemen, Played great defense and single handedly controlled the game. He played physical, power play, penalty kill and fought his own battles. Gretsky did none of these. Gretsky rarely if ever saw the defensive end of the rink, never hit anyone.
simply put when asked who was the greatest player of all time, i say put 5 bobby orrs on the ice with 5 of you choise an the answer is unquestionably a slaughter by orr. He did it all.
This guy knows hockey ! Too bad so many ‘fans’ are so impressed with the record book, but really have no clue about greatness in hockey.
Bobby Orr from another planet…greatest player I ever saw. Gretsky in his prime vrs Orr in prime…nod goes to Orr..problem is Orr only played 9 years at peak…Gretsky much more…In fact..if I had to choose between 25 good years for Gordie Howe and 9 for Orr..any sane man would pick Gordie Howe..thats why they called Howe ..Mr Hockey..the man was Mr Hockey,and both Orr and Gretsky would agree…SO..to sum up..a rational man could make an argument for Howe or orr or Gretsky as greatest Hockey player all time…depending on what the criteria is..best all round though and based on longetivity..its Gordie howe.
Even if I wasn’t an av’s fan, I would put Sakic higher on the list. Where is Crosby, Ovechkin, Modano, Lecavelier? Other than those reasons, this was a great list!
Where is Alex Mogilny!? Come on man, he’s definitely in there somewhere!
Peter Forsberg #38??? This is a joke! And I am a Finn,and we do not give swedes credit too easily.He is one of the greatest players all time.
But I realise this is the list of the semi professional hockey players.
The true professionals were in the soviet union,and the creme de la creme
were of course; Fetisov,Kasatonov,Krutov,Larionov And Makarov.
There will NEVER be a hockey team like that,ever!
Sidney Crosby????? I hate to say this but, Alex Ovechkin?
Seriously no cam neely would have been one of the best if not for I injuries
Cannot forget about Pavel Bure. One of the most skilled guys to play the game, certainly one of the fastest. Atleast should be on this list. I would say in the top 30. Sidney and Ovechkin have to play more before they can be considered.
Pavel Bure was the most electrifying, exciting player to ever play in the NHL. I remember many times watching, and always holding my breath, while I leaned forward in my seat at the Pacific Coliseum in sheer anticipation each and every time he touched the puck! All the Eastern Voters on this web site sadly missed all the REAL ACTION in Vancouver in the 90’s. Just Youtube “Pavel Bure – Lightning in a Bottle” and watch it a few times, to really appreciate how incredibly skilled and FAST this player was.
Pavel Bure was also THE FASTEST SKATER in the NHL, ever!!! Thre Skills competition has the players skating loops around the rink, (an endurance test). REAL SPEED is a SPRINT, from one end to the other, and Bure would beat them all!!!!
Gretzky!??! didn’t had points erased bcuz he was french canadian
_WE WANT THE ROCKET!!_
Wayne Gretzky should not be in the top ten. He was a one way player, not physical. He never won a cup without Messier. He was a points machine, that’s it. He played in the best era for scorers with the best offensive team of all time.
I disagree with Steph and I think Gretzky should be in the top ten. He is the best offensive player of all time so in my eyes, that makes him 7th or 8th in the list.
Orr, Lemieux, Howe, Richard, Messier, Bourque, Harvey, Gretzky, Bossy, Beliveau.
come on man, how are you forgetting Ovi?!? Gretzky is definately not the best player in the world, he was a one way player and would not backcheck. in my opinion Bobby is the greatest player of all time. Ovechkin and Crosby will be in the top 5 at least when they retire.
Good job on the list. Orr at the top please. No other defenseman (player?) could come around his own net with the puck, skate around every guy on the ice and with the help of a head fake put the puck in the net. Shame his knees went out too early. I was always more impressed with Lemieux than Gretzky. Wayne was more of a Phil Esposito type player. Slick scorer but not as exciting as some. I also agree there should be a few goalies included.
C’mon ?? Where is Teemu Selänne ? 2nd most goals by European players ever, 3rd most points by European players ever, rookie record for most points (132) and goals (76), 637 career goals and 1340 career points, 3 times best goalscorer in NHL, all time most points in Olympic games (20+17), most goals by European in one season (76 tied with Alexander Moginly), Calder Memorial Trophy 1993, in fist all star team 1993 and 1997 (second all star team 1998 and 1999), Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy 2006, Olympic best goal scorer 1992 (tied with Andrei Homutov and Nikolai Borštševski) and 2006 (tied with Finland teammate Olli Jokinen), Olympic most points 1998 and 2006, Olympic best forward 2006, most goals in a month in NHL (20 in march 1993) and played in the NHL All-Star Game in 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007. Are you kidding me ?? He’s not one of the 50 best hockey players ever ?? Definetly is.
