While the idea of a “best” in any kind of sport is ultimately subjective, there are always a handful of athletes who stand out among their peers. Hockey is a sport full of iconic moments and memorable characters, but more than that it is home to some of the most incredible talent, instinct, and athleticism in the history of sports. Here are the top 10 all-time greats in NHL history:

10. Doug Harvey: A rare defenseman with offensive instincts and anticipation.

9. Maurice Richards: Maurice “Rocket” Richards was known for his ability to score goals with nearly unparalleled accuracy and frequency.
8. Martin Brodeur: Recognized for having the most wins of any goalie in the history of the league.
7. Mario Lemieux: His accuracy and versatility are Lemieux’s claim to NHL fame, having once scored 5 goals in 5 different ways in the same game.
6. Jean Beliveau: Standing at 6’3”, Beliveau was known in the NHL for bringing finesse, precision, and a sort of elevated elegance to Hockey.
5. Mark Messier: A true leader among NHL players, Messier had a knack for leading his teams to legendary victories.
4. Bobby Hull: Known also as the “Golden Jet”, Hull terrorized opponents with his intensely fast slap shot.
3. Bobbie Orr: While he proved to be a skilled defender, Orr was most well known for his speed on the ice.
2. Wayne Gretzky: Perhaps the most recognizable name among NHL Players, it was Gretzky’s athletic intellect and opponent anticipation that made him such an incredible player.
1. Gordie Howe: Known for his overall skill in the sport and his willingness to engage in physical confrontation with his opponents. (FUN FACT: A player who registers an assist, a goal, and receives a fighting major penalty is said to have mastered the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick”.)