The NHL (National Hockey League) has seen some of the greatest players in the history of the sport. These players have left an indelible mark on the game and have achieved unparalleled success in their careers. The ranking of the greatest players in NHL history is a highly debated topic, with various factors and criteria taken into consideration. To determine the top 25 greatest players, a combination of statistical achievements, impact on the game, championships won, individual accolades, and overall skill and talent have been considered.
The list of the top 25 greatest players in NHL history includes legendary names like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, and Maurice Richard, among others. These players have not only revolutionized the game but have also set records and achieved feats that have solidified their places in hockey history.
The rankings take into account various eras and styles of play, recognizing the contributions of players from different generations. From dominant goal scorers to skilled playmakers, from exceptional defenders to outstanding goaltenders, this list represents the wide range of talent and excellence that the NHL has witnessed over the years.
It is important to note that ranking players is subjective, and opinions may vary. However, this list serves as a tribute to the incredible skills, achievements, and contributions of these individuals who have left an indelible mark on the NHL and the sport of hockey as a whole.
Criteria for Ranking the Greatest Players in NHL History
Criteria for Ranking the Greatest Players in NHL History
When determining the greatest players in NHL history, several criteria are taken into consideration. These criteria include individual achievements, team success, impact on the game, longevity, and statistical records.
1. Individual Achievements: One important factor in assessing a player’s greatness is the number of awards and accolades they have received. This encompasses MVP awards, scoring titles, and All-Star selections.
2. Team Success: Another crucial aspect in determining a player’s ranking is their ability to lead their team to championships and playoff success. Consideration is given to Stanley Cup wins and appearances in the playoffs.
3. Impact on the Game: The influence a player has had on the game is another significant factor. This includes their style of play, innovation, and contributions to the sport both on and off the ice.
4. Longevity: The duration of a player’s career and their consistent performance throughout are taken into account. Players who have maintained success over a long period of time are often ranked higher.
5. Statistical Records: The player’s statistical performance is a key consideration. This includes goals, assists, points, and other relevant metrics. Breaking records and surpassing milestones adds to a player’s legacy.
By evaluating players based on these criteria, a comprehensive ranking of the greatest players in NHL history can be established. It is important to note that personal opinions and biases may influence individual rankings, but these criteria provide a framework for assessing a player’s greatness.
Top 25 Greatest Players in NHL History
Get ready to dive into the thrilling world of the greatest NHL players in history. Brace yourself as we embark on a journey through the top 25 players who have left an indelible mark on the ice. From icons like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, to legends such as Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe, we’ll uncover their remarkable contributions to the sport. Prepare to be amazed by the skills, achievements, and lasting legacies of these extraordinary hockey superstars.
1. Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky, often referred to as “The Great One,” is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest players in NHL history. Let’s highlight some key points to showcase his remarkable achievements:
- Gretzky, the holder of numerous records in the sport, including the most career goals (894), assists (1,963), and points (2,857), stands out as a true legend.
- He has won the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player, an unparalleled record of nine times.
- Throughout his career, Gretzky propelled the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup championships during the 1980s, cementing his team’s dominance.
- “The Great One” revolutionized the game with his exceptional vision, passing ability, and hockey IQ.
- It is worth noting that Gretzky exhibited his brilliance not only in the NHL but also as a representative for Canada in international competitions. He secured two Canada Cup titles and an Olympic gold medal.
- Even off the ice, Gretzky’s influence remains substantial. He actively participates as a team executive and acts as a mentor to young players, solidifying his position as a respected figure in the hockey world.
Fact: Wayne Gretzky’s impact on the game has transcended his retirement. His records and enduring legacy continue to instill inspiration in future generations of hockey players.
From Gretzky to Lemieux, these hockey greats could ice skate circles around the competition, or make them kiss the ice with a bone-crushing body check.
2. Mario Lemieux
- Mario Lemieux is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in NHL history.
- He played for the Pittsburgh Penguins for his entire career, from 1984 to 2006.
- Lemieux was known for his exceptional skill and scoring ability.
- He won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer six times.
- Lemieux also won the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player three times.
- In addition to his offensive prowess, Mario Lemieux was also a strong defensive player.
- He led the Penguins to two Stanley Cup championships, in 1991 and 1992.
- Lemieux’s career was often hampered by injuries, including battles with cancer.
- Despite these setbacks, he still managed to score 690 goals and record 1,033 assists in his career.