In my opinion Scott Stevens and Ray Bourque should be in higher rank…
But it still is a good countdown.
I saw almost all of them and no one was a great a player as Orr. He is in a class by himself. I have watched sports all my life and saw no one in any sport that played the sport at a level so far above everyone else that it became an art form.
Hockey is my first love but Michael Jordan was the most dominant team sport athlete of all time hands down. I was a Boston fan and loved Orr but Wayne Gretzky was down right amazing. To all that said he was not a complete player…he made up for all defensive deficiencies by the amount of puck control he possessed. Sometimes the best defence is a great offense and he was the Greatest! Good List
My sentiments exactly ! I have seen many great athletes since 1960 – Mohammed Ali was truly special, but watching Bobby Orr is like contemplating the Mona Lisa or Michaelangelo’s sculptures … it transcends sport and raises it to the realm of art … so beautiful that it literally brings tears to my eyes … only Ali comes close.
Did you ever see Jim Brown and what soo many professional football players of his era say about him???
Sorry but (((Ron Francis))) is way to low 4th all time in Points you are telling me that you would take that many players in a all time draft over the 4th all time points
4x 50+ goals & 6x 100+ Points
Plus 18th overall in points in history
He is places to low on this list
Come on think about it!
Everyone has a gripe or two about who should be ranked where, who got left off etc…but I think it’s a decent list. One guy who I feel deserves to be on the list is Johnny Bucyk. He played for 23 years had over 500 goals, over 800 assists, was a devastating hip checker (without being a cheap shot artist), won 2 Stanley Cups, was the all time leading scorer as a left winger before Luc Robitaille passed him, first ballot Hall of Famer…I mean the guy was just a great,great player.
One person made this comment:
“The true professionals were in the soviet union,and the creme de la creme
were of course; Fetisov,Kasatonov,Krutov,Larionov And Makarov.
There will NEVER be a hockey team like that,ever!”
It is hard enough to make a list of top hockey players and I’m not sure how you would rate the players in the former Soviet Union; however I’m sure that there were more then enough talented individuals there that should be on any top 50 or 100 best hockey players ever list.
not an easy task, eh? i agree with some that Teemu is a rather loud omission. on the other hand, it’s kind of a tough list to crack. myself: wouldn’t have trottier so high. wouldn’t have chelios on the list. i would have hull after the rocket and ahead of beliveau. i would exclude messier from the top 10. the flower is a little too high. not sure about yer final 4: Fedorov, Geoffrion, Francis, Park. they don’t pass the smell test, for me. what about Fetisov, Selanne, Lucky Luc, Hawerchuck? anyways, i think after the top 30 or 40 you have a lot of guys that could be mentioned in the same breath…
Bossey over Lafleur? Not a chance.
Great list! A lot of effort went into this i can tell… but no one including the comment list is mentioning Modano?? I could not stand that guy but please…
All of you that don’t think Gretzky is #1 have your head shaken!! Lemieux was great, and with a longer career who knows what he could have accomplished. This is a good list except for “Stevie Y” He needs a little more respect than 24th
Bobby Orr was the greatest hockey player of all time. He controlled that game like no other and seemed at times to be able to score at will. And he was a defenceman. Gretzky was the greatest goal scorer of all time. But offence was his only fortier. Orr was tremendous at both offence and defence. Perhaps the person who compiled this rating was too young to see Bobby Orr in action. I bet that if Orr’s career was more recent than Gretzkys more people would recognize Bobby Orr as being the best ever.
Great list, Boss! Lotta time went into it and some excellent research. It’s easy to dismiss the old timeres, but they were a talented bunch (I once saw the Richards play when I was really young — WOW!)There’ll always be disagreements, but it’s a job well done!
My two cents: I both played and watched the game from the late 60’s to now. My brother skated against Orr in exhibition play, and I took the ice with several NHL and AHL players during the off season in the 80’s. From my perspective, Gretzky is the greatest OFFENSIVE player (so far) but Orr was the greatest PLAYER ever. Interestingly, EVERY PROFESSIONAL player I ever skated with said Orr hands down. Goals attract fans, understandably enough; Orr attracted players.
