The 100 Greatest Players in NHL History
In the history of the NHL, there have been so many great players. To rank the 100 best ever is a daunting task.
When ranking these players, a number of things had to be taken into consideration. Obviously winning was a factor; having a championship on the resume helped. Leadership and being recognized by the game's media and the player's peers as one of the best at their position, either with postseason awards or All-Star game nominations, were also key.
Individual production was very important at every position, but that presented issues. It's hard to compare a player that led the league with 24 goals, and players that skated in an era when 250 goals was Hall of Fame-worthy, to some of the gaudy numbers that were put up during the 1980s and 1990s. So trying to put production into proper context was necessary in the assessment.
Finally, longevity mattered. There are players in the game today that are great, but just haven't done it long enough. Some other players put up ridiculous numbers, but missed time. Again, it's hard to look at players who skated 50-game seasons and compare them to an 82-game schedule, and it's hard to compare "physical" 5'11", 185-pound players with monsters like Zdeno Chara and Chris Pronger today.
But with all of that considered, here are the top 100 players in the history of the NHL. I look forward to the civil dialogue that follows.
100. Ed Belfour
A 2011 Hall of Fame inductee, Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour posted some of the more remarkable seasons in NHL history to begin his career. He won the Calder Trophy, Vezina Trophy and Jennings Trophy (and was runner-up for the Hart Trophy) in 1991. He would win the Vezina again in 1993 and three more Jennings Trophies. Belfour was a five-time All-Star who won the Cup in 1999.
He was good enough early in his career that Chicago basically gave Dominik Hasek to Buffalo for nothing. Today he ranks third in league history with 484 wins and ninth with 76 shutouts.
99. Joe Nieuwendyk
The second of three 2011 Hall of Fame inductees to make this Top 100, Nieuwendyk scored 564 goals and added 562 assists in 1,257 games. He won the 1988 Calder Trophy, the King Clandy Trophy in 1995 and the Conn Smythe in 1999. He played in four All_Star games and was a three-time Stanley Cup winner. His 564 goals rank 21st in NHL history, and his 93 game-winning goals rank ninth all-time.
98. Pavel Datsyuk
The 171st player selected in the 1998 Draft, Datsyuk has four Lady Byng Trophies and three Selke Trophies on his resume. He has (somehow) only played in two All-Star games, and has two Cup championships in Detroit. Through Oct. 19, Datsyuk has 654 points in 666 games in his career, and has been the best two-way forward of the last decade.
97. Scott Niedermayer
Niedermayer put up 740 points in 1,263 games, but that wasn't where he excelled. He was a four-time Cup champion and five-time All-Star who won the 2004 Norris Trophy and 2007 Conn Smythe Trophy. He was, and is, one of the most respected players in the game in the 1990s and 2000s.
96. Scott Stevens
Having 908 points and 2,785 penalty minutes in 1,635 games tell you a great deal about Stevens' game. He was a physical beast who won three Cups with the Devils and was awarded the 2000 Conn Smythe. He played in 13 All-Star Games, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
95. Jacques Lemaire
Lemaire skated 853 games as a center for the Canadiens, scoring 366 goals and adding 469 assists. He was an All-Star twice and scored a career-high 44 goals in 1972-73. He finished with a plus-349 career rating, which is among the 20 best of all-time. Most importantly, he was a member of eight Stanley Cup-winning teams in Montreal between 1968 and 1979.
94. Phil Housley
Housely's 1,232 points are the fourth-highest total among NHL defenseman in history. He skated in seven All-Star games and his 894 assists are the 19th-highest total all-time.
Perhaps equally impressive, Housley was involved in trades that also included Dale Hawerchuk, Keith Tkachuk and Al MacInnis.
93. Mats Sundin
The top overall pick in the 1989 Draft, Sundin went on to play in eight All-Star games. He scored 564 goals and added 785 assists for 1,349 points in 1,346 games. His 31 short-handed goals ranks 18th in NHL history.
92. Lorne Chabot
Chabot won the Vezina Trophy in 1935, and was a member of the 1928 Rangers and 1932 Leafs Cup-winning teams. His 201 wins still rank 68th in NHL history and his 71 shutouts rank 11th, remarkable when you consider he retired in 1937.
91. Doug Gilmour
Gilmour, a 2011 Hall of Fame inductee, scored 450 goals and added 964 assists in 1,474 games. He was awarded the Selke Trophy in 1993, played in two All-Star games, and was a member of the 1989 Stanley Cup champion Flames. He ranks 12th in league history in assists and 17th in total points with 1,414.
90. Dit Clapper
Clapper was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947 after accumulating 228 goals and 246 assists in 833 games, all with Boston. The Bruins won three Cups with Clapper in the lineup, and he was named to the all-NHL first or second team six times.