- After retiring as a player, Mario Lemieux became the owner of the Penguins and played a key role in saving the franchise from financial ruin.
Mario Lemieux’s impact on the game of hockey is immeasurable. His skill, determination, and leadership made him a true legend of the sport.
Bobby Orr: The greatest player to ever lace up the skates, and the only one who could fly higher than a penguin with jetpacks.
3. Bobby Orr
Bobby Orr, ranked at number 3, is considered one of the greatest players in NHL history. He achieved great success during his career and left a lasting impact on the sport.
With his exceptional skills and athleticism, Bobby Orr revolutionized the game of hockey. He was known for his speed, agility, and offensive abilities, making him a dominant force on both ends of the ice.
During his career, Bobby Orr won numerous awards and accolades. He won the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL a record-breaking eight times. In addition, he won the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player three times.
Bobby Orr’s offensive contributions were unmatched by any defenseman of his time. He had the ability to control the game from the blue line, setting up plays and scoring goals with ease. His playmaking skills and hockey IQ were unparalleled.
Bobby Orr’s impact extended beyond individual achievements. He led the Boston Bruins to two Stanley Cup championships in 1970 and 1972, solidifying his legacy as one of the greatest winners in NHL history.
Off the ice, Bobby Orr remains a respected figure in the hockey community. He continues to be involved in charitable work and is highly regarded for his sportsmanship and integrity.
Bobby Orr’s remarkable skills, achievements, and impact on the game make him a deserving member of the list of the top 25 greatest players in NHL history, specifically ranked at number 3.
4. Gordie Howe
Gordie Howe, known as “Mr. Hockey,” is widely regarded as the 4th greatest player in NHL history. His illustrious career spanned over 30 years, during which he played for the Detroit Red Wings and the Hartford Whalers, showcasing his exceptional skills and dominance on the ice.
Considered one of the most complete players in NHL history, Gordie Howe’s achievements are truly impressive. He secured the Stanley Cup four times with the Red Wings and claimed an astonishing six Art Ross Trophies as the league’s leading scorer. Throughout his career, he was honored with the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player a remarkable six times.
Gordie Howe’s impact on the game went beyond his offensive prowess. Known for his physicality, he possessed the ability to both score goals and deliver bone-crushing hits. His versatility and strength allowed him to excel in all aspects of the game, earning him a reputation as one of the toughest players to face. With a combination of skill, toughness, and durability, he truly became a legend in the sport.
What sets Gordie Howe apart is his astonishing longevity in the NHL. He played his final NHL season at the age of 52, securing his place as the oldest player in the history of the league. This remarkable feat showcases his exceptional dedication to the game and his ability to adapt and compete at a high level even in his later years.
The legacy of Gordie Howe as the 4th greatest player in NHL history is truly well-deserved. His unmatched skills, incredible achievements, and outstanding longevity on the ice solidify his status as one of the greatest to have ever played the game.
Pro-tip: If you want to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the history of the NHL, studying the careers of players like Gordie Howe is essential. Their contributions will provide valuable insight into the sport’s evolution over the years.
Maurice Richard, the ‘Rocket,’ soared his way into NHL history with his explosive scoring ability and intimidating presence on the ice.
5. Maurice Richard
|5||Maurice Richard||Right Wing||Montreal Canadiens||1942-1960|
Maurice Richard, ranked 5th on the list of the greatest players in NHL history, was a legendary right-wing player for the Montreal Canadiens from 1942 to 1960.
During his career, Maurice Richard was known for his incredible scoring ability and his fierce competitive nature. He was the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a single season, accomplishing this feat in the 1944-1945 season. Maurice Richard went on to score 544 goals in his career, making him one of the most prolific goal-scorers of his time.
Maurice Richard’s impact on the game extended beyond his individual achievements. He played an important role in leading the Montreal Canadiens to eight Stanley Cup championships during his career. His leadership and determination were instrumental in establishing the Canadiens as one of the most successful franchises in NHL history.
Off the ice, Maurice Richard was a beloved figure in Montreal and throughout the hockey community. He was known for his humility and his dedication to the game. Maurice Richard’s passion for hockey and his unwavering commitment to excellence made him a true icon of the sport.
Maurice Richard’s legacy as one of the greatest players in NHL history is well-deserved. His remarkable skill, leadership, and impact on the game continue to be celebrated to this day, making him a true legend of the sport.
