NHL is a professional ice hockey league with 32 teams spread across North America and Canada. Twenty-five of those teams are based in the United States and seven in Canada. In North America and Canada, this series of professional ice hockey games is the most important professional sports league. The league was founded at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal on November 26, 1917. 

In the NHL you will find players from more than 20 countries, which attracts many highly skilled players from all over the world. We won’t be covering the NHL in general or specific NHL picks in this article, but instead talking about the top NHL players of all time. So without further ado, let’s begin to discuss the top NHL players of all time.

1• Wayne Gretzky

With more assists in his career than any other player scored total points, Gretzky is the most prolific goal scorer, assist producer, and point earner in NHL history. Several times he has scored over 200 points in a single season, which is a feat he has accomplished four times.

2• Gordie Howe

In his first 25 seasons as a professional hockey player, he played for the Detroit Red Wings. He passed away on June 10, 2016 at age 90. Gordie Howe played professional ice hockey in the World Hockey Association for 26 years before retiring at the age of 67. In addition to winning the Stanley Cup four times with the Red Wings, he also won six Hart Trophies as the NHL’s most valuable player.

3• Bobby Orr

His full name is Robert Gordon Orr, and he was born on March 20, 1948. Former professional ice hockey player considered among the greatest of all time, internationally acclaimed athlete. Served as the MVP during the 1976 Canada Cup International Hockey Tournament. 

4• Sidney Crosby

As an ice hockey center, Crosby represents the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League. Crosby was the Penguins’ first overall selection in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. It is his nickname, “Sid the Kid,” and he has earned the title “The Next One”. He was born in Kelowna, British Columbia, on August 7, 1987. 

5• Maurice Richard

Montreal Canadiens legend Maurice Richard was born on August 4, 1921. He was considered one of the greatest players in the history of the team. In 18 seasons, he played professional ice hockey for the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League. 

6• Mark Messier 

Mark Messier was a professional ice hockey center of the National Hockey League for 25 years, during which times he played for the Edmonton Oilers, the New York Rangers, and the Vancouver Canucks. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, he was born on January 18, 1961. 

7• Phil Esposito

Hockey Hall of Fame member Phil Esposito played and coached professional ice hockey for many years. In his 18 years of playing in the National Hockey League, he played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, and New York Rangers. He was born on February 20, 1942. 

8• Alexander Ovechkin 

Known as the greatest goal scorer in the history of the National Hockey League, Alexander Ovechkin is a Russian professional ice hockey winger and captain. He holds the NHL record for power play goals with the most in the league. Having been born in 1985, Alexander Ovechkin is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. 

9• Bobby Hull

Bobby Hull, also called “The Golden Jet” due to his blonde hair and speedy skating, was the most prolific scorer on a left wing in the history of the National Hockey League. A former hockey player who was born on January 3, 1939, he is regarded as one of the best players of all time. 

10• Bryan Trotter

Bryan Trotter was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 17, 1956 and was a former professional ice hockey center who played 18 seasons in the National Hockey League and won four Stanley cups with the Islanders, four with the Penguins, and one as an assistant coach. 

11• Jari Kurri

He was the first Finnish player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001 as a former professional hockey player and five-time Stanley Cup champion. Currently, he owns Jokerit and is its general manager. The day of his birth was May 18, 1960. 

12• Henri Richard

A Canadian professional hockey player, Henri Richard played center for the Montreal Canadians in the NHL between 1955 and 1975. Following in the footsteps of his older brother, the famous Canadian hockey player Maurice “Rocket” Richard, he was nicknamed “Pocket Rocket.” Richard was born in Quebec City on February 29, 1936. 

13• Adam Oates 

Born on August 27, 1927, Adam Oates is a former pro ice hockey player and current coach for the New Jersey Devils. Adam Oates was previously the head coach of the Washington Capitals.

14• Toe Blake 

During his career as a player and coach in the NHL, Joseph Hector “Toes” Black represented Canada in ice hockey. Over the period of 1935 to 1948, he played for both the Montreal Maroons and the Montreal Canadiens. He was born on August 21, 1912. 

15• Guy Lafleur 

The former Canadian professional hockey player Guy Lafleur has retired from playing. His six straight seasons with 50 goals and 100 points rank him among the top players in National Hockey League history. On September 20, 1951, he was born in Ontario. 

Conclusion

Throughout hockey’s history there have been many famous players, but it is impossible to mention each one in such a short article, and all of the players that are listed above are considered some of the greatest players of all time. Alternatively, if you know of any other top players who play in the NHL, please let us know. 

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