NHL History: Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and the Top 100 Players of All Time

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2011

NHL History: Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and the Top 100 Players of All Time

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    When compiling a list of this magnitude, one can feel overwhelmed by both the amount of data necessary to make these decisions and the depth of history involved with the game of hockey.

    While I was not fortunate enough to see many of these players grace the ice, the Internet has helped even the most hockey illiterate grasp a deep knowledge of this great sport.

    I tried to cover all the generations of the NHL and cover it with knowledge suitable to make this list acceptable.

    While I have a lot of current players on the list, I referenced Hockey News’ Top 100 NHL Players of All Time along with many other sources.

    I am young, so if there is someone I missed or someone who is too high or low, let me know. Just remember, everyone has their OWN opinion. Enjoy!

     

    REFERENCES:

    1. Stanley Cup: Awarded to the NHL champions

    2. Hart Memorial Trophy: Awarded to the league's most valuable player

    3. Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Awarded to the player who exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability

    4. Vezina Trophy: Awarded to the league's top goaltender

    5. Calder Memorial Trophy: Awarded to the league's most outstanding rookie player

    6. Art Ross Trophy: Awarded to the player who leads the league in total points at the end of the regular season

    7. James Norris Memorial Trophy: Awarded to the defensive player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position

    8. Conn Smythe Trophy: Awarded to the most valuable player for his team in the playoffs

    9. Frank J. Selke Trophy: Awarded to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game

100. George Hainsworth

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    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs

    While you may not know who George Hainsworth is, he was the first truly dominant goaltender in NHL history.

    Hainsworth won the Vezina Trophy each of the first three years it was awarded and had double figures in shutouts and a goals-against average of 1.50 over his first three seasons.

    In Hainsworth’s best season, he only let in 43 goals in 44 games and accumulated 22 shutouts. He also helped lead the Canadiens to two Stanley Cups under his reign.

99. Keith Tkachuk

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    Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

    Teams: Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Atlanta Thrashers, St. Louis Blues

    While the end of his career wasn’t the greatest and he wasn’t the most consistent player in history, Keith Tkachuk was one of the best pure goal scorers of his generation.

    Tkachuk is one of only four American-born players to score 500 career goals; he also netted 20 or more goals in 16 of his 18 NHL seasons and had two seasons scoring 50 goals or more.

    In addition, Tkachuk is only the sixth American to register more than 1,000 points in his NHL career, with 1,065.

98. Toe Blake

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    Team: Montreal Canadiens

    While his play on the ice was great for his time, Toe Blake’s ability to stay in the game as a coach and win eight Stanley Cups in 13 seasons may have influenced me just a bit.

    Blake scored 527 points in just 577 games in the NHL and was a linemate of the great Maurice “Rocket” Richard. He won the Hart Trophy and the Art Ross Trophy in 1939.

    While his performances during the regular season were legendary for Blake’s time, his ability to perform at his best in the playoffs as a player and a coach separated him from the other players of that generation.

    Blake won a total of 10 Stanley Cups as a player and a coach.

97. Brian Leetch

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    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Teams: New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins

    Brian Leetch is one of the better offensive defensemen in the history of the NHL, and he has the numbers to prove it.

    Leetch is a two-time Norris Trophy winner, one of only five NHL defensemen to score 100 points in a season and remains the only American-born winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy.

    While Leetch was solid in his own zone, 1,028 points in 1,205 games shows that he was much more than a normal defender.

96. Bill Barber

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    Team: Philadelphia Flyers

    Bill Barber was a huge part of the success of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1970s and was one of the best players of that generation.

    As a physical forward, Barber fit the Flyers' scheme and intimidated people enough to get himself room to control the puck in the offensive zone.

    To go along with his 883 points in 903 games with the Flyers during the regular season, it was his 108 points in 129 playoff games that separated him from the others in the league at the time.

95. Mark Howe

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    Teams: Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings

    When your dad is Gordie Howe, expectations will be ridiculously high.

    Mark Howe became a defenseman to avoid those expectations. But his offensive prowess came through nonetheless.

    In 929 games in the NHL, Howe tallied 742 points. He had 197 goals to go with 545 assists.

    Howe was one of the best two-way defensemen of the 1980s, was a three-time runner-up for the Norris Trophy and made the Stanley Cup Finals three times.

94. Miikka Kiprusoff

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Teams: San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames

    Miikka Kiprusoff may not be the longest-tenured goaltender on this list and may not have any Stanley Cup rings to show off, but he deserves to here.

    What Kiprusoff does have is an amazing stretch of play that is utterly impressive. Since becoming the starting goaltender in Calgary six seasons ago, Kiprusoff has had at least 35 wins every season and has accumulated 33 shutouts.

    While Calgary has had its troubles during his tenure, Kiprusoff has been a pillar of consistency that has kept the Flames in contention year after year.

93. Martin St. Louis

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Teams: Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Martin St. Louis might only be 5’9”, but he plays a big game.

    St. Louis is one of the fastest players in the NHL. Given his size, his offensive prowess and ability to fend off much bigger players makes him one of the best in the NHL every year.

    To go along with the Stanley Cup the Lightning won in 2004, St. Louis has 772 points in 850 games and has reached the 90-point plateau four times so far in his career.

92. Scott Stevens

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Teams: Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues, New Jersey Devils

    Scott Stevens became known as “Captain Crunch” for his ability to land some of the most devastating hits in NHL history.

    Stevens was a good defensive defenseman, but his claim to fame was the intimidation factor he brought to the ice. He also had a career goal differential of plus-393.

    While Stevens was a devastating hitter, he was an even better leader. Under his tenure, the Devils won three Stanley Cups in four career appearances in the finals.

91. Milt Schmidt

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    Team: Boston Bruins

    While I love the NHL, we all know that there are more important things in life. In 1942, Milt Schmidt entered the military during World War II and missed three years of play at what would have been the high point of his career.

    That kind of service automatically endears a player to many, including me.