Everyone wants to be the next Sidney Crosby, except for Marc-Andre Fleury, who just wants to stop him.
6. Sidney Crosby
When discussing the top players in NHL history, it is impossible not to mention the incredible talent and impact of Sidney Crosby. Here are some reasons why Sidney Crosby deserves to be recognized as one of the greatest players in NHL history:
- Exceptional Skill: Sidney Crosby is known for his exceptional skill and hockey IQ. His puck handling, playmaking ability, and scoring touch have consistently amazed fans and critics alike.
- Leadership: Sidney Crosby has shown immense leadership throughout his career. He has captained the Pittsburgh Penguins to multiple Stanley Cup victories and has been praised for his ability to lead by example both on and off the ice.
- Awards and Achievements: Sidney Crosby’s list of achievements speaks for itself. He has won numerous awards, including two Hart Trophies as the league’s most valuable player and two Conn Smythe Trophies as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
- Consistency: Sidney Crosby has consistently performed at a high level throughout his career, earning him the respect of his peers and fans. He is known for his work ethic and dedication to the game.
- Impact on the Game: Sidney Crosby’s influence on the game of hockey goes beyond his individual accomplishments. He has inspired countless young players and has contributed to the growth and popularity of the sport.
Fact: Sidney Crosby became the youngest captain in NHL history when he was named captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the age of 19.
I’ve seen more smiles on the ice than at a dentist’s office, but Mark Messier is no joke when it comes to being one of the greatest players in NHL history.
7. Mark Messier
- Mark Messier, a prominent player in the NHL, was known for his leadership skills and on-ice performance.
- Throughout his career, Mark Messier played for multiple teams, including the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks.
- Mark Messier’s leadership abilities were evident as he captained the Edmonton Oilers to five Stanley Cup championships.
- Mark Messier’s scoring abilities were also impressive, as he amassed over 1,887 points in his career, making him one of the all-time leaders in points scored.
- Aside from his offensive skills, Mark Messier was also known for his physicality and determination on the ice.
- Mark Messier’s contributions to the game were recognized with various awards and honors, including being named the NHL’s Most Valuable Player in 1990.
- Mark Messier’s impact extended beyond his playing career, as he went on to become a successful coach and executive in the NHL.
- Mark Messier’s leadership and influence on the game continue to be celebrated, and he remains a beloved figure in the hockey community.
8. Jaromir Jagr
|Player Name||Position||Teams Played For||Achievements|
Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames
5-time Art Ross Trophy winner (leading scorer), 2-time Stanley Cup champion, Olympic Gold Medalist
When looking at the career of Jaromir Jagr, it is clear that he has had an impressive journey in the NHL. Playing as a right-wing, Jagr has had the opportunity to represent various teams throughout his career. He has played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers, and Calgary Flames.
One of the notable achievements in Jagr’s career is his five-time win of the Art Ross Trophy, which is awarded to the league’s leading scorer. This showcases his exceptional skills and ability to contribute offensively to his team. Jagr has also won the Stanley Cup twice, solidifying his impact on the ice and his ability to help his team succeed in the playoffs.
Jagr’s success extends beyond the NHL as he has also achieved an Olympic Gold Medal. This demonstrates his talent on an international level and his ability to compete at the highest stage.
Jaromir Jagr’s career in the NHL has been nothing short of remarkable. With his numerous achievements and contributions to the teams he has played for, he has established himself as one of the greatest players in NHL history.
9. Jean Beliveau
Jean Beliveau, one of the greatest players in NHL history, made a significant impact on the sport. Jean Beliveau’s skill, leadership, and versatility set him apart from other players of his time. Throughout his career, Jean Beliveau played as a center for the Montreal Canadiens, leading the team to a remarkable ten Stanley Cup victories.
Jean Beliveau’s ability to consistently produce points and contribute to his team’s success was remarkable. Jean Beliveau scored 507 goals and recorded 712 assists in his 18 seasons with the Canadiens, accumulating a total of 1,219 points. Jean Beliveau showcased his proficiency on the ice through his remarkable achievements.
Jean Beliveau’s exceptional abilities were recognized by his peers. Jean Beliveau was awarded the Hart Trophy twice, signifying his status as the league’s most valuable player. Jean Beliveau’s impact extended beyond his on-ice performance; his professionalism and sportsmanship cultivated a positive culture within the Canadiens organization.
