10. Mark Messier
Second in the NHL for most career games and points. He played under Gretzky’s shadow in Edmonton where he won five Stanley Cups and then went to the New York Rangers where he won their first Stanley Cup in 50 years after he personally guaranteed the Rangers would win a game over the New Jersey Devils. What makes Messier truly great is not his toughness or point scoring but his leadership which he is recognized as the greatest leader of all-time.
9. Scott Stevens
Scott Stevens was a big part of the trap defense of the 1990’s. His toughness and solid defensive play won the Devils three cups in a 30 team NHL in less than 10 years. Stevens is the league’s greatest body checker of all-time who like Richard scared opponents with his eyes alone. He finally won a major award in 2003, when he won the Conn Smythe for winning his third Stanley Cup for the devils.
8. Guy Lafleur
Guy Lafleur was part of the 1970’s Canadiens which is considered one of the most dominant dynasties of all-time. In 1976-77 they lost only 8 out of 80 games. Lafleur is the first player to score 50 goals and 100 points in six straight seasons.
7. Doug Harvey
The most consistent defenseman in the NHL ever. Bobby Orr broke most of his records but Harvey played 18 seasons and was an instrumental part of the Canadiens 1950’s Stanley Cup wins.
6. Dominik Hasek
No goalie intimidated NHL goal scorers than Hasek. He brought his GAA to under 2 a game, and his unorthodox style changed goaltending in the NHL. Stand-up goalies soon became obsolete as Hasek’s butterfly style made it near impossible for teams to score on him. His greatest moment was the 1998 Olympics where he stopped all five Canadian shooters in the shootout.
5. Gordie Howe
No player has played in more games. Gordie Howe played till he was 52 with skill, toughness, and surpassed endurance. Mr. Hockey is third in the league for points and the term the “Gordie Howe” Hat Trick for a goal, an assist, and a fight is still used to recognize the impact he made on the game.
4. Maurice “The Rocket” Richard
The first player to score 50 goals in 50 games is considered the greatest goal scorer in NHL history. Richard will always be known as the greatest Canadiens player of all-time for his 544 goals and Eight Stanley Cup rings.
3. Bobby Orr
The league’s first offensive defenseman. Orr brought a new offensive element to the game when as a defenseman he won the Art Ross trophy and made the offensive defenseman a vital part of the game. His career with cut short by a knee injury but in his short career no other defenseman was as dominant.
2. Mario Lemieux
The NHL’s most lethal goal and point scorer on a per game basis. He has been called the greatest player of all-time by Scotty Bowman, the NHL coach with the most wins, and has one two Stanley Cups and was the MVP of both wins. He arrived as a superstar play at 1987 Canada Cup where he scored the game winner. Unlike Gretzky he didn’t play for a dominant team and most of his career he’s been plagued by a bad back and cancer. But kept coming back and he is still playing in the NHL at 39.
1. Wayne Gretzky
Over 61 NHL records, 4 Stanley Cups, and two time Canada Cup MVP. Wayne Gretzky shattered most of the league’s offensive records and was part of two of the greatest NHL teams ever assembled. The Edmonton Oilers of the 1980’s and the 1987 Team Canada team. The holder of the records most goals, assists, and points for both the regular season and the playoffs made the pass an essential part of the game. There will never be a greater stickhandler and in his prime Gretzky goal make any linemate a consistent goal scorer.