    Schmidt was a tough player who added an offensive touch to his game. He had 575 points in 776 games over parts of 15 seasons with the Bruins.

90. Alex Ovechkin

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Team: Washington Capitals

    While Alex Ovechkin may still be very young, he has already made a huge impact on the game.

    Ovechkin is the only player to be named to the NHL First All-Star Team in each of his first five seasons. Even Gretzky can’t say that.

    While his career has been short, he has amassed 610 points in just 472 games.

    Ovechkin also has won three Ted Lindsay Awards (formerly known as Lester B. Pearson Award), two Maurice Richard Trophies, two Hart Memorial Trophies and an Art Ross Trophy.

89. Red Kelly

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    Teams: Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs

    Red Kelly was one of the truly great two-way defenders to ever play in the NHL.

    While Kelly thrived in the offensive zone, scoring 823 points in 1,316 career games, he was an even better defender. He was chosen as the first recipient of the James Norris Memorial Trophy for best defenseman in the NHL.

    Kelly was also a class act on and off the ice, winning three Lady Byng Trophies for most gentlemanly player in the league.

88. Chris Chelios

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Atlanta Thrashers

    Chris Chelios was a work horse. He played in 1,651 NHL games, which is the most of any American-born player, passing the record total of Phil Housley.

    While Chelios was solid in the offensive zone, he was even better in the defensive zone. He was a three-time winner of the James Norris Trophy.

    In 27 years playing in the NHL, Chelios has only missed the playoffs twice, has made 11 All-Star games and won three Stanley Cups.

87. Bernie Federko

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    Teams: St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings

    Bernie Federko got lost in the shuffle because he played during the same generation as Wayne Gretzky.

    Federko played exactly 1,000 games and accumulated 1,130 points over that time. He was one of the most undervalued players of the 1980s.

    Seven out of 14 seasons Federko played, he had over 90 points, and he had over 100 points four times.

86. Scott Niedermayer

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Teams: New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks

    Scott Niedermayer was one of the best offensive defensemen in the history of the NHL. In 1,263 games in the NHL, Niedermayer had 740 points.

    In his 18 seasons, Niedermayer won a Jack Norris Trophy, a Conn Smyth Trophy, appeared in five All-Star games and won four Stanley Cups.

    Niedermayer is also one of the most elite international players of all time, helping Canada win gold medals in everything from the Olympics to the World Junior Nationals.

85. Glenn Anderson

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    Teams: Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues

    Glenn Anderson wasn’t a finesse forward by any means. He took pride in his physical play and was good at using his hitting abilities to shake his opposition.

    In Anderson’s 1,129 games, he amassed 1,099 points (and 1,120 penalty minutes to boot).

    One thing you can't dispute is winning; Anderson won five Stanley Cups with the Oilers and another with the Rangers. I want six Stanley Cups.

84. Curtis Joseph

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    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Team: St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs

    Curtis Joseph, or Cujo as he was known, is one of the better goaltenders in the history of the NHL and has the most career wins of any goalie to never win a Stanley Cup.

    Joseph has 454 wins over his career and 51 career shutouts.

    While Joseph never won a Stanley Cup, he played on some bad teams and kept a lot of them in contention. If he had played on better teams, he could’ve won a lot more games and maybe a championship.

83. Dave Andreychuk

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    Teams: Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Dave Andreychuk was one of the best left wings in the history of the NHL and was one of the true iron men of the sport.

    Andreychuk has played in the fifth-most games in NHL history 1,639. He also is the league's all-time leader in power-play goals with 274.

    While his leadership abilities were some of the best in the league, his offensive prowess was his strong point. He is tied with Denis Savard for 27th in league history with 1,338 points.

82. Joe Thornton

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    Teams: San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins

    “Jumbo” Joe Thornton is one of the bigger centers you will find in the NHL today (or ever). He stands 6’4” and weighs in at around 230 pounds.

    With size like that, he has the strength to play like a power forward, but his talent with the puck allows him to be a finesse player with a physical side.

    In 992 games in the NHL, Thornton has 999 points and looks to cross over the 1,000 point threshold this season.

    Along with winning the Hart and Art Ross trophies in 2006, Thornton is one of the most consistent scorers in the NHL with 11 straight seasons with 20 or more goals and nine straight seasons with 45 or more assists.

81. Rod Brind'Amour

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Teams: St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes

    Rod Brind'Amour was one of the most physically fit players to ever play the game, and his workout regimens were legendary.

    The only thing Brind’Amour did better than work out was shut down the opposition. He is one of the best defensive forwards in NHL history and won the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 2006 and 2007.

    While Brind’Amour wasn’t the best offensive player, it was his contributions to his team on and off the ice that set him apart. His effort and conviction were huge inspirations to his teammates.

80. Phil Housley

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    Teams: Buffalo Sabres, Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs

    Phil Housley was one of the most versatile players in the history of the NHL. While he was best known for his play on defense, Housley also played forward when the team needed that from him.

    Housley was a seven-time All-Star and holds the record for most games played without winning the Stanley Cup with 1,495.

    While he never won a Stanley Cup, Housley is the second-leading scorer amongst players born in the United States with 1,232 points.

79. Sidney Crosby

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    Karl Walter/Getty Images

    Team: Pittsburgh Penguins

    The hype around Sidney Crosby coming into the NHL was unlike anything ever seen before.

    He hasn’t disappointed.

    Crosby has become the youngest player to record or win 100 points in a season, 200 career points, two consecutive 100-point seasons, the Art Ross and Lester B. Pearson Awards and a Stanley Cup.

    On pace for one of the highest points per game marks in history, Crosby has played 371 games and amassed 506 points.

78. Sergei Fedorov

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Teams: Washington Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Detroit Red Wings

    Sergei Fedorov was one of the best Russian players to ever play the game and one of the best two-way forwards to grace the ice.

    Along with winning three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, Fedorov won the Hart Memorial, Lester B. Pearson and Frank J. Selke Awards and is the only player to win all three in one season.