89. Dickie Moore
Moore scored 261 goals and added 347 assists in 719 NHL games between 1951 and 1968. He led the NHl with 84 and 96 points in 1957-58 and 1958-59, respectively, winning the Art Ross in both seasons. He was a six-time All-Star and won the Cup six times in Montreal as well.
88. Brad Park
A bruising defenseman who piled up 1,429 penalty minutes in 1,113 games between the Rangers, Bruins and Wings, Park also scored 896 points. He was awarded the Masterton Trophy in 1984 and played in nine consecutive All-Star games (1970-78).
87. Mike Modano
Modano was the top overall pick in the 1988 Draft, and lived up to the hype. He recorded 561 goals, 92 of which were game-winners, and added 813 assists in 1,499 games before retiring this summer. He played in seven All-Star games and won the Cup in 1999 in Dallas. He ranks 23rd in NHL history in goals scored, and 27th in assists. He's 22nd in points scored as well.
86. Elmer Lach
A center with the Canadiens from 1940 to 1954, Lach led the league in points twice while posting 623 points in 664 games. He won the Hart Trophy in 1945 and the Art Ross Trophy in 1958, was a three-time All-Star, and won three Cups with the Habs.
85. Eric Lindros
Also known as "Brett Lindros' brother," the top overall pick in 1991 had a lot to live up to. Lindros scored 372 goals and added 492 assists in 760 NHL games during a career that was plagued by injuries. He won the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award in 1995, played in six All-Star games, and his point per game average of 1.138 ranks 18th in NHL history.
84. Georges Vezina
Of course Vezina was a goalie, but his numbers in limited action are why his name is on a trophy. He won 103 games in 190 appearances and won three Stanley Cups with the Habs, all while not making his NHL debut until he was 31 years old. He was the first great goalie in NHL history.
83. Serge Savard
A big defenseman, Savard played 1,040 games and posted 439 points. He won the Conn Smythe in 1969, and the Masterton Trophy 10 years later. He was a four-time All-Star who won seven rings in Montreal.
82. Jarome Iginla
Through Oct. 19, Iginla has 1,007 points in 1,111 games. He has scored 485 goals and added 522 assists, with 76 of his goals winning games. Few forwards have been as physical as Iginla in the last 15 years, and his respect around the league has been obvious. He has played in five All-Star games.
His finest season was 2001-02, when he earned the Art Ross and Rocket Richard Trophies as well as the Ted Lindsay Award. He won the Rocket Richard and the King Clancy Trophies in 2004 as well.
81. Milt Schmidt
Schmidt spent his entire career in Boston, playing 776 games and scoring 229 goals. He won two Cups in Boston, played in four All-Star games and was awarded the 1951 Hart Trophy.
80. Rod Langway
Langway was a big defenseman for the Habs and Capitals between 1978 and 1993. He posted 329 points in 994 games, but was a six-time All-Star and won the Norris Trophy in 1983 and 1984. He was a member of the 1979 Cup champions in Montreal.
79. Bill Mosienko
The 1965 Hall of Fame inductee was one of the premier players in the NHL during the World War II Era. He posted 540 points, including 258 goals, in 711 games for the Blackhawks between 1941 and 1955. He played in five All-Star games and won the 1945 Lady Byng Trophy.
Mosienko is best remembered for recording the fastest hat trick in NHL history, when he scored three goals on Lorne Anderson of the Rangers in 21 seconds on March 23, 1952.
78. Andy Bathgate
Bathgate won the 1959 Hart Trophy, played in eight All-Star games, and won the Cup with Toronto in 1964. He accumulated 349 goals and 624 assists in 1,069 games between the Rangers, Leafs, Wings and Pens.
77. Steve Larmer
Only 11 wings in NHL history average a point per game in over 1,000 games. Steve Larmer was one of them. He finished his career with the record for consecutive games played for one team, 884, and eclipsed 30 goals on nine occasions. He registered 1,012 points in 1,006 games, including 441 goals.
He didn't miss a game, or the postseason, for 10 years while wearing the Hawks sweater. After watching management deal away names like Savard, Wilson and Murray, Larmer had to continue in a long Blackhawks tradition of leaving Chicago to win the Cup. He did so with the Rangers.
The 10 other wings to average a point per game as a wing are:
LW: Bobby Hull, Michel Goulet
RW: Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr, Jari Kurri, Brett Hull, Guy LaFleur, Teemu Selanne, Theo Fleury, Joe Mullen
76. Chris Pronger
Drafted by the Hartford Whalers second overall in 1993, Pronger's best season came in 1999-2000 when he won the Hart and Norris Trophies in the same season. He has played in five All-Star games and won the Cup with Anaheim in 2007. Through Oct. 19, he has 692 points in 1,159 games.