In addition to his individual success, Jean Beliveau was an exceptional leader. Jean Beliveau served as the Canadiens‘ captain from 1961 to 1971, guiding the team to numerous championships during his tenure. Jean Beliveau’s leadership qualities were widely respected by his teammates and opponents alike.
Off the ice, Jean Beliveau was known for his philanthropy and commitment to his community. Jean Beliveau was involved in various charitable endeavors and was beloved by fans for his contributions beyond the game.
Jean Beliveau’s skill, leadership, and impact on and off the ice solidify his status as one of the greatest players in NHL history. Jean Beliveau’s legacy continues to inspire future generations of players, and his name will forever be synonymous with excellence in the sport of hockey.
10. Bobby Hull
Bobby Hull, ranked 10th on the list, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in NHL history. Renowned for his astonishing speed and formidable shot, Hull had an illustrious career that left an indelible mark on the sport.
Throughout his tenure in the NHL, Bobby Hull showcased his exceptional skills for both the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets. He was particularly known for his scoring prowess, dominating the game with his unmatched ability to find the back of the net. Hull‘s quickness and agility provided him numerous scoring opportunities, contributing significantly to his team’s triumphs.
Over the course of his career, Bobby Hull amassed an impressive tally of 610 goals in the NHL, demonstrating his exemplary offensive abilities. He was honored as a six-time First Team All-Star and received the Hart Trophy twice, firmly establishing his status as one of the game’s most elite players.
Bobby Hull formed a formidable trio called the “Golden Jet” line, playing alongside his brother, Dennis Hull, and Stan Mikita. This line was revered for its offensive firepower and played a pivotal role in the Chicago Blackhawks’ achievements.
Hull‘s impact on the game of hockey stretched beyond his playing days. He revolutionized the sport by popularizing the powerful and effective shooting technique known as the slapshot, which remains widely used in the game to this day.
There is no denying Bobby Hull‘s profound influence on the NHL. His exceptional skills, knack for scoring goals, and transformative impact on the game rightfully place him among the top 25 greatest players in NHL history.
11. Steve Yzerman
Steve Yzerman is ranked 11th in the list of the top 25 greatest players in NHL history. He had a remarkable career and is widely regarded as one of the best players to have ever played the game.
Yzerman, known as “The Captain,” spent his entire NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings from 1983 to 2006. He was known for his exceptional leadership skills, as he captained the Red Wings for an impressive 19 seasons. Yzerman’s leadership was instrumental in turning the Red Wings into a highly successful team, leading them to three Stanley Cup championships in 1997, 1998, and 2002.
Not only was Yzerman a great leader, but he was also an incredibly skilled and versatile player. He was known for his playmaking abilities and his ability to score important goals when needed. Yzerman accumulated an impressive 1,755 points during his career, including 692 goals and 1,063 assists.
Yzerman’s contributions to the game go beyond his individual achievements. He played a significant role in popularizing hockey and increasing its popularity in non-traditional hockey markets. His impact both on and off the ice has left a lasting legacy in the NHL.
Steve Yzerman’s skill, leadership, and contributions to the game make him a deserving member of the list of the top 25 greatest players in NHL history.
If defense wins championships, then Ray Bourque must have won the NHL championship twelve times in his sleep.
12. Ray Bourque
Number of Seasons Played
Number of Games Played
Stanley Cup Championships
Norris Trophies (Best Defenseman)
Hall of Fame Induction
Throughout his career, Ray Bourque is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in NHL history. He was known for his exceptional skills on both ends of the ice. Ray Bourque was a dominant defenseman, contributing offensively with his scoring ability and playmaking skills, while also excelling defensively with his strong positioning and ability to shut down opponents.
Ray Bourque’s leadership was also evident, as he served as the captain of the Boston Bruins for several seasons. He led by example on and off the ice, earning the respect of his teammates and opponents alike.
One memorable moment in Ray Bourque’s career came in 2001 when he finally won his first and only Stanley Cup championship with the Colorado Avalanche. After 22 seasons in the NHL, Ray Bourque hoisted the coveted trophy, bringing a sense of fulfillment to his already illustrious career.
Ray Bourque’s impact on the game of hockey cannot be understated. He left a lasting legacy as one of the greatest defensemen to ever play the sport, and his name will forever be associated with excellence and professionalism.