    Ferorov was the first Russian-born player to reach 1,000 points and has the most goals with 483 career goals. In his 1,248 career NHL games, Fedorov has 1,179 points.

77. Dino Ciccarelli

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    Teams: Minnesota North Stars, Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers

    Dino Ciccarelli was one of the wildest players on and off the ice and is considered one of the best players to never win a Stanley Cup.

    While he managed 1,200 points in 1,232 games, it was the scoring touch that he had that helped him score 608 career goals, which ranks him 16th in NHL history in that category.

    Ciccarelli was a four-time All-Star and one of the best undrafted players in NHL history.

76. Jeremy Roenick

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Teams: Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks

    Jeremy Roenick is one of the best American-born players in the history of the league.

    The only thing that matched his offensive prowess was his personality. He was an outspoken player who liked to stir the pot. Perhaps for that reason, his transition into the media has been a successful one.

    The nine-time All-Star has 1,216 points in 1,363 career NHL games and is one of only 41 players to record at least 500 goals.

75. Dominik Hasek

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Teams: Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators

    Dominik Hasek was one of the most unorthodox goaltenders in the history of the league.

    His flopping and flailing in net looked like it wouldn’t work. But it did.

    Hasek was the only goaltender in the history of the NHL to ever win two Hart Memorial trophies in a career. He was also a six-time Vezina trophy winner.

    While with the Red Wings, Hasek became the first European starting goaltender to win the Stanley Cup.

74. Vincent Damphousse

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    Craig Melvin/Getty Images

    Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks

    Vincent Damphousse was one of the most consistent forwards in the late 80s through the late 90s and helped the Montreal Canadiens win a Stanley Cup in 1993.

    Damphousse played 1,378 games in his 19 NHL seasons and amassed 1,205 points, including 432 goals and 773 assists.

    While there were better defensive forwards in the league, Damphousse could hold his own in all three zones and was a real force in the offensive zone.

73. Pavel Bure

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    M. David Leeds/Getty Images

    Teams: Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers

    Although his career lasted parts of 13 seasons, Pavel Bure’s career was destroyed by injuries.

    Bure only managed to play in 702 games, but he amassed 779 points with 437 goals in that short time. He is 24th all time with a points per game average of 1.1.

    Bure won the Calder Memorial Trophy, the Rocker Richard Trophy twice, was a six time All-Star and holds the NHL record for most goals scored in proportion to his team with 29.5 percent in 2001 with the Panthers.

72. Larry Robinson

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    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings

    Larry “Big Bird” Robinson was 6’4”, 225 pounds and a powerhouse on defense for 20 NHL seasons.

    Robinson was one of the strongest defenders of his day, but he was incredibly mobile for his size.

    Robinson’s awards list reads like a career criminal’s rap sheet: two Norris Trophies, a Conn Smythe Trophy and six Stanley Cups.

71. Pavel Datsyuk

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Team: Detroit Red Wings

    Pavel Datsyuk may be one of the best two-way forwards in the history of the NHL, and he still has so much career left.

    Not only is he a two-time Stanley Cup winner, Datsyuk is averaging just under a point per game with 592 points in 606 NHL games.

    Defensively, he is even better. He has won the Selke Award for his defensive prowess, but his four Lady Byng awards show he is still one of the classiest players of this generation.

70. Jarome Iginla

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Team: Calgary Flames

    Jarome Iginla has been one of the most consistent scorers of the latest generation of hockey players.

    Since 1998, Iginla has had at least 28 goals in every season he has played in his NHL career and amassed 1,005 points so far in 1,105 games.

    Iginla is also one of the ironmen of the NHL, having only missed 41 games in 14 NHL seasons. This is hard to believe, given his physical style of play.

69. Dickie Moore

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    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues

    Dickie Moore was one of the best left wingers to ever grace the NHL, and his short time in the league was filled with success.

    Moore was a six-time All-Star who registered 608 points in 719 NHL games.

    If the two Art Ross Trophies weren’t enough to show his greatness, take a look at the Stanley Cup. His name is etched on the cup six times.

68. Teemu Selanne

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    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Teams: Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche

    Teemu Selanne has been a constant threat throughout his career, but his rookie season defined him as a player.

    During the 1992-1993 season, Selanne had the greatest rookie season ever. He registered NHL records for goals and points with 76 and 132, respectively.

    Selanne is a 10-time All-Star and has led the league in goals in three of his 18 seasons, while winning his only championship in Anaheim in 2007.

67. Ed Belfour

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Teams: Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers

    Eddie “The Eagle” Belfour was one of the best goalies of his generation.

    While he won the Calder Memorial Trophy in his first season in the NHL, his success didn’t stop there.

    Belfour won the Vezina Trophy two times in his career, won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999 and was a six-time All-Star.

66. Kent Nilsson

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    Teams: Winnipeg Jets, Atlanta Flames, Calgary Flames, Minnesota North Stars, Edmonton Oilers

    Kent “Mr. Magic” Nilsson was Peter Forsberg before Peter Forsberg was ever around.

    Nilsson only played 553 games in the NHL but was able to amass 686 points in that time.

    While he played more than 300 games in other leagues, his short time in the NHL was marked with two All-Star games and a Stanley Cup in 1987.

65. Mike Gartner

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    Teams: Washington Capitals, Minnesota North Stars, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Phoenix Coyotes

    Mike Gartner wasn’t the flashiest player in the NHL, but he was one of the fastest and most consistent scorers.

    While he never won a Stanley Cup, he holds the record for most consecutive 30-plus goal seasons, tied with Jaromir Jagr with 15, and he holds the NHL record for most 30-plus goal seasons with 17.

    In 19 seasons in the league, he played in 1,432 games while accumulating 1,335 points over his career.

64. Michel Goulet

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    Teams: Quebec Nordiques, Chicago Blackhawks

    Michel Goulet wasn’t the biggest winger in the game, but his shot did the intimidating that his body couldn’t do.