75. Henri Richard
Overshadowed by his brother, Henri certainly wasn't a slouch. He posted 1,046 points in 1,256 games. Henri appeared in 10 All-Star games, won 11 Stanley Cups in Montreal and won the 1974 Masterton Trophy.
There are great stories about Richard and Dennis Hull, brother of Bobby, talking trash before the puck dropped. Apparently the focus of their discussion was which more famous brother was better.
74. Bernie Parent
Parent was a five-time All-Star who had two of the best seasons in Philadelphia history. In 1973-74 and 1974-75, Parent won the Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophies and led the Flyers to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles. He finished with 271 wins and 54 shutouts.
73. Luc Robitaille
Robitaille scored 668 goals and added 726 assists for 1,394 points in 1,431 games. He scored 89 game-winning goals. The 1987 Calder Trophy winner won the Cup in Detroit in 2002 and played in eight All-Star games. He ranks 10th in history in goals scored and 23rd in points scored.
72. Brian Leetch
A good all-around defenseman who was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2009, Leetch set a career-high with 102 points in 1991-92. He finished his career with 1,028 points in 1,205 games, almost all of which were played for the Rangers. Leetch won two Norris Trophies, the Calder Trophy in 1989 and the Conn Smythe in 1994. He played in nine All-Star games and was a member of one Stanley Cup champion.
71. Pat LaFontaine
LaFontaine racked up 1,013 points in only 865 NHL games, including 468 goals. His 1.171 points per game is better than Steve Yzerman, Eric Lindros, Denis Savard and Jarri Kurri. He won the 1995 Masterton Trophy and was a five-time All-Star.
70. Bill Cowley
Cowley was a key center on two Cup champions in Boston in 1939 and 1941, and won two Hart Trophies. He was named to the all-NHL first team on four occasions, and finished in the league's top 10 in scoring eight times.
69. King Clancy
A defenseman that broke into the NHL as an 18-year-old, Clancy accumulated 283 points in 592 NHL games. He was a member of three Cup champions, and was considered one of the great early leaders in the league. Since 1988, an award bearing his name has been awarded based on leadership and humanitarian contributions to the game.
68. Joe Mullen
Mullen is one of the best American-born scorers ever. He scored 502 goals and 561 assists in 1,062 games, to finish with one point above being a point-per-game player for his career. He also had 73 game-winning goals for the Blues, Flames, Pens and Bruins. Mullen played in three All-Star games, won the Lady Byng Trophy twice and was a member of three Cup champions.
67. Adam Oates
Oates piled up 1,079 assists and 341 goals in 1,337 games. His assist total is the sixth-highest in NHL history, and he is one of only 18 players to eclipse 1,400 points in a career. He played in five All-Star games in the 1990s and finished among the league's top 10 in points seven different times.
66. Charlie Gardiner
Gardiner was one of the first superstars in the NHL who was taken away from the game far too soon. A goalie for the Blackhawks, Gardiner is the last goalie to serve as captain on a Stanley Cup-winning team (1934). He won two Vezina Trophies and was selected as all-NHL first team on three occasions before he left the ice in pain while his teammates celebrated their Cup victory in '34. He had an infected tooth that led to complications, ultimately costing him his life that summer.
65. Lanny McDonald
Over 1,111 games, McDonald finished his career with exactly 500 goals. He added 506 assists to cross the 1,000-point plateau in a final season that ended with him lifting the Stanley Cup in 1989. He was a four-time All-Star who also won the 1983 Masterton Trophy and the King Clancy Trophy in 1988.
64. Michel Goulet
Goulet racked up 548 goals and 604 assists in 1,089 games between the Nordiques and Blackhawks, including four 100-point seasons and four consecutive 50-goal seasons. He played in five All-Star games and his 1,152 points rank 49th in league history. Goulet and Bobby Hull are the only left wings in history to skate over 1,000 games and average better than a point per game.
63. Toe Blake
Between 1934 and 1948, Blake was one of the early snipers to dominate the NHL. He scored 235 goals in 577 games, leading the league in points once. He won the Hart Trophy in 1939 and the Lady Byng Trophy in 1946, was all-NHL first or second team on five occasions, and won three championships with the 1935 Montreal Maroons and the Habs in 18944 and 1946.
62. Keith Tkachuk
"Walt" was a five-time All-Star who piled up 538 goals and 1,065 points in 1,201 games. While still in Winnipeg, he was almost traded to Chicago for Jeremy Roenick, but was ultimately traded three times before calling it a career in St. Louis in 2010. Eventually he'll find a home in the Hall of Fame.
61. Mark Recchi
Recchi just retired, but he finished with 1,533 points in 1,653 games including 577 goals. He played in seven All-Star games and won a Stanley Cup with three different organizations. His point total ranks 12th in NHL history, and his goal and assist totals are also in the top 20 all-time.
