Ranking The 8 Best NHL Players Of All Time

Author: Megha


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There’s always something to discuss in the hockey world. Right from matches to scores and statistics to insider news, there’s no dearth of topics. But today, we are going to discuss the best NHL players of all time.  

 

Experts at Sportsreviews did thorough research and came up with a list of the eight best NHL players. These are the players who have changed the game forever and have become transcendent figures in the sport. Although most past-generation players still rule the NHL history, some new-gen players managed to get into the list. Among thousands of players, we have whittled down the list to the top 8. 

 

Read on to see our picks for the best NHL players. 

 

Here Are The 8 Best NHL Players 

1. Alex Ovechkin

2. Sidney Crosby

3. Leon Draisaitl

4. Gordie Howe

5. Wayne Gretzky

6. Bobby Orr

7. Mario Lemieux

8. Connor McDavid

 

1. Alex Ovechkin

 

 

Alex Ovechkin or Alexander Mikhailovich Ovechkin is a Russian ice hockey player and the captain of the National Hockey League's Washington Capitals. He is popularly known as "the Great Eight" and is regarded as one of the best NHL players of all time. He began his professional career at the age of 16 in 2001. Alex began playing in the Russian Super League (RSL) in Dynamo Moscow for four long years. Back then, he was a highly-touted prospect and hence was picked by the Washington Capitals in 2004. This was his entry into the NHL world. But because of the 2004–05 NHL lockout, he remained in the Russian team and played his first-ever game with the Capitals in October 2005. Since then, he has been with the Capitals and is considered one of their best players. Although his career had been a roller coaster ride, he always came out to be a better player. He has achieved various honors and awards in his entire career and is considered one of the best NHL players and greatest goal scorers in the entire league.

 

Born: September 17, 1985

Position: Left-wing

Shoots: Right

NHL Team: Washington Capitals

NHL Draft: 1st overall, 2004

Playing Career: 2001–present

 

2. Sidney Crosby

 

Sidney Patrick Crosby, a.k.a. Sidney Crosby, is a Canadian professional ice hockey player and the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. He was nicknamed "Sid the Kid" by his fans and was regarded as one of the best NHL players even before the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him as a No. 1 choice. Crosby started his career at a very young age. At the age of seven, when he was on the minor hockey team, he gave his first-ever newspaper interview, which was when he started getting attention. In 2003, he finally moved from minor hockey and was selected in the draft by the Rimouski Océanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). During his two years of career there, he earned several awards and led his club to the 2005 Memorial Cup final. Finally, in 2005, he entered the NHL Entry Draft and was listed first overall in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau and International Scouting Services. On July 30, 2005, Crosby, one of the best NHL players, was finally selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins, and to date, he is playing for the same team. 

 

Born: August 7, 1987

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

NHL Team: Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL Draft: 1st overall, 2005

Playing Career: 2005–present

 

3. Leon Draisaitl

 

Next on the list, we have listed another one of the best NHL players, Leon Draisaitl. He is a German professional ice hockey player and alternate captain for the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League. Leon is one of the players who grew up among professional players. His father, Peter, played professionally, and the younger Draisaitl was in the Western Hockey League. Leon’s major junior career started in 2012 with the Western Hockey League (WHL). He played as a significant junior for two years, and in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, he was drafted third by the Edmonton Oilers. Leon became one of the best NHL players and highest-drafted German players in the league’s history, which made him gain the popularity he has today. Since 2014, he has been a part of the Edmonton Oilers and has represented Germany internationally several times. Leon Draisaitl has achieved many awards and honors during his career and has also been voted the most outstanding player by members of the NHL Players' Association.

 

Born: October 27, 1995

Position: Center / Left-wing

Shoots: Left

NHL Team: Edmonton Oilers

NHL Draft: 3rd overall, 2014

Playing Career: 2014–present

 

4. Gordie Howe

 

Canadian professional ice hockey star, Gordie Howe, was an ambidextrous player who revolutionized the game. He is considered one of the best NHL players as he is the first person who scored a tremendous record of 801 goals, 1049 assists, and 1850 total points in the NHL. But later, the records were broken by Wayne Gretzky. Howe started his career in hockey in 1942 when he won his first championship at Saskatchewan Provincial Bantam Hockey Finals. During that time, he used to play bantam hockey with the King George Athletic Club in Saskatoon. However, his entry into the world of hockey was in the year 1943 when the New York Rangers invited him to their training camp. Later in 1944, Detroit Red Wings noticed Howe and invited him to their camp in Windsor, Ontario. They then signed him to their junior team and provided him the opportunity to showcase his talent. There on, he achieved many honors and awards and was recognized as one of the best NHL players for decades. 