13. Joe Sakic
Joe Sakic, ranking at number 13 on the list, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in NHL history. With an illustrious career, Sakic’s undeniable contribution to the sport is evident.
Throughout his career, Sakic showcased his incredible skill and talent on the ice. Playing as a center, he was renowned for his exceptional playmaking abilities, puck control, and scoring prowess. Sakic’s offensive skills allowed him to consistently rank among the top scorers in NHL history.
Sakic achieved numerous accolades and accomplishments over the course of his career. Notably, he led the Colorado Avalanche to two Stanley Cup victories as the team’s captain. Additionally, Sakic represented Canada in international competitions, contributing to their multiple gold medal wins.
What sets Sakic apart is not only his skill, but also his strong work ethic and leadership qualities. He earned the respect of both teammates and opponents due to his dedication, integrity, and professionalism both on and off the ice.
Even after retiring, Joe Sakic continues to have a significant impact on the game. He has taken on a management role with the Avalanche, showcasing his knowledge and passion for the sport.
Overall, Joe Sakic’s exceptional skills, numerous accomplishments, and exemplary leadership qualities firmly establish him as one of the greatest players in NHL history.
14. Peter Forsberg
Ranked 14th in the list of the greatest players in NHL history, Peter Forsberg is known for his exceptional skills and contributions to the sport.
Forsberg, a Swedish-born player, had an impressive career in the NHL, playing primarily for the Colorado Avalanche and the Philadelphia Flyers. He was known for his versatility and ability to excel in all aspects of the game.
Throughout his career, Peter Forsberg showcased his extraordinary playmaking abilities, often making precise passes and setting up his teammates for scoring opportunities. He was also a strong scorer himself, known for his powerful shots and ability to find the back of the net.
One of Forsberg’s most memorable attributes was his physicality and toughness on the ice. He was known for his aggressive style of play and was not afraid to engage in battles along the boards or in front of the net.
Forsberg’s skills and contributions to the sport earned him numerous accolades, including two Stanley Cup championships with the Colorado Avalanche and two Olympic gold medals with the Swedish national team. He was also recognized individually with awards such as the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year and the Hart Memorial Trophy for league MVP.
Peter Forsberg’s ranking as the 14th greatest player in NHL history is a testament to his exceptional skills, versatility, and contributions to the sport. His playmaking abilities, scoring prowess, physicality, and numerous accolades solidify his status as one of the all-time greats in the NHL.
If you’re a fan of the NHL or simply interested in hockey history, exploring the careers of players like Peter Forsberg can provide insight into the sport’s rich legacy and the impact of these iconic figures on the game.
Opponents feared him like a goalie fears a beach ball, Dominik Hasek’s acrobatics made saves look more like contortionist performances.
15. Dominik Hasek
Name Position Team Years Played Achievements
Dominik Hasek Goalie Buffalo Sabres 1989-2001, 2003-2004 6-time Vezina Trophy winner, 2-time Hart Trophy winner, 2-time Stanley Cup champion
Dominik Hasek, an exceptional former professional ice hockey player, is renowned for his incredible skills and remarkable achievements as a goalie. Dominik Hasek played for the Buffalo Sabres from 1989 to 2001, and later rejoined the team for the 2003-2004 season.
Throughout his illustrious career, Dominik Hasek secured the Vezina Trophy, which recognizes the NHL’s best goaltender, a remarkable six times. He also earned the Hart Trophy twice, an accolade bestowed upon the league’s most valuable player. Despite the Sabres’ inability to secure the Stanley Cup championship, Dominik Hasek’s exceptional performances played a pivotal role in guiding the team to the finals on two occasions.
Dominik Hasek was widely acknowledged for his unorthodox style of play, characterized by acrobatic saves and lightning-quick reflexes. His unparalleled goaltending abilities elevated him to become one of the most dominant players in NHL history, earning him the well-deserved moniker “The Dominator“.
In addition to his successful tenure with the Sabres, Dominik Hasek also had notable stints with other esteemed teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. He ultimately retired in 2008, leaving behind an enduring legacy as one of the greatest goalies to have ever graced the game of hockey.
Dominik Hasek’s extraordinary achievements and distinctive style of play firmly establish his status as one of the premier players in NHL history. His six Vezina Trophies and two Hart Trophies exemplify his undeniable talent and profound impact on the ice. Hockey enthusiasts will forever cherish Dominik Hasek’s reign as one of the all-time greatest goalies.