No robitaille, selanne, Crosby, ovechkin, lafontaine, modano, etc? Man it bugs me when people aren’t willing to admit that some new era players are better than the classic guys. With the exception of a few players namely Bobby Orr, modern era or even 80s and 90s players play at an immensely higher level. Also Gretzky is not the best player ever, it’s definitely an argument between Orr and lemieux. And man people stop bashing mike bossy. Dude was just that, a boss. Absolutely dominated the scoresheet for 10 straight years. Complain that he was a pure sniper whine whine but it’s alot easier to win games when you’ve got a near goal a game player on your team as evidenced by 4 consecutive stanley cups. lidstrom ahead of yzerman and Sakic as well as other modern day players is also pretty ridiculous
No Teemu Selanne come on list is off
Theoren Fleury ???? Where the heck is Theoren Fleury ??? Best (and toughest) little guy to ever lace them up.
Good list buddy – can definitely tell a lot of work went into it.
Personally, I would have moved Super Mario at #2 on the list. It would be extremely close between Mario and Wayne, but because of his shortened career, I would have to put him at #2. I would add Selanne to the list and remove Dit Clapper. Would also have to take Chelios off the list as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chelios, but playing for a long time doesn’t make you a great player. Brett would have to be moved up a little higher and Lidstrom lower. Overall though, a great list.
And yes, I’m sure Crosby and maybe even Ovechkin will be on these lists in the future, but they have to prove it a little more before they can be talked about in a discussion of the greatest players ever.
Why is Ron Francis rated so low? You’d think 2nd all time in assists, 4th all time and points and 3rd all time in games played would be ranked a bit higher. Also, where is Mike Gartner? 708 career goals and 17 seasons of 30+ doesn’t warrant a top 50 ranking? What a joke.
you forgot wendall clark
5 clarks vs…..5 orr’s or even 5 gretzkys
5 CLARKS WILL WIN EVER TIME
Peter Forsberg is one the best players ever.
1,25 points/game, number 8 in the NHL-history
Number 4 assists/game in the NHL-history
Most talent player ever.
Lol. Mario Lemieux is the most talented player to ever lace up. Ask dudes he played with or against. Even guys playing now say it. No question. End of discussion. YouTube a Mario Lemieux highlight tape and no one compares.
Apparently whoever made this list forgot the most important position on the ice. Goalie. Roy? Sawchuck? Fuhr? Brodeur? This lists credibility is zero because of that neglect.
Hi Luke. You might actually want to read the article before you attack the credibility of it. I clearly stated in the intro that there would be no goalies on this list. I’ve made a separate list for the goalies – Top 20 NHL Goalies of All Time
I wouldn’t question most of the names on the list, there are only a few that aren’t there that could be argued for. What I would argue about is the order of some players. Specifically, Ray Bourque and Bobby Orr, and Bryan Trottier and Guy Lafleur.
Orr may have been spectacular and won more Norris trophies than anyone, but Bourque’s high level of consistency over 20+ years is unmatched. There’s also the fact that Orr was as much a defensive liability as Paul Coffey was. Bourque was always reliable, always in position, and brought toughness without thuggery that neither Orr nor Coffey possessed. And there’s this too:
“[Y]ou can believe Ray Bourque or someone else [Boston Bruin players] would have punched the guy.”
– sportswriter Lisa Olson, 1990, speaking about being sexually assaulted in the New England Patriots’ locker room
Bryan Trottier accomplished more and was far more important to his teams than Lafleur, especially later in his career with Pittsburgh when did the same as Yzerman, switching from scorer to defensive forward. Lafleur was flashy, but Trottier was the all-round package of scorer, defender and leader. Mark Messier only became the greatest all-rounder after Trottier held that title. Lafleur lacked their drive and intangibles.
I also question the absence of Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy, though I’m glad to see Ken Dryden is NOT there.
I don’t care what the record books say or what the “official” definition is (playing every game of season), Martin Brodeur *IS* the NHL’s Iron Man goaltender, replacing Glenn Hall. He played 70 or more games for ten seasons, and twelve seasons of at least 67 games. And when you add in Brodeur’s win totals and average wins per season, his Stanley Cup wins and appearances, his innovation, there just isn’t anyone who compares. He has surpassed all of the other greats both statistically and in accomplishments: Roy, Tretiak, Fuhr, Smith, Plante, Hall, Sawchuk, Esposito, Joseph, Belfour, Cheever, etc. There’s nobody else.