    In 1,089 NHL games, he recorded 548 goals and 604 assists for 1,152 points but never won the Stanley Cup.

    Goulet managed to score at least 20 goals in all but his last NHL year. He enjoyed a stretch of seven consecutive seasons with at least 40 goals and achieved 50 goals in a season in four consecutive years.

63. Ted Lindsay

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    Teams: Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black Hawks

    Ted Lindsay was more than just one of the best players in NHL history. He was one of the most important figures in the formation of the NHLPA.

    For his playing career, he scored over 800 points and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He won the Art Ross Trophy in 1950 and four Stanley Cups.

    While his playing career was extremely successful, it was his success with the formation of the players union that helped revolutionize the game of hockey in North America.

62. Chris Pronger

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Teams: Philadelphia Flyers, Hartford Whalers, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks

    Chris Pronger has had controversy follow him his whole career, but one thing you can't argue with is his success.

    He is one of the biggest defenders in the history of the NHL and plays with a mean streak that is unmatched.

    Pronger is a six-time All-Star, a winner of the Norris and Hart Trophy in the same season (2000) and won the Stanley Cup in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks.

61. Jean Ratelle

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    Teams: New York Rangers, Boston Bruins

    Jean Ratelle wasn’t the flashiest player on the ice, but he was always one of the best.

    Ratelle was one of the most consistent scorers in NHL history, playing in 1,281 games while scoring 1,267 points.

    While he never won a Stanley Cup, Ratelle scored 30 or more goals in eight seasons and passed the 70-point mark 12 times in his career.

60. Tony Esposito

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    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks

    Tony Esposito was one of the best goaltenders in the history of the NHL. Furthermore, his style helped change the game, as Esposito is widely considered one of the forefathers of the butterfly style of goaltending.

    Esposito won three Vezina Trophies, was a six-time All-Star and was the Rookie of the Year in 1970.

    While he was on the Stanley Cup Canadiens team in 1969, he didn’t play much. With the Blackhawks, he won 423 games, had 76 shutouts and had a 2.92 goals-against average.

59. Gilbert Perreault

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    Team: Buffalo Sabres

    Gilbert Perreault was one of the most talented players in the history of the NHL when it came to stick handling.

    Perreault was a nine-time All-Star, a winner of the Lady Byng and Calder Memorial Trophies and is a member of the hockey hall of fame.

    In 17 seasons as a Sabre, Perreault scored 512 goals, 814 assists and 1,326 points. He is 23rd in NHL history in points per game average.

58. Bernie Nicholls

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    Teams: Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks

    Bernie Nicholls was one of the most explosive forwards in the game of hockey early in his career and one of the best defensive forwards later in his career.

    In 17 NHL seasons, Nicholls scored 475 goals and 734 assists for a total of 1,209 career points.

    While he was never widely regarded as one of the best, his ability to play solidly in all zones helped him stay in the league for a long time and even have one of the best seasons in NHL history.

    In 1989, Nicholls had 70 goals and 80 assists for 150 points in 79 games.

57. Jari Kurri

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    Teams: Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Colorado Avalanche

    Jari Kurri was one of the best two-way forwards in NHL history and used his defensive abilities to help open up his offensive chances.

    Having Wayne Gretzky on his side didn't hurt.

    Kurri was an eight-time All-Star and won a total of five Stanley Cups during his career.

    With 1,398 points in 1,251 games, Kurri was one of the most prolific scorers of the 80s and was the first Finnish player inducted into the hall of fame.

56. Mark Recchi

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    Teams: Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Mark Recchi is one of the hardest-working players in the NHL right now.

    And the man is 43 years old.

    Recchi is the longest-tenured active player in the league with 1,652 games played, and he is 13th all time in overall points with 1,533.

    While his days in the NHL may be numbered, his mark on the sport is evident through his two Stanley Cups and seven All-Star selections.

55. Pat LaFontaine

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    Teams: New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers

    Pat LaFontaine is one of the best American-born players in NHL history and one of the players who brought concussions into the forefront of conversation in the NHL.

    LaFontaine only managed to play in 865 games because of several questionable hits to the head and consequent concussions, but he amassed 1,013 points and ranks 16th in NHL history in points per game average.

    While he never managed to win a Stanley Cup, LaFontaine had the best season by an American in NHL history in 1993. With the Sabres, he set team records with 148 points, 53 goals and 95 assists.

54. Frank Mahovlich

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    Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens

    Frank Mahovlich was one of the most complete left wings in NHL history. He had the ability to thread passes along the ice and bury shots when necessary.

    In 1,181 career games in the NHL, Mahovlich has 1,103 points and had 118 points in the playoffs as well.

    Mahovlich played on six Stanley Cup-winning teams and is a member of the hall of fame.

53. Mats Sundin

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    Teams: Quebec Nordiques, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks

    Mats Sundin was one of the longest-tenured, non-North American-born captains in NHL history and was also one of its most consistent scorers.

    Minus the lockout-shortened 1994 season, Sundin scored at least 70 points and played in at least 70 games in every season of his career.

    Sundin is 20th in NHL history with 564 goals, 32nd in career assists with 785 and 25th in career points with 1,349. He is also a nine-time All-Star and the first Swedish player to reach 1,000 points.

52. Brendan Shanahan

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    Teams: New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers

    Brendan Shanahan was one of the best defensive forwards in the league while he played, but his offensive prowess was what he was better known for.

    Shanahan played in eight All-Star games throughout his career and was a big part of three Stanley Cups in Detroit during the 90s.

    In 1,524 games, Shanahan has 1,354 points, which ranks him 24th all time. His 656 goals rank him 11th in history in that category.

51. Eric Lindros

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    Teams: Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars

    Eric Lindros was one of the most dominant centers in the history of the NHL. He wasn’t just dominant offensively, he was 6’4” and took great pride in his physical play.