16. Patrick Roy
|16. Patrick Roy|
|Born||October 5, 1965|
|Teams||Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche|
|Number of NHL Seasons||18|
|Number of Stanley Cup Championships||4|
|Awards||3x Vezina Trophy, 5x William M. Jennings Trophy, 3x Conn Smythe Trophy|
|Career Win-Loss Record||551-315-131|
|Career Goals Against Average||2.54|
|Career Save Percentage||.910|
Patrick Roy, born on October 5, 1965, is considered one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history. He played for the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche during his 18 seasons in the league. Roy was known for his exceptional skills and ability to make crucial saves in high-pressure situations.
Throughout his career, Patrick Roy won a total of four Stanley Cup Championships, two with the Canadiens and two with the Avalanche. His outstanding performances in the playoffs earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy three times, awarded to the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Roy’s prowess in goal was recognized with numerous awards, including the Vezina Trophy three times, given to the best goaltender in the NHL. He also won the William M. Jennings Trophy five times, awarded to the goaltender(s) who allowed the fewest goals during the regular season.
With a career win-loss record of 551-315-131, Patrick Roy demonstrated his consistent ability to lead his teams to victory. His career goals against average stood at 2.54, and he maintained a save percentage of .910 throughout his time in the NHL.
As a true testament to his impact on the game, Patrick Roy’s legacy lives on as one of the all-time greats in the history of the NHL.
Alex Ovechkin, the player who can score goals faster than you can say his full name.
17. Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin is a prominent player in the NHL who has made significant contributions to the sport. Here is a summary of his achievements and career statistics:
Alex Ovechkin is known for his incredible goal-scoring ability and powerful playing style. He has consistently dominated the league and has won numerous awards throughout his career. Ovechkin has won the Rocket Richard Trophy, awarded to the league’s leading goal scorer, a record nine times. He has also been named the NHL’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times, winning the prestigious Hart Trophy.
Ovechkin’s impact on the Washington Capitals franchise has been immense. In 2018, he led the Capitals to their first-ever Stanley Cup victory, solidifying his legacy as one of the greatest players in NHL history.
His determination, skill, and leadership have made him a fan favorite and an inspiration to aspiring hockey players around the world. Ovechkin’s contributions to the game will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come.
|Martin Brodeur:||He’s the goalie you want on your team, unless you’re on the opposing team, then you’re out of luck.|
18. Martin Brodeur
Martin Brodeur, the renowned figure in NHL history, is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest goaltenders ever. Throughout his illustrious career, he garnered an array of records and accolades, further solidifying his standing as an elite player in the league.
One of the factors that set Brodeur apart from other goaltenders was his active goaltending style and exceptional puck-handling skills. His unique ability to anticipate plays and make critical saves in high-pressure situations made him an invaluable asset to his team, the New Jersey Devils.
Over the course of his career, Brodeur amassed an astonishing 691 regular-season victories, a remarkable feat that stands as a testament to his longevity and consistency as one of the league’s top performers.
Additionally, Brodeur holds the NHL record for the most shutouts, an impressive 125 in total. This exceptional ability to prevent opposing teams from scoring showcased his incredible skills and played a significant role in his team’s success.
Brodeur’s contributions were not limited to the regular season, as he played a vital role in the Devils’ three Stanley Cup triumphs. His exceptional performances during these championship runs further solidified his legacy as one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history.
Given his exceptional career and numerous records, Martin Brodeur undoubtedly deserves a prominent position among the top 25 greatest players in NHL history. His impact on the game, both statistically and in terms of team success, firmly cements his place among the legends of this sport.
In a league full of hockey legends, Modano skated into history as a ‘Moda-no‘ brainer choice for the top 25.
19. Mike Modano
19. Mike Modano is considered one of the greatest players in NHL history. Here is a table highlighting some key information about him:
|Teams Played For||Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars (1989-2010), Detroit Red Wings (2010-2011)|
|NHL Draft||Drafted 1st overall by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft|
|Stanley Cups||1 (1999 with the Dallas Stars)|
Mike Modano was known for his exceptional speed, skill, and offensive prowess. He spent the majority of his career with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise, where he became the all-time leading scorer among American-born players in NHL history. Modano played a key role in the Dallas Stars’ Stanley Cup victory in 1999.