60. Borje Salming
Salming broke the mythical mold of soft Scandinavian players by bringing a tough approach to the blue line in Toronto. He posted 787 points and 1,344 penalty minutes in 1,148 games. He was a three-time All-Star (1976-78). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
59. Jari Kurri
In 1,251 NHL games, Kurri was as explosive as any player in the game. He piled up 601 goals and 797 assists, scoring at a 1.117 points per game rate as a right wing on some great teams. He won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1985, played in eight All-Star games and was a member of five Cup-winning Oilers teams between 1984 and 1990.
58. Jeremy Roenick
One of the finest American-born scorers in the history of the game, Roenick scored 513 goals and added 703 assits in 1,363 games. He was also clutch, scoring 92 game-winning goals and 184 power play goals in his career. Though he never won the Stanley Cup, he did play in nine All-Star games and the Olympics. Between 1991-1994, Roenick put together three consecutive 100-point seasons (103 followed by two 107 point seasons) and established himself as one of the dominant offensive threats in the game.
57. Peter Forsberg
"Foppa" stacked up 885 points in only 708 NHL games, including 249 goals and 636 assists. He won the Calder Trophy in 1995, and then won the Art Ross and Hart Trophies in 2003. Forsberg skated in five All-Star games and was a member of two Cup champions in Colorado. He ranks 10th in NHL history in points per game (1.250).
56. Earl Seibert
Seibert was a big, strong defenseman who was rumored to be the only player in the NHL that Eddie Shore wouldn't fight. He was named to the All-NHL first or second team on 10 occasions and won two Stanley Cups with the 1933 Rangers and 1938 Blackhawks.
The end of Seibert's career is a terrible story, though. He's remembered not as a Hall of Fame-caliber defenseman, but for being involved in the collision that ultimately led to the passing of Howie Morenz. Seibert was so put off by the injury that he didn't even attend his own Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Seibert's father, Oliver, was inducted two years prior to Earl, making them the first father-son tandem to be in the Hall together.
55. Charlie Conacher
Conacher led the NHL in goals five times in the 1930s and points twice, accumulating 225 goals in 459 games. He was a member of the 1932 champions in Toronto and was a member of the NHL's first All-Star team three times.
54. Sid Abel
In only 612 games, mostly with Detroit between 1938 and 1954, Abel scored 189 goals and added 283 assists. He won the Hart Trophy in 1949, played in three All-Star games and was a member of three Cup champions in Detroit. He led the NHL with 28 goals during the 1948-49 season.
53. Tim Horton
Horton was a seven-time All-Star and a member of four Stanley Cup championship teams in Toronto in the 1960s. He isn't remembered for his scoring, but rather for being one of the strongest players in the history of the game. Unfortunately, Horton was killed in a single-car crash while driving home to Buffalo after a game in Toronto as a member of the Sabres on February 21, 1974. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977 as a player, not a donut shop owner.
52. Dale Hawerchuk
The top overall pick in the 1981 Draft, Hawerchuk was an elite scorer throughout his career. From 1981-82 to 1987-88, Hawerchuk topped 100 points in six of seven seasons. He scored 518 goals and 891 assists in 1,188 games for the Jets, Sabres, Blues and Flyers. He won the Calder Trophy in 1982, played in five All-Star games, and still ranks 18th in NHL history in points.
51. Gilbert Perreault
The center of The French Connection in Buffalo, Perreault had a remarkable career with the Sabres. He scored 512 goals and added 814 assists in 1,191 games, and scored 81 game-winning goals. Perreault won the Calder Trophy in 1971 and the Lady Byng Trophy in 1973, and skated in six All-Star games.
50. Johnny Bucyk
Bucyk, a two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner and seven-time All-Star, finished his Hall of Fame carer with 556 goals and 813 assists. he was a central figure on the 1970 and 1972 Cup champion teams in Boston. He is still one of the most respected and loved Bruins of all-time, and his 1,369 points are only part of the reason why.
49. Jacques Plante
Plante's most notable impact on the game was the introduction of a mask to goaltending, but his career is much deeper than "saving face."
He won 437 games in 837 appearances, won the Vezina Trophy seven times and the Hart Trophy once. Plante skated in eight All-Star games and won six championships with the Habs. As a 40-year-old in St. Louis in 1968-69, Plante and Glenn Hall may have been the finest one-two goalie tandem in league history.
48. Red Kelly
Kelly has a remarkably versatile NHL resume. He skated as a center and as a defenseman, and later coached. When the dust settled, he had won four Lady Byng Trophies and the 1954 Norris Trophy, was a 12-time All-Star, and had been a key member of eight Stanley Cup champions (four each in Detroit and Toronto). Kelly finished with 281 goals and 542 assists in 1,316 games.