    Lindros went to seven All-Star games and played in 760 games. He managed to score 865 points. Considering how bad the injuries made the end of his career, his numbers are amazing.

    While postseason success was always there, Lindros never won a Stanley Cup. But he was able to win the Hart Trophy in 1995 as the best player in the league.

50. Boom-Boom Geoffrion

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    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers

    Bernie “Boom-Boom” Geoffrion is widely considered the father of the slapshot.

    He used his wicked blasts to become only the second player in history to score 50 goals in one season.

    In his 16-year career, Geoffrion tallied 393 goals and 429 assists for 822 points through his career.

    Besides winning six Stanley Cups, Geoffrion won the Hart Trophy in 1961 in spite of being overshadowed by teammates Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau.

49. Dale Hawerchuk

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    Teams: Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers

    Dale Hawerchuk wasn’t the biggest center in the league, but his offensive prowess was amazing.

    In 1,188 games in the NHL, Hawerchuk scored 518 goals and added 891 assists for 1,409 career points.

    Hawerchuk is 15th in NHL history in points per game average, and while he never won a Stanley Cup, he is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

48. Glenn Hall

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    Teams: Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black Hawks, St. Louis Blues

    Glenn Hall is Mr. Goalie, and his career was one of the most decorated in NHL history.

    After winning the Calder Trophy, he went on to play in 13 All-Star games, win three Vezina Trophies and set the NHL record for consecutive games started with 502.

    Hall won three Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy in 1968 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.

47. Pierre Turgeon

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    Teams: Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche

    Pierre Turgeon was a finesse forward who had a knack for making his teammates better.

    In 1,294 career games, Turgeon scored 512 goals and had 812 assists for a total of 1,327 points.

    Turgeon won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1993 with the Islanders after posting career highs in goals (58) and points (132).

46. Bryan Trottier

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    Teams: New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins

    Bryan Trottier was one of the better centers to ever play the game of hockey and was a huge part of the New York Islanders' four straight Stanley Cups in the early 80s.

    Trottier is an eight-time All-Star and posted 524 goals and 901 assists for 1,425 points in his career. He also is one of the few players who had at least six 100-plus point seasons.

    While his biggest success was his six Stanley Cups, Trottier is currently 15th all time in regular season points and ninth all time in playoff points. He also won the Art Ross and Hart Trophies in 1979.

45. Luc Robitaille

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    Teams: Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings

    Luc Robitaille could be one of the most underappreciated talents in NHL history.

    Robitaille is the highest-scoring left winger in NHL history with 668 goals and 1,394 points through his career.

    He did not win a championship in Los Angeles, Robitaille won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002 before returning to Los Angeles where he retired, rightly, as a King.

44. Norm Ullman

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    Teams: Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs

    Norm Ullman was known as one of the best stick handlers in NHL history, and I think it has something to do with who he played with in the NHL.

    In only his second season in the league, he centered a line with Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay. His ability to forecheck and play smart with the puck made him a real force.

    Ullman registered 16 NHL seasons with 20 or more goals and had 490 goals and 739 assists for 1,229 points. Ullman also appeared in 11 All-Star games.

43. Peter Forsberg

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    Teams: Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators

    Peter Forsberg was one of the best two-way players in the history of the NHL and used his physical play to open up the ice for himself and his teammates.

    Due to injuries, his career was cut short, but Forsberg’s short time in the NHL was amazing. In just 708 games, he scored 249 goals and added 636 assists for a total of 885 points.

    Along with his seven All-Star games and two Stanley Cups, Forsberg won the Art Ross and Hart Trophies in 2003. He is also ranked fourth in NHL career assists per game.

42. Adam Oates

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    Teams: Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Edmonton Oilers

    Adam Oates was one of the best playmakers in the history of the league and was overshadowed by Wayne Gretzky during his career.

    While Oates never won a Stanley Cup, he was a five-time All-Star and known as one of the cleanest and most gentlemanly players of his time.

    With 341 goals and 1,079 assists for 1,420 points, Oates ranks sixth all time in assists, 16th in points and as one of the best to ever play the game of hockey.

41. Doug Gilmour

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    Teams: St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs

    Doug Gilmour was one of the smallest (and toughest) players in the history of the game. He earned nicknames like “Prince of Pain" and "Archduke of Agony" for his intense physical play.

    After winning the Stanley Cup with Calgary in 1987, Gilmour went on to have an illustrious career in several cities, but his biggest success came in Toronto.

    Gilmour holds the single-season assists record with 95, as well as the record for total points with 127. In 1,474 career games in the NHL, he amassed 450 goals and 964 assists for a total of 1,414 points.

40. Ken Dryden

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    Team: Montreal Canadiens

    Ken Dryden was one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the NHL, and he did it in just over seven seasons in the league.

    Dryden only played in 397 games and won 258 of them. He had a career goals against average of 2.24 and recorded 46 shutouts in his brief career.

    To go with his stingy numbers, Dryden won six Stanley Cups, the Calder and the Conn Smythe Trophies and five Vezina Trophies while appearing in five All-Star games.

39. Paul Coffey

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    Teams: Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes, Boston Bruins

    Paul Coffey is one of the best defensemen to ever lace up the skates.

    Besides the four Stanley Cups he won over his career, Coffey was a 14-time All-Star and set an NHL record for defensemen with 48 goals in 1986.

    Coffey won three Norris Trophies, is 12th all time in points with 1,531 and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

38. Newsy Lalonde

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    Teams: New York Americans, Montreal Canadiens

    Newsy Lalonde is the oldest player on the list.

    Just to show how far back he goes, he scored the first goal in Montreal Canadiens' history.

    Lalonde played for the NHA, which was the precursor for the NHL, and was one of the premier players in that up-and-coming league.

    From 1910 to 1954, he held the record for the most goals scored by a hockey player with 455 goals, a record later broken by Maurice Richard.

37. Al MacInnis

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    Teams: Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues

    Al MacInnis was one of the best offensive defenders in the history of the NHL and third all time among defensemen in goals, assists and points.