Patrick Roy was far superior to Ken Dryden because Roy did what Dryden wouldn’t have been able to do. Dryden only won so often and so many cups because the teams in front of him were filled with all stars and HOFers. Roy carried Montreal on his back for his entire time there. Dryden had Savard, Dupont, Robinson, Gainey, Lafluer, and many other all stars. Who did Roy have? Guy Carbonneau, Larry Robinson and Peter Svoboda. The only number Roy trailed Dryden in was Stanley Cups. Roy was far more valuable to his teams than Dryden ever was; on those Montreal teams of the 1970s, even Michel Laroque or Red Light Racicot would have looked good. And that’s BEFORE taking into account Roy’s numbers in Colorado.
How can you say Orr was not tough? I saw him play and he could dish it out as well as take it; he deserves his spot as # 2 on this list and was without a doubt the greatest defensive player ever. He could skate circles around everybody on the ice in his prime. He was probably the greatest penalty killer ever just by possessing the puck. Show me any defensiveman that could lead the league in scoring just once? It’ll never happen again. Orr was a forward in a defenseman’s body.
Okay, I missed the separate goaltenders list. I was more interested in the who’s who than your preamble.
Someone else mentioned it but i think that the biggest omission in this list is Mike Gartner but that doesnt come as a surprise as he is probably one if not the most underated player in history. 708 goals ! (6th all time)and 15 30+ goals seasons and he doesnt make the top 50 !? For those that dont understand why Forsberg is on the list consider this : Foppa was the immovable object, one of the toughest players to take the puck away from, one of the greatest passers of all time, one of only 3 players to win the stanley cup, olympics & world championship twice. He also never had a negative +/- season and finished his career with a +238 !
I would love to see these players in nhl13 video game I am 50 years old and I saw most of these guys played.I always thougt Mark Messier was the best .Everyone remembers him with the Rangers but if you go back and watch him in the Oilers days he was awesome.Offense and defensivly
Are you guys on drugs?????? Bobby Clarke ahead of STEVE YZERMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Nicklas ahead of PHIL EPOSISTO!!
Yes, three time Hart Trophy winner Bobby Clarke ahead of Yzerman, and eight time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom ahead of Esposito. Shocking, I know.
In the end, it is a subjective list (though one composed drug-free). It’s simply my opinion. Yours obviously differs.
Bobby Orr, #1. The complete hockey player. Whoever said he was a defensive liablity is on crack. #2, take your pick, Gretzky or Lemieux. What’s all this mention about Wendel Clark? Are you guys kidding me?
Gordie Howe is the greatest hockey player to ever play the game. He played for more than twenty seasons and for twenty seasons was in the top five in scoring. No player has ever done and ever will. He also has a speacial way of play named after him called the gordie howe hatrick: goal, assist, and fight. I think if you can do all three of those in a game you’re a very complete player. Orr is good but his career was short ,so I don’t think he can get the best player all time. He was a dominant force but Rocket Richard also was a dominant force to no one argues him for the best ever. Gretzky only played one way and was very good at it but the best player all time should be good at both offence and defence and can do it for a long time. No one can do it better than Mr Hockey. What is Yzerman being 24 he also I think should be higher also great two way player better than Lemieux in my opinion.
Pavel datsyuk ???????? had one of the best seasons ever for an all around player
2006-2007 RED WINGS 79 27 60 87 36
2007-2008 RED WINGS 82 31 66 97 41
2008-2009 RED WINGS 81 32 65 97 34 +- common
just a few of his amazing seasons
To everyone saying Gretzky is a defensive liability is stupid. I mean why play defence if your too busy scoring goals?
Oh and some stats for you
1981-82/ +81 6 SHG
1982-83/ +60 6 SHG
1983-84/ +76 12 SHG
1984-85/ +98 11 SHG
Doesnt seem to much of a defensive liability to me.
i like the list alot,but seeing almost all of these players , i would have to say bobby orr was the greatest.no one could touch him in his heyday.i will never forget the 1st time i saw him play.a once in a lifetime player
If people would read the stipulations at the top, most of their problems with the list would be solved. I’m a young guy, but I still agree that players like Crosby or Ovi shouldnt even be considered simply because they could go downhill at any time.
But I do question why Modano wasn’t on the list at all, much less in the top 15 somehow. Oh well. Good list, well researched.
I saw both Gretzky and Orr play and I would take Orr before Gretzky any time. As great as Wayne was, Bobby was a more complete player. He could do it all, score, play defense, pass, fight if needed, tremendous skater. In my opinion, Bobby Orr was the greatest player I ever saw, no one comes even close.
Why do people always place Gretzky ahead of Lemieux?? Mario’s offensive stats per game were better, and he could also hit you! He was a physical presence who had better skills than Gretzky. But since he was injured a lot and played in less games, people just go by the totals. Ridiculous.
