The National Hockey League (NHL) is one of the most famous, major, and professional ice hockey leagues in North America. Ice Hockey is the national sports of Canada and also it is most beloved sports in the Great White North. Infinite number of hockey players and enthusiastic fans are from Canada.

Best NHL Players of all time
Best NHL Players of all time

The NHL was founded by Eddie Livingstone who was the only owner of the Toronto Shamrocks and the Toronto Blueshirts. These teams regularly participated in the National Hockey Association (NHA), but Eddie Livingstone had some kind of issues with other authorities of different teams. So, this dispute led to the invention of National Hockey League (NHL) on November 26, 1917. From then till now, renowned players like Morenz, Shore, Richard, Howe, Beliveau, Orr, Gretzky and Lemieux become part of NHL and left their indelible mark in the history. Their names are still in the minds of hockey fans. If someone ask any fan whether they are from different generations about them, their answers will surely match.

Trying to compare, evaluate, and list the greatest players of numerous decades is a near-impossible task. The following list will be broken down decade-by-decade, all the way back to the NHL’s first complete decade, in an attempt to at least limit subjectivity while simultaneously giving each legend fair recognition for the time in which they played (1920s). The five greatest players in each category will be named, the “best” will be selected, and honourable mention will be given to the greats who didn’t quite make the top five.

List of 10 Best NHL Players of all time 2022

NHL was not so much famous and professional in the beginning. Between the time period of 1942-1967, only “Original Six” were part of NHL. After 1967, another 6 teams join NHL. The modern era started in 1992 with the addition of 28 franchises. Starting from 1920 till now, many skillful players showed their talents in this league.

Best NHL Players of all time 
1Wayne Gretzky
2Bobby Orr
3Gordie Howe
4Mario Lemieux
5Maurice Richard
6Guy Lafleur
7Terry Sawchuk
8Bobby Hull
9Patrick Roy
10Jaromir Jagr

Here we gather top 10 NHL players of all time according to the ranking

10. Jaromir Jagr

Team:  New Jersey Devils

Position: right-winger

Career: 1991 to date


  1. During the part of Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991-1992, his challenging work led his team to the victory of the Stanley Cups.
  2. 5 times in his career and in the history of NHL, he won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL scoring champion being a non-Canadian player.
  3. 1990s was considered a lucky year for his career. In 1999, He also won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player.
Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr

9. Patrick Roy

Team: Colorado Avalanche

Position: goaltender 

Career: 1985-2001


  1. Vice President of Hockey Operations and head coach of the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL.
  2. He achieved four Stanley Cups, 2 for Montréal Canadiens and 2 for Colorado Avalanche.
  3. In the history of NHL, he is the only renowned player who win the Conn Smythe Trophy three times as the Most Valuable Player.
Patrick Roy
Patrick Roy

8. Bobby Hull (the Golden Jet)

Team: Chicago Black Hawks

Position: left winger

Career: 1957-1980


  1. Known for his fast-skating speed, Bobby was able to get the Art Ross Trophy 3 times and the Hart Memorial Trophy 2 times.
  2. His challenging work and game led his team to win the Stanley Cup in 1961. 
  3. Bobby was named to the NHL First All-Star Team 10 times as a left winger.
  4. In 983, he was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Bobby Hull
Bobby Hull

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7. Terry Sawchuk

Team: New York Rangers 

Position: Goalkeeper

Career: 1950-1970


  1. Some players are lucky to receive appreciation and awards in the beginning of their career. Terry was one of them. In the beginning if his career, in 1948, he received USHL Rookie of the Year and in 1949, AHL Rookie of the Year. 
  2. From 1950 through 1956, he appeared in seven consecutive NHL All-Star Games, totaling eleven.
  3. In 1998, “The Hockey News” published the ranking of top one hundred greatest players of NHL, in which he was ranked 9th in the position as a goalkeeper. 
Terry Sawchuk
Terry Sawchuk

6. Guy Lafleur

Team: Quebec Nordiques 

Position: Right winger

Career: 1972-1991


  1. In his NHL career, Guy was able to achieve five Stanley Cup championships which is not easy for every player.
  2. In 1998, “The Hockey News” published the ranking of top one hundred greatest players of NHL, in which he was ranked 11th in the position.
  3. During his 17 years career, he achieved number of trophies which we will list here. 
    1. 3 Art Ross Trophies
    2. 3 Lester B. Pearson Awards
    3. 2 Hart Memorial Trophies
    4. 1 Conn Smythe Trophy
    5. 1 Lou Marsh Trophy.
Guy Lafleur
Guy Lafleur

5. Maurice Richard

Team: Montreal Canadians 

Position: right winger 

Career: 1943-1960


  1. Scoring 50 goals in one season plus 500+ career goals, Maurice was the only leading goal scorer in the NHL history.
  2. In 1947, he achieved Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player. 
  3. Maurice captained his squad to eight Stanley Cup victories, including a record five consecutive titles between 1956 and 1960.
Maurice Richard
Maurice Richard

4. Mario Lemieux

Team: Pittsburgh Penguins

Position: C

Career: 1985-2006


  1. With his challenging work and smart game, his team won the 3 Stanley Cups in 1991, 1992, and 2009.
  2. His career is decorated with Canada Cup (1987), Olympic gold medal (2002), World Cup of Hockey championship (2004), Hart Trophy. 
  3. Besides the above achievements, he also achieves Lester B. Pearson Award 4 times as the most outstanding player.
 Mario Lemieux
Mario Lemieux

3. Gordie Howe (Mr. Hockey)

Team: Hartford Whalers 

Position: right winger

Career: 1947-1980


  1. During his 5-decade career, he made 1,071 goals in 2,421 games, 1,518 assists, and 2,589 points.
  2. 4 times his team won the Stanley Cup championship four times because of him. 
  3. Trophies: 6 Hart Trophies, 6 Art Ross Trophies.
Gordie Howe
Gordie Howe

2. Bobby Orr

Team: Chicago Black Hawks 

Position: Defenseman

Career: 1967-1979


  1. He won 2 Art Ross Trophies as defenseman to win the NHL scoring championship.
  2. Trophies: Norris Trophy (league’s top defenseman, 8 times in a row) and Hart Trophy (league’s most valuable player 3 times in a row).
  3. He was the youngest player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979, at the age of 31.
Bobby Orr
Bobby Orr

1. Wayne Gretzky (Greatest Hockey Player Ever) (The Great One)

Team: Marie Greyhounds

Position: C

Career: 1979-1999


  1. Ranked number one in 100 NHL Player of All-time by NHL. 
  2. highest point scorer (4 times) by scoring 200 points in NHL in 1 season.
  3. He also achieved more than 100 points in a record 14 consecutive seasons.
  4. Records: 40 regular-season records, 6 All-Star records,15 playoff records.
  5. Goals: 894 goals in 1,487 games and 92 goals in a 1 season.
  6. In 1999, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and named to the IIHF Centennial All-Star Team.
Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky


Besides these all-renowned players, some other players record also need to be recognized. Each player had their day in the sunlight and, in some manner, have sealed their position in history.

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