Throughout his career, Mike Modano was a nine-time All-Star and consistently produced high point totals. He retired as one of the most successful American players in NHL history, leaving a lasting impact on the game. Mike Modano’s contributions to the sport make him undoubtedly one of the greatest players to have ever played in the NHL.
They say scoring goals is an art, and Phil Esposito was Picasso with a hockey stick.
20. Phil Esposito
Here is the information about the 20th greatest player in NHL history, Phil Esposito:
|Teams||Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers|
|Awards||2-time Hart Trophy winner, 5-time Art Ross Trophy winner|
Phil Esposito, the 20th greatest player in NHL history, was a dominant center who played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, and New York Rangers. He played in the NHL from 1963 to 1981. Esposito was known for his scoring ability and physical presence on the ice. He won two Stanley Cups during his career, both with the Boston Bruins. Esposito was a prolific scorer, winning the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer five times. He also won the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player twice.
Esposito’s contributions to the game of hockey were not limited to his on-ice performance. He was also a leader and served as the captain of the Boston Bruins for eight seasons. His impact on the game and his ability to inspire his teammates cannot be understated.
Phil Esposito’s skill, leadership, and scoring prowess make him an important figure in NHL history. He is rightfully recognized as one of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of skates.
Pro-tip: When looking at the greatest players in any sport, it’s important to consider not just their individual achievements, but also their impact on the game and the teams they played for. Phil Esposito’s leadership and championships are a testament to his greatness.
21. Doug Harvey
Doug Harvey, ranked 21st, is considered one of the greatest players in NHL history.
22. Chris Chelios
Chris Chelios, the 22nd greatest player in NHL history, had an outstanding career spanning over 26 seasons. Playing as a defenseman for the Montreal Canadiens, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Detroit Red Wings, Chelios showcased remarkable skill and agility on the ice.
Known for his physicality and ability to shut down opposing forwards, Chelios consistently displayed an impressive defensive game. Throughout his illustrious career, he played a significant role in his team’s success, excelling in both regular season play and the playoffs.
As a true leader, Chelios served as captain for both the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings, earning the respect of his teammates and opponents. His dedication, intensity, and competitive spirit were widely acknowledged. Notably, Chelios received the Norris Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s best defenseman, three times.
With numerous records and remarkable milestones to his name, Chelios cemented his status as a veteran player. Playing in over 1,600 games, he achieved a feat that few can match. Additionally, Chelios proudly represented the United States in multiple international competitions, including four Olympic Games.
Chelios’ contribution to the game has left a lasting impact, making him one of the NHL’s all-time greats. His skill, leadership, and passion for the sport continue to inspire current and future generations of players.
Chris Chelios’ remarkable career as a defenseman and his recognition as the 22nd greatest player in NHL history truly exemplify his immense talent and impact on the sport.
Nicklas Lidstrom – the ultimate defenseman who could make opponents tremble just by adjusting his helmet.
23. Nicklas Lidstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom was an incredibly accomplished and highly skilled ice hockey player, ranked as number 23 in the list of the top 25 greatest players in NHL history. He dedicated his entire NHL career to the Detroit Red Wings, playing from 1991 to 2012. Lidstrom gained recognition for his exceptional defensive skills and hockey intelligence.
As a defenseman, Lidstrom mastered every aspect of the game. His ability to read plays and anticipate opponent movements made him an outstanding positional defenseman. Lidstrom’s success as a defensive player was greatly influenced by his strong stick work and his aptitude for breaking up plays.
Not only was Lidstrom a defensive stalwart, but he also showcased great offensive skills. His powerful and accurate shot made him a valuable asset to his team’s offense. Additionally, Lidstrom’s playmaking abilities were commendable as he consistently provided well-timed passes and made smart decisions on the ice.
Throughout his career, Lidstrom received numerous awards and accolades. He won the Norris Trophy, the prestigious award given to the NHL’s best defenseman, an impressive seven times. Lidstrom’s contributions to the Detroit Red Wings also led to his participation in four Stanley Cup-winning teams.
Beyond his individual achievements, Lidstrom demonstrated leadership both on and off the ice. He served as the captain of the Red Wings for several years and earned the respect of his teammates through his professionalism and dedication to the game.
Nicklas Lidstrom’s impact on the sport of ice hockey, both defensively and offensively, solidifies his place as one of the greatest players in NHL history.