Anyone who was alive to watch Orr knows that it isn’t about statistics .. everytime he was on the ice the game changed. I grew up in Toronto and loved (still do) my Leafs. But when I watched Orr on TV I was mesmerized. No other player ever came close .. not Gretzky or Mario. The list is a good one .. would have included goalies. And yeah, the Habs a lot of great ones .. but what about Dougie Gilmour, Wendel Clark, Darryl Sittler .. oh yeah, right, they played for the Leafs!!
Hellooo!!!… where is Chris Nilan on this list???
I would put Orr at the top of this list because his play transformed the game. I always wondered what he could have accomplished as a forward and if he had been able to play a full career.
Howe was the most complete player to ever play the game,and do have done so at an above average contribution over the longest span of time
I’m not sure Mario wasn’t the most gifted to play the game. His skill level for a big man defined that role for all who followed
Gretsky would place first on a majority of lists, however rarely do we place his accomplishments in context. Anyone who watched him during his career will be able to attest to the special condition in which he played.
The NHL had spent the past 10 years battling in the PR campaign leading up to,the formation of, and the demise of the WHA. At the end of this battle was the young Gretsky. Not only was he the franchise player, he was the face of the new NHL,…and to that end he became the untouchable,…the overly protected that would give new meaning to the role of enforcer. The league needed offence to make fans forget about the WHA and to serve notice to any more would be pretenders that the NHL was the only major league in the world, period…
The second factor in terms of context was the cast that came together in Edmonton during the second year, Kurri, Messier, Anderson,and Coffey…3 along with Gretsky we’re 20 years old (Coffey was 19), an extremly rare combination of present and future talent all in one team. They would gel, grow and feed off each others talent to produce an almost unbeatable combination.
With absolute protection and an unwillingness of the other teams to interfer,…Gretsky was allowed to display his talent unmolested night after night. If you watch the footage from that time,…you could almost see the reluctance of others to force the issue. Granted you can’t hit what you can’t catch,…and with the talent he had himself and that of his team mates to relieve the pressure,…it was a receipe for greatness. Combined with his inate mastery of time and space on the ice,…well,…the stage was set, and the rest is history!
I would contend that if he had played in anything less than the condition that existed,…his accomplishments although still superior to anyone elses at the time would have been less than otherwise. This is not a knock on the ‘Great One,…he is still among the top 4 of all time,…just not an automatic #1 that most would pick based on the over whelming counting stats.
Excellent insight Brian.
Only if the ‘longevity parameter’ were included would I have Mr Hockey as #1. That notwithstanding, Orr is Orr …. and no one comes close ; and I say this as a longtime Ranger fan who concurs what Rod Gilbert said after the 1972 Cup Finals regarding the first player I would have on my team.
As an aside ,did you know when Brad Park came in to the league the Boston Bruins had the first pick in the draft. Could you Imagine what the Bruins would have been with Orr and Park on the points?!
not having Eric Lindros on this list is un-F*cking believable. You must be high.
I’m old enough to have seen Orr in his prime. The greatest. Trust me.
People who say Gretz wasn’t the best astound me…4 count em 4 200 and over Seasons…out of the game for since 99..still holds about 60 records…no he couldn’t fight but he didn’t set out to be a boxer plus he was small…He was a phenom filling Arenas and nets at will…most of the players on the list would concur that he was the best ever especially with his second sight on the ice…give it up..Gretzky is not only the best Hockey player ever but arguably the greatest athlete of all time setting some records that will last forever…no other player of any sport has dominated his chosen sport like him and noone likely ever will…Checkmate
The list seems to be very well researched. It seems to include most of the all time greats. I might quibble about a few rankings, but I believe you did a good job overall. While Gretzky has the records, and appears first on many lists, I believe Orr was the best I have ever seen. Moreover, I speculate that his contemporaries share that view. He seemed to dominate the game, in all respects, like no other.
Mario is the best player of all-time. He was scoring more points than Gretzky in his early 20’s compared to the Great One’s late 20’s at a time when the NHL was finally bring over the best players from Europe.
Mike Bossy ranked ahead of Guy Lafluer??
Gretzky is 1 all time. Orr was greatest defense man of all time. gretz 50 goals is 39 games will never be broken trust me. 92 goals in one season. 4 200 + points in one season and the list goes on and on. 61 records in total. and yes I watched both!