 

Born: March 31, 1928

Died: June 10, 2016

Position: Right-wing

Shoots: Ambidextrous

Played For Teams: Detroit Red Wings, Houston Aeros, New England Whalers, Hartford Whalers

Playing Career: 1946–1971 & 1973–1980

 

5. Wayne Gretzky

 

 

Wayne Douglas Gretzky is a former Canadian professional ice hockey player as well as a former head coach. He is one of the best NHL players who has been known for his otherworldly talent, finesse, and speed. Between 1979 to 1999, Wayne played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) with four different teams. No matter with whom he was playing, he was always seen miles ahead of other players. During his career, he made several records from the ranks of peewee hockey to the NHL. Among all his accomplishments, one of the most prominent was his long-standing record of scoring an unprecedented 894 goals. Also, he amassed 1,963 assists over his 21 years which is the record that no other player has been able to break in the history of the NHL. With his unbeatable talent, Wayne Gretzky has popularized ice hockey in the United States and paved the way for its expansion in the country.

 

Born: January 26, 1961

Position: Centre

Shoots: Left 

Played For: Indianapolis Racers, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers

NHL Draft: Undrafted

Playing Career: 1978–1999

 

6. Bobby Orr

 

Robert Gordon Orr, a.k.a Bobby Orr, is widely regarded as one of the best NHL players and finest ice hockey defensemen. Prior to him, the position of defensemen was never taken that seriously. But with his speed, scoring, and playmaking abilities, he revolutionized this position. When it comes to his hockey career, he displayed his talent and interest in the game at an early age and played his first-ever game in 1953 when he was just five years old. Later in 1961, Orr came to the attention of the Boston Bruins while playing in a youth hockey tournament in Gananoque, Ontario. It’s not just Boston Bruins; three other NHL teams were interested in Orr. But he signed the Bruins' contract in 1962, and from there, his professional career with the team started. During the tenure of his career, he achieved several awards, honors, and recognition. In 1969-70, he became the first defenseman to lead the National Hockey League in points (120). He also won a record of eight straight Norris Trophies, making him one of the best NHL players. But his injuries while playing had shortened his career. 

 

Born: March 20, 1948 

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

Played For: Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks

Playing Career: 1966–1978

 

7. Mario Lemieux

 

 

Another professional ice hockey player on the list is Mario Lemieux. He is one of the best NHL players and greatest goal scorers with incredible speed and agility. Lemieux began his hockey career with the Laval Voisins of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). In just 70 games, Lemieux broke the league record with 133 goals and 149 assists. With such achievements, his appearance at the Canadian junior ice hockey national championship was highly anticipated. Years later, on October 11, 1984, Lemieux made his debut with the Boston Bruins and came into the limelight by stealing the puck from Hall of Fame defenceman Ray Bourque and scoring a goal against Pete Peeters. In his entire career, he made several records and achieved honors and awards. While he was doing great in his career, he announced in 1993 about Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis. Because of the disease, he had to leave his career, but he returned before taking his first retirement in 1997. He again returned to the game in 2000 and played for five more seasons. In 2006, he retired from the game.  

 

Born: October 5, 1965

Position: Centre

Shoots: Right

NHL Team: Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL Draft: 1st overall, 1984

Playing Career: 1984–1997 & 2000–2006

 

8. Connor McDavid

 

Connor Andrew McDavid is the captain of the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League and a renowned Canadian professional ice hockey player. He is one of the best NHL players who stepped into the world of sports by playing minor ice hockey with the York-Simcoe Express of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA). Connor McDavid later moved to the Toronto Marlboros of the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL), where he played bantam. Later, when he was just 15 years old, he entered the 2012 OHL Priority Selection even when he was not eligible because of his age. He played multiple games and won various titles and awards. Then, in 2015, McDavid was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL Entry Draft, which was the start of his professional hockey career. Among various achievements in his entire career, he is popularly known for playing at the international level for the Canadian national junior team at one World U18 Championship, two World Junior Championships, and the senior team at one World Championship.

 

Born: January 13, 1997

Position: Centre

Shoots: Left

NHL Team: Edmonton Oilers

NHL Draft: 1st overall, 2015

 

Playing Career: 2015–present

 

Final Words:

Here are our top picks for the best NHL players. We have taken into consideration players’ past achievements and future potential while compiling this list. We find these players the cream of the National Hockey League crop. Has your favorite player made the list? 

 

 

 

 


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