47. Peter Stastny
Stastny was one of the first Eastern European players to run away from communism and find a home in the NHL. He won the Calder Trophy in 1981 and was a six-time All-Star. He scored 450 goals in only 977 games, and registered 1,239 total points. His 1.268 points per game ranks eighth in NHL history, just ahead of Jaromir Jagr and Peter Forsberg.
46. Johnny Bower
Bower was between the pipes for four Stanley Cup championships with Toronto in the 1960s. He skated in four All-Star games and won the Vezina Trophy twice. Three times he led the league in goals against average, and he recorded 250 wins and 37 shutouts in his great career.
45. Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion
In 883 games, Boom Boom led the league in goals and points twice, including a 50-goal campaign in 1960-61. Between 1953 and 1960, Geoffrion kissed the Cup with the Habs six times. He was an All-Star 11 times, won the Calder Trophy in 1952, two Art Ross Trophies and the Hart Trophy in 1961.
44. Max & Doug Bentley
More than 55 years before anyone cared about the Sedins, Max and Doug Bentley were two of the elite forwards in the NHL.
Doug got to the league first in 1939 and scored 219 goals in 566 games. He led the league in goals twice and points once, played in five All-Star games.
Max scored 245 goals in 646 NHL games between 1940 and 1954. He led points twice and goals once, won one Lady Byng Trophy and the 1946 Hart Trophy. Max was a four-time All-Star who won three Cups with Toronto.
43. Chris Chelios
Chelios played in 1,651 games, the fifth-highest total in league history and most ever for a defenseman. He was a member of three Cup championship teams, first in Montreal in 1986 and two in Detroit in 2002 and 2008. He won three Norris Trophies and played in 11 All-Star games. Among defensemen, only Marty McSorley accumulated more than Chelios' 2,891 penalty minutes. He represented the United States on the Olympic stage honorably as well.
42. Ron Francis
Francis ranks fourth in NHL history with 1,798 points, but was shockingly minus-10 in his career. His 1,249 assists are the second-highest total in NHL history. Francis skated in four All-Star games, and was a member of Pittsburgh's back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992. He won the Selke Trophy in 1995, the King Clancy in 2002 and three Lady Byng Trophies in his great career that lasted 1,731 games—the third-most games played in league history.
41. Larry Robinson
Not surprisingly, Robinson starred on the great Canadiens dynasty of the 1970s. He was a member of six Cup champions between 1973 and 1986, the first five of which came in a seven year window. He won two Norris Trophies, the 1978 Conn Smythe and appeared in 10 All-Star games.
40. Tony Esposito
Ah, the irony that the younger brother of scoring great Phil Esposito did such a magnificent job of keeping pucks out of the net!
Unlike his older brother, Esposito wasn't originally a member of the Blackhawks but was traded to Chicago, where he became a Hall of Famer. He won the Calder Trophy in 1970 and the first of his three Vezina Trophies the same year. Esposito appeared in six All-Star games, and his wins (423) and shutouts (76) both still rank in the top 10 all-time.
39. Teemu Selanne
Selanne has at least the 2011-12 season left in him, but his credentials are already easily good enough for a spot in the Hall of Fame. He won the Calder Trophy in 1993, the Rocket Richard Trophy in 1999, and the Masterton Trophy in 2006. Selanne has been an All-Star 10 times, and his 639 goals already rank 14th in NHL history. With 57 more points, Selanne will become the 19th player to register 1,400 points in his career.
38. Ken Dryden
Dryden only appeared in 397 NHL games between 1970 and 1979, but he won 258 of them. With the Canadiens, Dryden won the Conn Smythe in 1971 and then won the Calder Trophy in 1972. In five of the seven subsequent seasons, Dryden won the Vezina Trophy. He has six Stanley Cup rings and played in five All-Star games.
37. Alex Delvecchio
Delvecchio was outstanding for Detroit over all 1,549 games in his career. He scored 456 goals and added 825 assists, played in 13 All-Star games, won the Lady Byng Trophy three times and was on three Cup-winning Red Wings teams.
36. Denis Savard
Savard's 1.119 points per game are better than Jean Beliveau, Mark Messier, Bryan Trottier, both Bobby and Brett Hull and Jari Kurri. He skated in seven All-Star games, most memorably in 1991 when he returned to the Chicago Stadium as a member of the Canadiens after being dealt to Montreal for Chris Chelios the summer prior. Two years later, Savard would win the Stanley Cup as a member of his hometown Habs. He totalled 1,338 points, including 473 goals, and is credited with creating the spin-o-rama.
35. Martin Brodeur
Brodeur has appeared in 1,134 games, all with New Jersey. His 625 wins and 116 shutouts are the most in NHL history, as are the 28,483 shots he has faced. Since winning the 1994 Calder Trophy, Brodeur has played in nine All-Star games, won five Jennings Trophies and four Vezina Trophies. He has three Stanley Cup rings with the Devils as well.