I think you should have a category for the greatest schizophrenics of all time. Gordie Howe would top that list. He is without a doubt one of the greatest gentlemen — off the ice. On the ice he was the the greatest criminal to ever play the game. Number two would be Phil Esposito, one of the most hilarious — off the ice, but a thug on the ice. Billy Smith would be number three, a very intelligent man, but a total monster in front of the net. Jean Beliveau is number four — a true diplomat and by far the greatest ambassador for the sport, but a master of the stiletto on the ice. Number five? that’s tough, but I’d go with Rocket Richard, a magnificent, inspirational leader, but the most frightening when in motion on the ice.
Are you kidding me the Finish Flash is not top 50…I know you did this four years ago but Teemu is easily top 20…Next to Wayne best guy on the power play in the history of the game, by the stats and a fact…
one name…ORR enough said
If you read this list he based it on the fact that no one with less than 10 yrs of play would make it. So why wonder why they didnt make the list?
I still shake my head at these guys who believe that orr or mario were better than gretzky. His records speak for themselves, they wont be broken and it doesnt matter about the all around game cause orr and mario had parts of their game that werent exceptional as well. Only one player had 200 points in a season and points are what wins hockey games, and he did it 4 times. If mario was better he would have put up more points in a season when completely healthy. Great list though, dont agree with yzerman, needs to be higher!
Having seen Howe, Orr and Gretzky play in their primes I would put them in that order. Howe was the best all around hockey player that ever played. He could not only score goals but he was his own reinforcer and set the pace of the game when he was on the ice. Not many players dared to take on Howe and all but a few gave him plenty of space when it came to the rough stuff. Sorry but I think Gretzky was highly over rated just because he could score goals. In my opinion that does not make him the greatest all round player. Having said that he certainly deserves a spot in the top 3 right behind Howe and Orr.
The great one was not just a goal scorer he had more assists than any player has points!!!! He made decent players great!!!!
This listing is interesting. No listing is perfect and it is impossible that everybody agree on such a list ! But I perfectly agree with the top 5 : Gtretzky-Orr-Howe-Lemieux-Richard. What is amazing is that we can choose any order in it and any of them could be number one in his own way. I think there are ways to improve this listing in including the goaltenders and some ex soviet hockey players like Vladislav Tretiak and Valeri Kharlamov. There is also a big mistake on my point of view. Phil Esposito must be ahead of Mikita and Trottier and even Messier. Phil Esposito is the great leader of the summit series. Only for that reason he deserves to be in the top 10 of all time. By the way he did it without Bobby Orr in the team. The summit series is the most important sport event in history of mankind. Team Canada 72 was named the greatest hockey team of all Canada. Phil Esposito deserves to be the number 4 center in all hockey history after Gretzky, Béliveau and Lemieux.
Gordie Howe should be no.1 on the list with no argument, Wayne Gretsky only had more goals because he played in the NHL system that had 82 game seasons Gordie Howe did not play most of his career in an 82 game system. Gordie Howe also gave punishment and took punishment on the ice, Wayne couldn’t take that kinda of punishment plus being protected at all times on the ice “I” would be scoring a helluva lotta goals too. Wayne may be considered “The Great One” but the only falls 2nd to Gordie Howe “Mr.Hockey” and they don’t call him that for nothing.
No selanne throw this list away
Obviously Bias list, how can you have Those 3 above Lemieux? And everything else is wrong, this author is an
Sorry buddy but your out of your cotton picking mind Bobby Orr is the BEST there ever was hands down.
No mention of Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, nor Martin Brodeur, men that brought Championships and Lord Stanley’s Cup to the “Mickey Mouse” Club NJ Devils. Who absolutely owned the ice they skated. This list is an abomination.
Joe Sakic is better than half the guys on this list plus where the heck Dave Keon the best leaf out there. Last comment you missed Bobby Clarke.
Clarke’s on there. #22
Orr #1 Howe # 2 Gretzky #3
Gretzky was a never-to-be equalled scoring machine but he was so soft when the other team had the puck that it was almost like they had a power-play. Plus he was the first league protected superstar. (I think you could get game misconduct for frightening him).
Saw Pat Quinn knock Bobby Orr cold w a vicious elbow to the face. Pat got 2 minutes. If someone had done the same to #99 it would have been a lifetime ban.
Orr and Howe didn’t need a goon squad to protect them. When trouble broke out they WERE the goon squad and if you were in a tussle w either of them you knew that you would soon be blocking punches w your face. – there’s a great Youtube vid of Orr hosting some really cheesy CBC 1970’s TV show where he interviews Bobby Hull poolside – check out the pre-steroid guns on these guys and tell me how many times you’d like to get pounded in the face by them.