    MacInnis was a 13-time All-Star, won the Conn Smythe (and the Stanley Cup) and his first and only Norris Trophy in 1999.

    The real distinction that MacInnis had was his shot. It was one of the hardest shots ever and struck fear in the hearts of other players.

    His infamy grew when MacInnis fired a slapshot from just outside the Blues' zone that struck goaltender Mike Liut on the mask. The shot split Liut's helmet, then fell into the net for a goal.

36. Peter Stastny

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    Teams: St. Louis Blues, New Jersey Devils, Quebec Nordiques

    Peter Stastny was one of the best centers and most consistent scorers to ever play the game.

    While he never won a Stanley Cup, Stastny played in six All-Star games and is one of seven players in NHL history to record six consecutive 100-plus point seasons.

    Stastny is 34th all time in career points and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

35. Alex Delvecchio

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    Team: Detroit Red Wings

    Alex Delvecchio played parts of 23 seasons for the Detroit Red Wings. No player in NHL history played more games with just one team.

    Delvecchio was primarily a center, but he excelled at left wing as well. He was also lucky and talented enough to play on a line with hockey greats Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.

    While with the Red Wings, Delvecchio won three Stanley Cups, played in 13 All-Star games and captained the Red Wings for 12 years. He remains eighth all time in NHL history in games played and is 27th in points scored.

34. Nicklas Lidstrom

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    Team: Detroit Red Wings

    Nicklas Lidstrom is one of the best two-way defenders in the history of the NHL.

    In 18 seasons with the Red Wings, Lidstrom has never had a minus season in +/- rating and is plus-428 for his career. He also has 1,108 points in 1,493 games in the league.

    Lidstrom has won four Stanley Cups, six Norris Trophies and has been voted into 11 All-Star games.

33. Mike Modano

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    Teams: Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Dallas Stars

    Mike Modano is the most successful American-born player in NHL history.

    Modano holds the record for goals and points for an American-born player with 557 and 1,359, respectively.

    While his brightest moment was the Stanley Cup in 1999, Modano was a six-time All-Star and one of the most respected players in the game.

32. Jacques Plante

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    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins

    Jacques Plante is one of the most decorated goaltender sin the history of the league and is considered the father of the goalie mask.

    Plante was one of the first goaltenders to play the puck outside the net and was selected to eight All-Star games.

    With five Stanley Cups, seven Vezina Trophies and an induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Plante is one of the most influential players in NHL history.

31. Henri Richard

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    Team: Montreal Canadiens

    Henri “Pocket Rocket” Richard was the little brother of the famous Maurice “Rocket” Richard.

    While Maurice had the better offensive touch, Henri won 11 Stanley Cups. That's more than any other player in NHL history.

    During Richard’s career, he scored 358 goals and earned 688 assists in 1,256 games. His 1,256 games played as a Canadien is a franchise record.

30. Denis Savard

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    Teams: Chicago Black Hawks, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Denis Savard was one of the most talented puck handlers in the game of hockey.

    With his patented "Savardian Spin-o-rama," he could elude pursuers and either score or make a cross-ice pass to a teammate.

    In 1,196 games, Savard scored 473 goals and added 865 assists for 1,338 points during his career.

    Savard ranks 12th in points per game average, scoring 100 points or more five times and going seven straight seasons with at least 30 goals.

29. Doug Harvey

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    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings

    Doug Harvey is widely considered one of the best defensemen in the league's history and was voted the sixth-best player in NHL history by the Hockey News.

    Harvey is one of the most decorated players in NHL history, winning six Stanley Cups, being named to 11 straight All-Star games and winning seven Norris Trophies.

    While defenders of the time were not asked to be involved offensively, he was one of the first defenders to jump into the offensive play and become a factor in the offense, as well as a shutdown defender.

28. Denis Potvin

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    Team: New York Islanders

    Denis Potvin was one of the most vocal players of his day, and his attitude was only matched by his stellar play as the Islanders key defender.

    Potvin was a true visionary on the ice and was the cornerstone of the four consecutive Stanley Cups for the Islanders in the early 80s.

    A three-time Norris Trophy winner, Potvin is 61st in NHL history with 1,052 points, 41st in assists and 10th among defensemen in career points.

27. Guy Lafleur

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    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Quebec Nordiques

    Guy "Le Demon Blond" Lafleur is one of the most talented forwards in the history of the NHL.

    Lafleur won three Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Memorial Trophies, three Lester B. Pearson Awards and one Conn Smythe Trophy.

    Besides his five Stanley Cups, Lafleur is also 13th in points per game average with 1,353 points in 1,127 games.

26. Howie Morenz

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    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers

    Howie Morenz was one of the original skill players in the NHL and one of the best Canadiens in history.

    Morenz won two Art Ross Trophies, three Hart Trophies and scored 472 points.

    After dying from complications related to a broken leg he suffered in a game at the age of 34, the Canadiens retired his jersey number. It was the first time the team had done so for any player.

    When the Hockey Hall of Fame opened in 1945, Morenz was one of the original 12 inductees.

25. Bernie Parent

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    Teams: Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs

    While Bernie Parent’s career wasn’t as long as others on this list, his talent was on full showcase before an eye injury ended his career.

    Parent had the two greatest back-to-back seasons in NHL history, posting 91 wins, a 1.96 goals-against average, a .926 save percentage and 24 shutouts.

    To go along with those ridiculous stats, he won the Vezina, Conn Smyth and Stanley Cup trophies each of those two seasons.

    His career was cut short after getting hit in the eye with a stick.

24. Eddie Shore

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    Teams: Boston Bruins, New York Americans

    “I was coachin' in Omaha in 1948 and Eddie Shore sends me this guy…”

    Eddie Shore was one of the original bad boys of hockey. He was an angry man who played the game with a ferocity never seen before.

    As a defenseman, Shore won the Hart Trophy four times, which is the most of any defenseman and third overall behind Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe.