34. Paul Coffey
Selected sixth overall in a very good 1980 Draft that also included names like Troy Murray, Denis Savard, Brian Mullen, Steve Larmer, Bernie Nicholls, Jari Kurri, Andy Moog, Brent Sutter and Larry Murphy, Coffey may be the best of the lot.
As a defenseman, Coffey's 1,531 points trail only Ray Bourque in league history. He won three Norris Trophies while averaging more than a point per game over his great career. Coffey was a key member of three Oilers championship teams (1984, '85 and '87) and the Pens' championship team in 1991, and played in 14 All-Star games.
33. Joe Sakic
Sakic currently ranks eighth in NHL history with 1,641 points, including 625 goals. He won two Stanley Cups with the Avs, played in 12 All-Star games, and concluded his finest season in 2000-01 with not only a Cup win, but the Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and Lady Byng Trophy. He also won the Conn Smythe in 1996, and will remain the gold standard of both production and leadership in Colorado for generations to come.
32. Jaromir Jagr
Now back in the NHL with the Flyers after a number of years in Europe, Jagr was one of the most electrifying players in the game during the 1990s. He has 1,603 points in only 1,278 games, and his 646 goals are 12th all-time (both numbers through Oct. 19).
Jagr has two Stanley Cup rings from his time in Pittsburgh, and played in nine All-Star games. He won the Hart Trophy in 1999, has three Ted Lindsay Awards and five Art Ross Trophies on his resume.
31. Dominik Hasek
Hasek might be the most decorated goalie in NHL history. Only Jacques Plante won more than his six Vezina Trophies, and he is the only netminder with more than one Hart Memorial Trophy (he won two). Hasek also has three Jennings Trophies and two Ted Lindsay Awards to his credit, and was part of two Stanley Cup champions in Detroit. He played in six All-Star games between 1996 and 2002. During his nine seasons in Buffalo, Hasek remarkably had a save percentage of at least .930 on four occasions.
30. Brett Hull
The first Hull to make the list (though his uncle Dennis wasn't far away), Bobby Hull blew past the remarkable achievements of his uncle and father. His 741 goals rank third in NHL history (regular season, not including any soccer-related moments of glory). He was a member of two Stanley Cup champions, and played in eight All-Star games. Hull won the 1990 Lady Byng and, in 1991, won the Ted Lindsay Award and Hart Trophy.
29. Al MacInnis
Between Calgary and St. Louis, MacInnis is one of the great underappreciated defenseman and leaders of all-time. He won the 1989 Conn Smythe and the 1999 Norris Trophy, played in 12 All-Star Games and his 1,274 points are the third-highest total for a defenseman in NHL history.
28. Pierre Pilote
Pilote is a name that gets lost on the Blackhawks rosters of the 1950s and 1960s because he wasn't as sexy as Hull or as productive as Mikita. But he was one of the best defenseman to ever play the game. In the 1960s, he skated in eight All-Star games and won three consecutive Norris Trophies (1963-65). At a time when offensive production wasn't expected from the blue line, Pilote cracked the league's top 10 in scoring once and was a threat to score while still playing an outstanding defensive game.
27. Bobby Clarke
Between 1969 and 1984, Clarke was the face—and hair—of the Flyers. He produced 1,210 points in 1,144 games, won the 1972 Masterton Trophy, 1973 Ted Lindsay Award, 1983 Selke Trophy and four Hart Trophies. Clarke represented the Flyers in eight All-Star games in the 1970s, and led the Flyers to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975.
26. Denis Potvin
His 1,052 points are seventh all-time among defensemen, and he was nearly a point per game d-man for more than 1,000 games (1,052 points in 1,060 games). Potvin won the Calder Trophy in 1974, three Norris Trophies in four years, and skated in nine All-Star Games. He was also a key member of the Islanders four-peat between 1980-1983.
25. Patrick Roy
Between his time in Montreal and Colorado, Roy was arguably the finest netminder of one of the great generations of goalies in NHL history. He won 551 games, 66 of which were shutouts, and finished with a .910 save percentage and 2.54 goals against average. He was an 11-time All-Star, won four Stanley Cups (two each with the Habs and Avs), won the Conn Smythe Trophy three times, the Vezina three times and the Jennings Trophy five times.
24. Marcel Dionne
Because his career overlapped names like Bossy, Gretzky and Mikita, many fans—especially on the east coast—neglect the legacy of Dionne. He averaged 1.314 points per game, a better number than Jaromir Jagr, Peter Forsberg, Phil Esposito and Alex Ovechkin. Unfortunately for the respect of history, he did most of his work in LA before Gretzky got there.