Let’s do the 5 on 5 thing:
5 Orrs v 5 Gretzkys — the Orrs win decisively. Except if it’s a non-check league, then it’s closer but the Orrs still win.
5 Howes v 5 Gretzkys — The Howes win by forfeit after 3 of the Gretzkys get carted off in ambulances. And if it’s a non-check league – same result cuz the Howes don’t care about the check rules and beat the crap out of the Gretzkys anyhow
5 Orrs v 5 Howes – it’s tied 3-3 in sudden death and it’s the greatest hockey game the world has ever seen
Right on ! I got Gordie’s autograph in 1961 … but I don’t think he could skate with Bobby … Gretzky – please !
It’s a team game, Rod.
Nobody used his teammates the way Gretzky did. If you would like to actually research your claims, I recommend the book “Facing Wayne Gretzky” by Brian Kennedy. In this volume you can see for yourself former players saying that Gretzky is a different type of player than Orr.
Individually, yes, Orr was more effective and five Orrs would beat 5 Gretzkys. But, put Orr with four untalented nobodies and put them against a team of Gretzky and four nobodies, Gretzky’s team would win. Gretzky’s biggest talent was using the players around him and making each player a scoring threat every time he was on the ice. At the team game, no one will ever match the Great One’s prowess and skill. There’s a reason why Gretzky would still lead the league in all-time points if his goal total was zero.
I respect your opinion, Rod. I just wholeheartedly disagree.
You are correct that it is a team game. Gretzky had great players around him, and that is why he had so many points. Gretzky certainly made others around him better, but so didn’t a lot of other great players. Bottom line, Gretzky was not very good at defense or anything physical about the game. Not the best all around.
Gretzky no#1 lemiuex no#2 and every one else should not even be on the list were these 2 players are mentioned the next number should start at 100. GREAT ONE AND MAGNEFICENT ONE = 1-2
Poor guy – he obviously has never seen Bobby Orr play.
only 1 player came close Mario
it is a matter of time era WHO is the best of there time
comparing is impossible what of European players
soviets others I am a wayne fan only 1 player could
maybe had a shot Mario I was young when gordie played
at the time rocket was best orr had fans right don cherry
same as tiger vs jack we will never know tiger is guilty
of his own chosen destiny I guest in my time wayne Mario
orr Crosby does not come close to these but ask Crosby fans
let us leave for now who can star in this era maybe connor
macdavid I live in Edmonton we had wayne now macdavid
we are truly blessed after a long drought let us be greatful
and enjoy a new era
Awesome list, thank you ! #4 will be forever the greatest among real hockey players that know the game. TV loved #99, created revenues, excitement. If you ever played the game you would want #4, he made the check, dug out the puck, started the play, made the pass, often scored the goal, o yea then he got back and did it again and again and again.
The order may be in question but most of the names belong on the list. I have to agree: no goalies? Brodeur, Roy to name a few? This is a personal preference but #1 will always be #4 Robert Gordon Orr. How many minutes did Gretzky wander into the defensive zone?
Marcel Dionne has to be in the top 10. He finished his career 2nd in points behind only Gordie Howe. 5 consecutive 50-goal seasons and 10, 40-goal seasons, 8 100-point seasons, almost 1,800 points while playing with a bunch of nobodies in LA. Probably the most underrated player in hockey history.
Lafleur should be in top ten. Henri Richard is too high. All this whining about Yzerman being in top ten is ridiculous. Gretzky better than Orr? Orr wasn’t even human–he may have grown up in Parry Sound, but he was born on Krypton, believe me, I saw him play.
Larry Robinson should be higher–he has the highest plus/minus since they released that stat in the 70’s. And Dave Keon should be 49th or 50th–I mean he outplayed Beliveau and Mikita and Esposito and they’re in there.
Oh yeah, and JC Tremblay should be in the Hall of Fame.