    Shore was named an All-Star eight of the first nine seasons that the league named such teams but was always labeled an angry and sometimes ignorant man.

23. John Bucyk

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    Teams: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings

    Johnny “Chief” Bucyk was one of the best left wingers and one of the classiest players in NHL history.

    Bucyk has been a member of the Boston Bruins organization for 50 consecutive years and won the Lady Byng Trophy twice.

    Over his career, Bucyk played in seven All-Star games and recorded 16 20-plus goal seasons and 1,369 career points.

22. Jaromir Jagr

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    Teams: New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins

    Jaromir Jagr was one of the most dangerous players in the NHL during his career.

    A two-time Stanley Cup champion, Jagr is eighth all time in points. He has 646 goals and 953 assists for 1,599 points.

    Jagr is a five-time Art Ross Trophy winner, a Hart Trophy winner and holds the record for most consecutive 70-plus point seasons with 15.

21. Jean Beliveau

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    Team: Montreal Canadiens

    Jean Beliveau is the record holder for most Stanley Cups won by an individual with 10 Stanley Cups as a player and seven as an executive with the Canadiens.

    Along with 17 Stanley Cups, he was the winner of the Hart Trophy twice, Art Ross Trophy once and the Conn Smythe once.

    Beliveau played in 14 All-Star games and registered 507 goals and 712 assists for 1,219 career points.

20. Terry Sawchuk

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    Teams: Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers

    Terry Sawchuk was one of the greatest goalies of all time and one of the toughest humans in history.

    Sawchuk won 501 games, and his record of 103 regular season shutouts stood for 39 years until broken by Martin Brodeur in 2009.

    Along with his four Stanley Cup championships, Sawchuk was also a four-time Vezina Trophy winner.

19. Ron Francis

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    Teams: Hartford Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs

    Ron Francis is one of the most underrated players in NHL history.

    Francis ranks second all time in career assists behind Wayne Gretzky with 1,249, fourth in career points with 1,798, third in games played with 1,731 and 21st in career goals with 549.

    With two Stanley Cups, three Lady Byng Trophies and a Selke Trophy, his class and skill made him one of the NHL's best players for 23 seasons.

18. Joe Sakic

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    Teams: Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche

    Joe Sakic was one of the best players and captains to ever play hockey.

    Sakic carried himself with class and was rewarded in 2001 with the Lady Byng Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy, the Hart Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Award, as well as winning the Stanley Cup for the second time.

    While Sakic’s regular season success translated into being eighth place all time in points with 1,641, 11th in assists with 1,016 and 14th in goals with 625, he was even better in the playoffs.

    During his postseason career, he ranks first in overtime goals with eight, second with 18 goals in one postseason and seventh in points and goals with 188 and 84, respectively.

17. Mark Messier

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    Teams: Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks

    Mark Messier was one of the best players and best leaders to ever grace the ice in the NHL.

    Messier won six Stanley Cups with the Oilers and Rangers and is the only professional athlete to captain two different teams to championships.

    Along with his 15 All-Star selections, Messier won two Hart trophies and is second all time to Wayne Gretzky in points with 1,887. He only trails Gordie Howe in games played with 1,756.

16. Stan Mikita

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    Team: Chicago Blackhawks

    Stan Mikita was the first person to curve his blade and was one of the first players to perfect the slapshot.

    Along with nine All-Star games, Mikita is the only player in NHL history to win the Hart, Art Ross and Lady Byng trophies in the same season, doing so in consecutive seasons.

    Mikita Ranks 14th all time in points with 1,467, 16th in assists with 926, 29th in goals with 541 and 32nd in games played with 1,394.

15. Brett Hull

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    Team: Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes

    Brett Hull was one of the best pure goal scorers ever. He scored 50 goals in 50 games twice in his career.

    To go along with the two Stanley Cups he won, Hull is third all time with 741 goals and 21st with 1,391 career points.

    Hull played with class and is a winner of the Lady Byng Trophy as well as the Hart Trophy. He was an eight-time All-Star, is fourth all time with 33 hat tricks and scored 86 goals in the 1991 season.

14. Bobby Clarke

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    Team: Philadelphia Flyers

    Bobby Clarke was one of the most hard-nosed skill players to ever lace up the skates in the NHL.

    While Clarke’s two Stanley Cups make his case, it doesn’t show how good of a two-way forward he was and the kind of leadership he provided. He liked to fight a bit as well.

    Clarke is 24th in assists and 42nd all time in points, but it’s his plus-506 over his career that is amazing. He is one of the best defensive forwards ever, but his offensive skills overshadowed his ability to play defense.

13. Steve Yzerman

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    Team: Detroit Red Wings

    Steve Yzerman is the second-best Red Wing in history and the best captain in the history of the sport of hockey.

    He is the longest-serving captain in league history with 1,303 games at the helm for the Red Wings.

    The 10-time All-Star is sixth in NHL history in points with 1,755, eighth in goals with 692 and seventh in assists with 1,063.

    Yzerman won three Stanley Cups as a player and one as an executive so far and was a Conn Smythe and Frank J. Selke trophy winner.

12. Ray Bourque

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    Teams: Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche

    Ray Bourque was one of the greatest players and the second -est defenseman in the history of hockey.

    Bourque won the Norris Trophy a record five times and waited longer than any other Stanley Cup-winning player to finally win. He waited 1,612 regular season games and 214 playoff games before finally claiming his one and only title in 2001.

    While Bourque played defense, he had numbers like a forward. He is fourth all time in assists with 1,169, 11th all time with 1,579 points and first all time amongst defenders with 410 goals and points.

11. Mike Bossy

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    Team: New York Islanders

    Mike Bossy was a huge part of the New York Islanders success in the early 1980s and was one of the best snipers in hockey history. Bossy's dominance is exemplified by his .762 goals-per-game percentage, the best in NHL history.

    While injuries cut his career short, Bossy achieved more in ten seasons than many others did their whole careers. In just 752 games, Bossy scored 573 goals and is third in NHL history in points per game average.