Dionne's 1,771 points rank fifth all-time, and he did it in 1,348 games. His 731 goals are fourth all-time. He won the Lady Byng twice, the Ted Lindsay twice and the 1980 Art Ross Trophy. He skated in eight All-Star games.
23. Steve Yzerman
Yzerman played 1,514 games, scored 692 goals and totalled 1,755 points...all in a Detroit Red Wings sweater. His point total is sixth in league history. He won the Ted Lindsay Award in 1989, the Conn Smythe in 1998, the Selke Trophy in 2000 and the Masterton Trophy in 2003. "Stevie Y" was a member of three Cup champions in Detroit and played in nine All-Star games.
22. Bryan Trottier
Between 1975 and 1994, Trottier was one of the best two-way forwards in the game. He piled up 1,425 points, including 524 goals, in 1,279 games. He won the Calder trophy in 1976, the Art Ross and Hart Trophy in 1979, the 1980 Conn Smythe and the King Clancy in 1989. He was an eight-time All-Star and was a member of six Stanley Cup Champions (four with the Islanders and two with the Pens).
21. Nicklas Lidstrom
Lidstrom is the highest-ranked active player on the list, and for good reason. He is tied with Doug Harvey for second all-time with seven Norris Trophies, and ranks sixth among defensemen with 1,109 career points (as of Oct. 19). He also won the 2002 Conn Smythe, and has been a member of four Cup champions in Detroit. Lidstrom is an 11-time All-Star.
20. Frank Mahovlich
Mahovlich was one of the more dominant players of the 1960s and 1970s. He played in 15 All-Star games and was a member of six Cup champions (four in Toronto and two in Montreal). Mahovlich finished with 533 goals and 1,103 points in his career.
One funny story about Mahovlich comes from a bar in Toronto before the All-Star game in 1962. At that time, the All-Star game was played before the season started. At a party the night before the game, Chicago owner Big Jim Norris and Leafs owner Harold Ballard were throwing back cocktails and Norris made Ballard a shocking proposal: $1 million for Mahovlich. Ballard accepted the "trade," but when he was more sober the next day he returned the 10 $100 bills Norris had handed him the night before as a "down payment."
19. Guy LaFleur
A six-time All-Star, LaFleur was also a five-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Habs. He won three Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Trophies, three Ted Lindsay Awards and one Conn Smythe trophy. His legendary career ended with 560 goals, 793 assists and his 1.202 points per game is the 13th-highest in league history.
18. Ted Lindsay
Lindsay was a four-time champion with the Red Wings, played in 11 All-Star games and won the 1950 Art Ross Trophy. His numbers might not be as overwhelming as some of the names this high on the list (851 points in 1,068 games), but very few will question Lindsay's play or leadership.
Off the ice, Lindsay was dealt out of Detroit in 1957 because he was instrumental in the development of the NHL Players Association (with Hall of Fame goalie Glenn Hall).
17. Eddie Shore
Between 1926 and 1940, there wasn't a more imposing player on the ice than Eddie Shore. He piled up 1,047 penalty minutes in only 550 games, but also contributed 284 points over that span. He was awarded the Hart Trophy four times and was a member of two Stanley Cup championships teams in Boston (1929 and 1939).
16. Mike Bossy
Bossy's 1.497 points per game ranks third in NHL history, behind only a couple guys named Wayne and Mario. He may have been limited to 752 NHL games, but Bossy's 10 seasons were as impressive as any in league history. He scored 573 goals, was credited with 82 game-winning goals and earned 553 assists. He was the centerpiece of the Islanders four-peat between 1980-83, won the Calder Trophy, the 1982 Conn Smythe and three Lady Byng Trophies. Bossy was a seven-time All-Star.
15. Stan Mikita
Before we look at his statistical record, there are two important distinctions that Mikita must be noted for. First, Mikita was the first Czechoslovakian-born player in the NHL. A look at the incredible pipeline of great Czechs since then makes his contribution to the game as the first a huge accomplishment. Secondly, Mikita is credited with being the first player in NHL history to use a curved blade.
On the ice, Mikita was a force in 1,394 games with the Blackhawks. He scored 541 goals and posted 926 assists. He was a member of the 1961 Stanley Cup Champions, played in nine All-Star Games, won four Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Trophies and two Lady Byng Trophies.
14. Mark Messier
Messier finished his brilliant career with the second-most points in NHL history and having played in the second-most games. His 1,887 points are more than Gordie Howe posted, and Messier played in 11 fewer games. He is third in NHL history with 1,193 assists and his 694 goals still rank seventh in league history. Messier played in 15 All-Star Games, won two Hart Trophies, the 1984 Conn Smythe, and two Ted Lindsay Awards. Between 1984 and 1994, Messier was a member of six Stanley Cup Champions.