I often ask my friends if they had the number one pick for a dream team, who would that be. The answers I usually get are the first 3 or 4 on this list. My answer is Vladislav Tretiak. This goalie was facing the best snipers from the NHL shooting 50 to 60 times at him with the games ending with no score or one goal.
tretiak? Hilarious! what games did he face 50 or 60 shots? Never happened. You don’t have a clue about what you’re saying
Never mind the numbers – that’s why Gretzky gets the votes – no disrespect to Wayne but he couldn’t carry Bobby Orr’s skates. Anyone who has actually seen them both play the game and doesn’t agree that Orr is the greatest is beyond my comprehension. Gretzky was coddled and protected his whole career – Orr was targeted and attacked every game – when anyone could get near him. Would anyone disagree that skating is the most important fundamental of hockey? Have you ever seen Bobby Orr skate? He could skate rings around Gretzky. I have seen them all since 1960 – Jimmy Brown, Bill Russell, Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan, Roger Federer and Mohammed Ali. Bobby Orr is the greatest athlete in ANY sport. Ali was a thing of beauty to watch, but Bobby was the best I ever saw.
oh i guess you think goalies aint hockey players, wayne gretsky is the best ive ever seen and ive seen richard ,howe,orr,lafluer, and lemieux
This is the closest to my opinion of any list, scary how close this is to my opinion of the top 10. The only thing is I would take Messier out of the top ten and replace with Denis Potvin.
The top three are correct but in the wrong order. Mr Hockey has to be number one. Second is a toss up between the other two!
did they forget Teamu Selanne?
Bobby Hull was definitely in the top 5 NHL players of all time.
I like this list, but I don’t think I saw Teemu Selanne’s name. I would put him around #40, but he belongs there; he was probably the best Finnish player to compete save Jari Kurri. Another recommendation would be Howie Morenz, who was known for his speed and extraordinary skill and was the Gretzky of his era. Finally, I would suggest Frank McGee, who scored 14 goals in a Stanley Cup Final. The trouble with making these lists is that the game has so many excellent players throughout its history. Also, the different eras are a huge factor, so I applaud that you took the time and researched before making the list. I thought, for the most part, it was really well thought out.
bobby orr is on wrong list,should not be on it,hes in a different league….hes #1 all by him self….
There is obviously can be only an argument over the top 4. In my mind the order is 1. Gretzky 2. Lemieux 3. Bobby Orr and 4. Gordie Howe -God rest his soul.
Because he past away he got moved up a little too high. But all the other players like Teemu Sleeanne or Luc R, etc cant be mentioned in the same breath as Gretzky, Lemieux, and Bobby Orr. Bobby Orr was a defensemen and that is amazing for him to be up there so high. I still believe he his 3rd. Gretzky played in a time where he never, ever had to worry about getting hit and that made life so much easier to showoff his talennts and because of how long he did it and the amount of points he is so far ahead of everyone I cant reasonably take him off Number one. Now I will argue what Lemieux did at his height when his health was good and sometimes when it wasn’t. He controlled that puck with ease. He masde some things look so easy being that back he was getting and gave the hitting right back so it wasn’t until later when he was playing hurt did they really have an enforcer for him. I am going to argue three things I saw Lemieux do that I I have never seen anyone else do and one of them cant beargued with because he was the only one to do it and that record still holds today. Before I get to that I ll give the other two first. On YouTube youu can look it up and watch it . In Game 2 of the Stanley cup against the MInn. Stars Lemeiucx took the puchk right at the two defensemen in fron t of hime and somehow the moves made got him to the goalie with coltrol of the puck and the 1 on three is complete and Pitt. really had no problems winning the cup. Game 6 8-0. The other one I seen I haven’t seen someone do but it is very possible but I watched Lemiexu take a faceoff from the right side of the goalie and shoot on net as the puck drops and whizzes right by the goalie. I think he made someone a be t he was going todo that one day.
Here is one Lemiex stands alone in an accomplishment that over all the years of hockey no one has done. It was New Years EVe 1988 and the Penguins were nplaying the Jersey Devils I think it was in Jersey. I would have to check you tube as everyone in a while I watch it. He scored 5 goals and 3 assists for 8 points. He scored
1. Even Strength Goal
2. Power Play Goal
3. Short Handed Goal
4. Short Handed Penalty Shot
5. And for good measures and empty Goal
He scored every way possible you can score a goal in one game. AS special game when your in the zone.
To Me the fisrt time on the ice at 18 he scored a goal within 6 seconds. \To Me He was the most talented player to ever play.
No. 4 Bobby Orr! Greatest…Ever! Ever!
It’s a team sport fellas, all these guys are #1; just think about how many great players never won the Cup; I enjoyed watching hockey since the mid 50s, 6 teams, but I loved hockey, but it was a different game than the one they play today; they have cleaned up the game so maybe Bettman can start having the league draft women players into the league, really turn it into a circus like a 3 on 3 and a over time shoot out; just isn’t hockey anymore boys.
why do people say if mario played 20 years hed have some of waynes records what they never heared of father time when the facts show he wouldnt have had any of waynes records
Where’s Mike Zuke?