NHL Players

20 Best Players In The Hockey Hall Of Fame

By Kapil Sapkota / 19 December 2023 09:20 AM

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Receiving an induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame is arguably the most significant achievement for a hockey player. The HHoF honors the individuals who have made tremendous contributions to ice hockey.

Most Hockey Hall of Famers are the National Hockey League (NHL) players. NHL, the biggest premier professional ice hockey league in the world, attracts many of the best players from around the globe.

As a result, many players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame have had illustrious careers in the NHL.

Wayne Gretzky is considered to be the greatest ice hockey player of all time. The HHoF inducted Gretzky in 1999.

1. Wayne Gretzky

894 NHL goals and 1,963 points throughout Gretzky's 20-season NHL career are the highest records in the league.

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Wayne earned over 100 points in 15 professional seasons. He is the only player to accumulate over 200 points in one season and has accomplished this feat four times.

He scored 122 playoff goals and 382 points, appearing in 208 NHL games.

Gretzky's #99 jersey has been retired league-wide by the NHL at the 2000 NHL All-Star Game. The ice hockey legend was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999.

2. Gordie Howe

A 1972 Hockey Hall of Famer, Gordie Howe skated in the NHL for 26 seasons, primarily with the Detroit Red Wings beginning the 1946-47 season. Howe led the league 5 times in goals and 6 times in points.

Gordie's 801 NHL goals and 1,850 points stood as the most in the league for decades until Wayne Gretzky surpassed it.

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The Red Wings franchise honored Howe, retiring his #9 jersey in March 1972. He was enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the same year.

3. Bobby Orr

A prolific ice hockey defenceman, Orr played his first 10 seasons with the Boston Bruins and two with the Chicago Black Hawks.

Orr set the record for most points and assists in a single season by a defenceman, a feat he accomplished twice. He won the Norris Trophy 8 times in a row as the best defenceman, an NHL record that still stands.

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On 9 January 1979, the Bruins franchise retired Orr's #9 number uniform. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the same year as the youngest player to receive the honor.

4. Mario Lemieux

Lemieux contributed his 17-year NHL career to the Pittsburgh Penguins. From 1984 to 2005 in the league, Mario won two Stanley Cup titles with the Pens back to back in 1991 and 1992.

The forward has 1,033 goals and 1,723 points from 915 NHL games.

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Upon his retirement, Mario was the league's seventh-highest career points scorer with 690 goals and 1,033 assists. He became an HHoF member in 1997.

5. Jean Beliveau

Beliveau played in the Quebec Major Hockey League before beginning his NHL journey with the Montreal Canadiens in 1953.

He picked up 10 Stanley Cups with the Canadiens during their dominance period in the league.

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Jean earned 507 goals and 1,219 points skating in 1,125 NHL games.

The Canadiens honored Beliveau retiring his #4 jersey in October 1971. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame the following year.

6. Mark Messier

A name synonymous with hockey greatness, Mark Messier had a 25-year NHL career from 1979 to 2004.

He captained the Edmonton Oilers to five Stanley Cup championships in seven years. Mark also led the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup championship after 54 years in 1991.

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Messier's 1,887 points in the regular season are good enough to rank third league-wide. He is also one of the top goal-scorers of all time.

Mark received an enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2017, the NHL named him one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in History.

7. Maurice Richard

There are many records in the name of the Montreal Canadiens' icon Maurice Richard.

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Maurice was the league's all-time goal leader with 544 upon his retirement in 1960. He was selected for 14 NHL All-Star teams.

Richard won 8 Stanley Cup titles with the Canadiens franchise. The right winger was also the first NHLer to reach 500 NHL career goals.

The Canadiens retired his #9 jersey in 1960. The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted him in 1961 waiving its five-year waiting period for eligibility.

8. Bobby Hull

Bobby Hull was nicknamed "Golden Jet" for his skating speed, end-to-end rushes, and ability to shoot the puck at very high velocity. 

Born in 1939, Hull's talent blossomed early. By 18, he was a Chicago Blackhawk player. Hull led the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup victory in 1961.

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The Canadian left-winger accumulated 610 NHL career goals and 1,170 points playing in 1063 games.

In addition to his achievements in the NHL, the player also won 3 Avco Cups in the WHA with the Winnipeg Jets.

Bobby became an honored Hockey Hall of Fame member in 1983. In 2011, the Blackhawks installed the statues of Hull and Stan Mikita outside their home, the United Center.

9. Guy Lafleur

A Montreal Canadiens legend and a cultural icon, Lafleur was among the most talented players in NHL history. 

Guy led the Canadiens to a staggering five Stanley Cups in seven years between 1973 and 1979.

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Lafleur was the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals and 100 points in six consecutive seasons. His 1,353 NHL points, including 560 goals, were earned from 1,126 contests.

The Hockey Hall of Fame enshrined the Canadian in 1988. In 2017, the NHL named him one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in History.

10. Ray Bourque

Bourque's career in the NHL spanned for an incredible 22 seasons, starting in 1979.