13. Jean Beliveau
In the 1950s and 1960s, not may players were as widely associated with their team as Mikita, Gordie Howe and Beliveau. Over his brilliant career, Beliveau scored 507 goals and finished his 1,125 game career with 1,219 points. He played in 13 All-Star games, won two Hart Trophies, one Art Ross Trophy and the 1965 Conn Smythe. Between 1956 and 1971, Beliveau led the Habs to 10 Stanley Cup championships.
12. Glenn Hall
During his 18-year NHL career, Hall posted a 407-327-163 record, 2.51 goals-against-average and recorded 84 shutouts. He is widely regarded as the grandfather of the butterfly style of goaltending that is now dominant in the league, won three Vezina trophies, was a first-team All-Star seven times and won the Conn Smythe despite losing the Cup in 1968.
But beyond his gaudy numbers, the stat that is most impressive for Hall is 502. Without wearing a mask, Hall played in 502 consecutive games between the pipes. Think about that...eight seasons without missing a game without a mask. That might be as impressive today as any of Gretzky's offensive numbers.
11. Raymond Bourque
One of the great moments in the game's history was when Bourque was handed the Stanley Cup by Joe Sakic. He had already played well enough in Boston to earn a place in the Hall of Fame, but he didn't want to walk away without a ring. He won five Norris Trophies and was an elite defensive defenseman, but many fans don't realize he was almost a point-per-game player from the blue line. He posted 1,579 points in 1,612 games and scored 60 game-winning goals.
10. Terry Sawchuk
Most players that skated with or against Sawchuk will tell you he was the greatest netminder of his generation. Sawchuk won the Calder Trophy in 1950-51 and the Vezina Trophy four times. He would win three Stanley Cups in Detroit and one with the Leafs, and skated in 11 All-Star games. Sawchuk still ranks fifth all-time in wins with 447.
9. Howie Morenz
Morenz was the first superstar in the NHL, playing with Montreal from 1923-24 to 1933-34. Injuries slowed the final few years of his career, but an awful injury that ultimately led to his death scarred the early days of the game. He scored 271 goals in 550 games, won three Hart Trophies and was a member of four Cup champions with the Canadiens.
8. Doug Harvey
If Bobby Orr hadn't re-defined the position, Doug Harvey would still be considered the gold standard on the blue line. He won seven Norris Trophies (still tied for second all-time). Harvey was a member of six Cup champions in Montreal and played in 13 All-Star Games.
7. Phil Esposito
One some of the most dominant teams in the history of the league in Boston, Esposito averaged 1.240 points per game over his Hall of Fame career. He won the Hart Trophy twice and led the league in scoring five times. Between 1968 and 1975, Espo eclipsed 125 points in six of seven seasons.
6. Maurice "Rocket" Richard
There's a reason his name is on one of the most prestigious offensive awards given to an individual player in the NHL today. The "Rocket" scored 544 goals in 978 games, and was almost a point-per-game players in the 1940s and 1950s—an era when nobody got close to that benchmark. He was a member of eight Stanley Cup champions in Montreal, and was the first NHL player to reach 500 career goals.
5. Bobby Hull
Bobby Hull was the first player in league history to blast past 50 goals in a season, and is the greatest LW in the history of the game. Only Messier, Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky posted over 1,800 points in the NHL, but if Hull's WHA numbers (638 points in 411 games) are added to his NHL numbers (1,170 points in 1,063 games), he would be the fourth player to qualify.
4. Gordie Howe
Howe is one of only three players in NHL history to pile up over 1,800 points, and is one of only two players in league history to score over 800 goals. He also piled up over 1,600 penalty minutes and defined the game in Detroit for more than one generation. It's hard to believe there have been three players in NHL history better than Howe (but there were).
3. Bobby Orr
Orr is the greatest defenseman to every play the game. He holds the all-time record with eight Norris Trophies (which could be challenged by Lidstrom this year), and was an offensive force from the blue line that had never been seen before—and hasn't been seen since.
2. Mario Lemieux
In NHL history, only Gretzky (1.921) posted more points-per-game than Super Mario (1.883). Not only was he the second-most dominant player of his generation, but his impact on the league after retiring has been equally important. He is personally responsible for the Pens still being in Pittsburgh. He scored 690 goals and added 1,033 assists in only 915 games, and finished his career plus-115.
1. Wayne Gretzky
1,487 games played
91 game-winning goals
9 Hart Memorial Trophies
5 Lady Byng Memorial Trophies
18 All-Star Games
4-time Stanley Cup Champion
Do I need to continue listing Gretzky's accolades? He has more assists than anyone else in NHL history has points, and his even-strength goals (617) would rank 16th in league history (ahead of Bobby Hull). He is, without question or peer, the best and most dominant player in NHL history.
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