    Bossy is fourth in NHL history with seven 100-plus point seasons and holds the record for most consecutive years in a row with 50 or more goals in a single season with nine.

10. Patrick Roy

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    Teams: Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche

    The battle for goalie supremacy begins right here. I ranked Martin Brodeur one spot higher than Patrick Roy, but they are always tied in my mind.

    Roy was an 11-time All-Star and a three-time Vezina Trophy winner. He also ranks second all time in regular season wins with 551.

    Roy’s real strength was in the playoffs. He won four Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and the Avalanche.

    His three Conn Smythe Trophies are the most by any player at any position in NHL history.

9. Martin Brodeur

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    Team: New Jersey Devils

    Enjoy it, folks, because I believe we are witnessing the end of the greatest goaltending career in the history of the NHL.

    Martin Brodeur is the best goalie ever. He is the only goalie in NHL history with eight 40-win seasons and he is a 10 time All-Star.

    To go with his three Stanley Cups, he has four Vezina Trophies and 602 regular season wins—the most ever. He also holds the NHL record for most regular season shutouts with 110.

    Besides all of his awards, Brodeur’s style of being a hybrid between a butterfly and a standup goaltender was the key to his success. His reflexes, positional play and puckhandling made him more dangerous than any other goalie.

8. Marcel Dionne

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    Teams: Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers

    Most people will say that Marcel Dionne is rated too high, but I looked past the lack of a championship and into his loyalty to an organization. Rating him as a player and not on achievement makes him one of the best players ever.

    Dionne played on some terrible teams during his time in the NHL, but he overcame the lack of support at times to be a dominant force. He was never a distraction when the teams were terrible, and he hardly ever missed games.

    Dionne is third all time with eight 100-plus point seasons, fourth in goals with 731, ninth in assists with 1,041 and fifth in points with 1,771.

    While his name does not appear on the Stanley Cup, he was an offensive juggernaut.

7. Phil Esposito

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    Teams: New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks

    Phil Esposito was the best power forward in NHL history.

    He was best known for his unmovable presence in front of the opposing team's net. While planted there, he could score from all angles.

    Along with two Stanley Cups, Esposito won five Art Ross trophies and two Hart Trophies while having 13 consecutive seasons scoring 30 or more goals.

    Esposito is fifth in career goals with 717, 21st in assists with 873 and 10th with 1,590 points.

6. Maurice Richard

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    Team: Montreal Canadiens

    Maurice “Rocket” Richard was the measuring stick used to judge all other goal scorers for years and to this day is known as one of the game's greatest scorers.

    Richard was the first player to score 50 goals in one season, doing so in 50 games, and the first to score 500 goals in a career.

    Along with playing in every All-Star game from 1947 to 1959, Richard won eight Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and won the Hart Trophy in 1947.

5. Bobby Hull

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    Teams: Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets, Hartford Whalers

    Bobby “Golden Jet” Hull is the best left wing to ever play the game and one of the best goal scorers.

    While Hull only won one Stanley Cup, he only played 1,063 games in the NHL due to jumping to the WHA for 411 games. In his relatively short NHL career, Hull scored 610 goals and added 560 assists for a career NHL total of 1,170.

    Hull also collected plenty of hardware in his short NHL career. He won three Art Ross Trophies, a Lady Byng Trophy and back-to-back Hart Trophies in 1965 and 1966.

4. Mario Lemieux

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    Team: Pittsburgh Penguins

    “Super” Mario Lemieux was one of the greatest offensive threats to ever play. If it wasn’t for injuries, his totals could be even higher.

    Lemieux led Pittsburgh to two Stanley Cups as a player and is the only player in NHL history to have three eight-point games in his career.

    Along with 1,723 points in just 915 NHL games, Lemieux was a three-time All-Star MVP. He won six Art Ross Trophies, two Conn Smythe Trophies and three Hart Trophies.

    In 1989, playing in just 76 games, Lemieux scored 85 goals and added 114 assists for 199 points, the second-best season in NHL history.

3. Bobby Orr

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    Teams: Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins

    Bobby Orr changed the position of defense in the NHL forever with his skating speed, scoring and playmaking abilities.

    He revolutionized how defenders are viewed and utilized.

    Orr is the only defender to ever win an Art Ross Trophy, and he won it twice. He also holds the record for most points and assists in a single season by a defenseman.

    Along with two Stanley Cups, Orr won a record eight consecutive Norris Trophies and three consecutive Hart Trophies as well as being second all time with a plus-597 over his career.

    The most amazing stat, though, is that Orr only played 657 games in the NHL before his career was cut short by injuries.

2. Wayne Gretzky

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    Teams: Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers

    I know I am going to hear it that Wayne Gretzky isn’t the top player, but I feel the No.1 player was the best all-around player.

    Gretzky holds every offensive record there is to hold, it seems. But his defensive play at times left a lot to be desired.

    His talent is undeniable. In 20 NHL seasons, Gretzky scored 894 goals and added 1,963 assists for a total of 2,857 career points. All of those stats are NHL records.

    Along with four Stanley Cups, Gretzky won nine Hart Trophies, 10 Art Ross Trophies, five Lady Byng Trophies and two Conn Smythe Trophies.

1. Gordie Howe

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    Teams: Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers

    Gordie Howe was what hockey is all about.

    He deserves the moniker of Mr. Hockey, and in my view, he’s the best complete player to ever play the game.

    One of the keys to his success was the fact that he was ambidextrous. While the sticks were not curved yet, Howe was able to shoot left or right-handed.

    Howe was also considered the toughest player to ever play the game and was known for his fearlessness. When he was a rookie, Howe knocked Maurice Richard out cold with a punch after being shoved.

    While Gretzky played in the offense-driven 80s, Howe earned his points in an era when scoring was difficult and checking was intense. He ranks third in NHL history with 1,850 total points, including 801 goals and 1,049 assists.