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Bourque's 410 goals and 1,579 points stand first league-wide among the defencemen. His 1,169 assists are 4th all-time in the NHL records.

The player is the all-time career leader in games played (1,518), assists (1,111), and points in the Bruins franchise.

Following his retirement in 2001, both the Bruins and the Avalanche honored Bourque by retiring his #77 jersey. Ray received an induction in the HHoF in 2004.

11. Dominik Hasek

Hasek was one of the NHL's most successful goalies of the 1990s and early 2000s. 

Debuted in 1990 with the Chicago Blackhawks in the league, Hasek spent most of his career with the Buffalo Sabres, from 1992 to 2001.

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Dominik's .922 save percentage is the highest in the league. Hasek's total of 81 shutouts ranks the 6th most in the NHL.

The netminder picked up the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002 and 2008.

The NHL goaltender became a Hockey Hall of Fame member in 2014. The Sabres retired his #39 jersey in January 2015.

12. Steve Yzerman

A former NHL forward Steve Yzerman, spent his complete NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings. He served as the captain of the Red Wings franchise for two decades, beginning the 1986-87 season.

In 1997, Yzerman led the Red Wings to its first-ever Stanley Cup.

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His 692 career goals are good enough to stand 7th league-wide, while his 1,755 points rank tenth.

Honoring Stever, the Detroit franchise retired his #19 jersey in January 2007. He was awarded an HHoF induction in 2009.

13. Paul Coffey

Paul Coffey spent over two decades in the NHL and began his hockey journey at a young age.

Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1980, he quickly made his mark alongside Wayne Gretzky, forming one of the most dominant offensive duos in NHL history.

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His 1,531 career points are the 14th most in the league. He ranks second among NHL defencemen in goals, assists, and points.

The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Paul in 2004. The Oilers retired his #7 uniform in the following year.

14. Stan Mikita

Stan Mikita's 23-year career with the Chicago Blackhawks was brilliant. The forward captained the team for two seasons and helped the Hawks earn the Stanley Cup champion title in 1961.

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Stan is the first player to have his jersey number (#21) retired by the Blackhawks. He received this honor in October 1980.

Mikita became a Hockey Hall of Famer in 1983. The Slovak Hockey Hall of Fame inducted him in 2002.

15. Larry Robinson

Debuted in the NHL 1972-73 season with the Montreal Canadiens, Robinson won six Stanley Cups. He spent his last three seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and retired in 1992.

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Following his retirement in 1983, Robinson started as an NHL assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils and won the 1995 Stanley Cup and again in 2000 with the Los Angeles Kings.

In 1998, Larry was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Canadiens franchise retired his #19 jersey in November 2007.

16. Brett Hull

A hockey legend and one of the most prolific goal-scorers in NHL history, Hull has left an indelible mark on the sport with his remarkable skill and ability to find the back of the net. His 741 career goals rank 5th in the league.

Hull made history by becoming the first player to score more than 50 goals in five consecutive seasons from 1989 to 1994. He consecutively led the league with 70 or more goals from 1989-90 to the 1991-92 seasons.

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Hull became an HHoF member in 2009.

17. Denis Potvin

A 1991 Hockey Hall of Famer, Potvin spent his complete NHL career with the New York Islanders and clinched four Stanley Cups with the team.

Potvin debuted in the league with the Islanders in 1973, was named the captain of the team in 1979, and remained in the position until 1987.

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Upon his retirement in 1988, he was the leader in goals (310) and points (742) by a defenceman in the NHL.

The Islanders retired Potvin's #5 uniform in February 1992, making him the first Islanders player to receive the honor.

18. Scott Niedermayer

Niedermayer skated in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks. Spending over two decades in the league, Niedermayer left an indelible mark on the sport.

The defenseman won 3 Stanley Cups with the Devils and one with the Ducks, playing a key role in the success of both teams.

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The NHL defenseman became a Hockey Hall of Fame member in 2013. He was also inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame two years later.

19. Nicklas Lidstrom

A legendary player of the Detroit Red Wings, Nicklas Lidstrom skated 20 seasons in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings from 1991 to 2012. He served the team as the captain in the final six seasons of his career.

Lidstrom earned four Stanley Cup championship titles.

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During Lidstrom's career with the team, the Red Wings never missed the playoffs. It is the longest record for a player never missing the playoffs in league history.

The Detroit Red Wings honored Nicklas by retiring his #5 jersey in March 2014. The following year, he was enshrined in the IIHF Hall of Fame and Hockey Hall of Fame.

20. Martin Brodeur

The New Jersey Devils' long-time goaltender, Brodeur, played 21 seasons for the team and one with the St. Louis Blues between 1991 and 2015.

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Martin helped the Devils win the Stanley Cup championship titles three times. He was selected for the NHL's All-Star Game 9 times between 1996 and 2007.

In 2016, the Devils retired Brodeur's #30 uniform. The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted him in 2018.