As you dive deeper into the top 25 greatest players in NHL history, you will uncover the remarkable skill and talent displayed by these athletes. Each player has left an enduring impact on the sport, contributing to its rich history.
Pavel Datsyuk: He’s the Russian magician on ice, turning defenders into spectators with his jaw-dropping moves.
24. Pavel Datsyuk
Pavel Datsyuk, known as one of the greatest players in NHL history, has left a legendary mark on the hockey world. He has achieved numerous remarkable feats throughout his career, which are outlined in the following table:
|Teams||Detroit Red Wings|
|Stanley Cups Won||2|
|Individual Awards||4-time Lady Byng Trophy winner, 3-time Selke Trophy winner|
Throughout Pavel Datsyuk’s illustrious career, he became renowned for his exceptional skills, such as his unmatched stickhandling ability, defensive expertise, and astute hockey intelligence. Not only was he a formidable offensive threat, but he also displayed reliability in all facets of the game. Due to his capability to skillfully steal pucks and execute jaw-dropping plays, he earned the moniker “The Magic Man.”
Datsyuk played a crucial role in the Detroit Red Wings’ triumphs, particularly during their Stanley Cup victories in 2002 and 2008. He emerged as a key player in those critical playoff runs and showcased his remarkable performances when the pressure was at its highest.
Beyond team accomplishments, Datsyuk’s individual accolades firmly establish his standing in the NHL. He achieved the prestigious Lady Byng Trophy four times, an award that honors the player who exemplifies sportsmanship. Additionally, he received the esteemed Selke Trophy three times, recognizing him as the best defensive forward. Both these awards validate his well-rounded skills and his capacity to make a substantial impact in all aspects of the game.
Pavel Datsyuk’s legacy in the NHL is built upon his incredible skills, sportsmanship, and his ability to elevate his team’s performance. His profound impact on the game will be celebrated for generations to come.
25. Sergei Fedorov
Sergei Fedorov, one of the greatest players in the history of the NHL, is regarded as a true legend in the sport.
Over the course of his remarkable career spanning over two decades, he showcased his extraordinary talents while playing for various teams, including the Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, and Washington Capitals.
On the ice, Fedorov was known for his exceptional speed, skill, and versatility, making him a force to be reckoned with.
Throughout his illustrious journey, he earned numerous accolades, including three Stanley Cups, two Selke Trophies for best defensive forward, and the prestigious Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player.
Additionally, he proved to be highly productive offensively, consistently posting impressive numbers year after year.
Fedorov’s career statistics speak for themselves, with over 1,200 points and more than 500 goals to his name.
However, his impact on the game extends beyond his on-ice performance; he also served as a trailblazer for Russian players in the NHL.
By showcasing their undeniable skill and talent at the highest level of the game, Fedorov helped pave the way for future generations of Russian players.
His legacy as one of the greatest players in NHL history is solidified by his exceptional accomplishments, unique skillset, and influential presence in the sport.
Did you know? Sergei Fedorov holds another remarkable achievement as the first Russian-born player to reach the 1,000-point milestone in the NHL.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs about the 25 Greatest Players in NHL History:
1. Who is considered the greatest NHL player of all time?
Gordie Howe is widely regarded as the greatest NHL player of all time due to his physical dominance, scoring ability, and ruthless playing style. Source: usatoday.com
2. How does Wayne Gretzky rank among the top players in NHL history?
Wayne Gretzky is ranked second on the list of the top NHL players. He holds the record for the most points and goals in NHL history and has won 10 scoring championships. Source: usatoday.com
3. What makes Bobby Orr one of the greatest NHL players of all time?
Bobby Orr is ranked third among the top NHL players. He revolutionized the game as a defenseman by winning the scoring championship and dominated as the league’s top defenseman for eight consecutive years. Source: usatoday.com
4. Who ranks as the fourth greatest NHL player of all time?
Mario Lemieux is ranked fourth among the top NHL players. He is known for his incredible scoring abilities, including being the only player to score five goals in five different ways in a single game. Source: usatoday.com
5. How does the NHL determine the top players among Gretzky, Howe, and Orr?
The NHL does not officially determine the best player among Gretzky, Howe, and Orr, as all three players have their own unique qualities that make them exceptional. Source: usatoday.com
6. How are the 25 best hockey players of all time determined?
The 25 best hockey players of all time are determined based on their average points per game. Only players who have scored more than 500 points during their hockey careers are considered. Source: at-the-buzzer.com