Greatest NHL Player for Each Jersey Number – The Hockey Writers – Hockey History

Debates over great NHL players have been conducted for decades. People have debated over the greatest player to play each position, who the best goal scorer is, and who the greatest playmaker is. This will be a list of the greatest NHL player to have worn each number from 00-99.

Some numbers have been worn by multiple Hall of Famers, while others have been worn by only a handful of players ever. It should be noted that the amount of time spent wearing the number will be taken into account for this list. Meaning that even if a player is considered to be a superior player but only wore a given number for one season they will likely be passed over. Whether it be an all-time great or a forgotten player, here are the greatest players to have worn every jersey number in the NHL.

00 – John Davidson

Runner-up: Martin Biron

Only two players have ever worn the double zeros in the NHL. John Davidson wore 00 for the New York Rangers during the 1977-78 season. Davidson appeared in 34 games and posted a .899 save percentage.

The only other player to wear the number was Martin Biron. Biron only donned the doughnuts for three games before being forced to switch to the number 43.

No player has worn 00 since, as the NHL has banned the use of the number due to their database not being able to register it.

0- Neil Sheehy

There has only been one player to wear a single zero as a jersey number in NHL history. That man is Neil Sheehy. He wore the number for one season with the Hartford Whalers in 1987-88 where he scored just five points. Not good, but he makes it on the list by default.

1 – Johnny Bower

Runners-up: Jacques Plante, Roberto Luongo, Terry Sawchuk

Many goalies wore the number one but the late Johnny Bower takes the top spot. As a four-time Stanley Cup Champion, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, an all-star and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Bower will forever remain a symbol of excellence for the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.

Johnny Bower
Johnny Bower (THW Archives)

2 – Brian Leetch

Runners-up: Eddie Shore, Duncan Keith, Doug Harvey

Brian Leetch’s list of accolades is a mile long. A Calder Trophy winner, Norris Trophy winner, Conn Smythe Trophy winner, and Stanley Cup Champion, Leetch was described as “magical” by teammate Mark Messier.

3 – Pierre Pilote

Runners-up: Zdeno Chara, Gary Galley

Pierre Pilote was one of the NHL’s best defencemen in the 1950s. He won three Norris Trophies and a Stanley Cup alongside Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull in 1961.

4 – Bobby Orr

Runners-up: Jean Beliveau, Red Kelly, Vincent Lecavalier

There is some stiff competition for the greatest player to ever wear number four. Bobby Orr takes the spot as the greatest defenceman of all time and the man who revolutionized the position during his time in Boston.

5 – Nicklas Lidstrom

Runners-up: Denis Potvin, Guy Lapointe

One of the greatest Swedes to ever play the game, Nicklas Lidstrom is the greatest player to wear the number five. The twelve-time all-star won seven Norris Trophies and four Stanley Cups with one of hockey’s greatest dynasties.

6 – Phil Housley

Runners-up: Toe Blake, Shea Weber

Phil Housley was drafted number six overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 1982. Housley played in 21 seasons and totalled 1232 points for eight different franchises.

7 – Phil Esposito

Runners-up: Paul Coffey, Rod Gilbert, Tim Horton

Seven is another number with a handful of Hall of Fame candidates. Phil Esposito comes away as lucky number seven. The greatest goal scorer of his generation, Esposito scored 156 points in 1976-77 amidst his run of five scoring titles in six seasons.

Phil Esposito
Phil Esposito (THW Archives)

8 – Alexander Ovechkin

Runners-up: Teemu Selanne, Cam Neely, Drew Doughty

The Great Eight. Alexander Ovechkin finally hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup in 2018, accomplishing the feat that had alluded him for his entire career. Ovechkin is on pace to challenge Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 career goals. Claiming that record would secure his place as the game’s greatest goal scorer.

9 – Gordie Howe

Runners-up: Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, John Bucyk, Bobby Hull, Mike Modano

There is perhaps no number filled with as much elite talent as number nine. That is partially due to the influence of the man chosen as the best to ever wear the number, “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe. Howe was the ultimate hockey player and inspired hundreds of future NHL players.

10 – Guy Lafleur

Runners-up: Pavel Bure, George Armstrong, Ron Francis

To be the all-time leading scorer in Montreal Canadiens history, you have to be special. Guy Lafleur was a very special player indeed, totalling 1,246 points as a Canadien. Lafleur won five Stanley Cups with the Habs and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

11 – Mark Messier

Runners-up: Gilbert Perrault, David Legwand, Daniel Alfredsson

Mark Messier went from being a highly physical player to a finesse player and excelled at both. The heart of the Edmonton Oilers’ dynasty and the man who lead the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, you will find no greater number 11 than Messier.

Mark Messier of the Edmonton Oilers
Canadian hockey player Mark Messier of the Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

12 – Jarome Iginla

Runners-up: Dickie Moore, Eric Staal, Patrick Marleau

Jarome Iginla takes the top spot for the number 12. A six-time all-star, Iginla is the franchise leader in points for the Calgary Flames, having scored 1,095 points for the team. His number is retired by the Flames in a deserved epic ceremony.

13 – Mats Sundin

Runners-up: Pavel Datsyuk, Teemu Selanne, Mike Cammelleri

From one franchise leader to the next, Mats Sundin is the greatest to ever win lucky number 13. Sundin leads the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise in points with 987 points. The first European player to be drafted first overall and the only Swede to score 500 goals, Sundin was silky smooth and a favourite of the fans and his teammates.

14 – Brendan Shanahan

Runners-up: Dave Keon, Jamie Benn, Justin Williams

Dave Keon is a very close second, but Brendan Shanahan takes number 14 as his own. Maybe the greatest power forward to ever play the game, his 2,489 penalty minutes and 1,354 points highlight a playing career that saw him win three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings.

15 – Milt Schmidt

Runners-up: Eric Nesterenko, Jim Nielson, John MacLean

Milt Schmidt’s list of accolades secures him his spot as the greatest to ever don number 15. A Stanley Cup champion with the Boston Bruins, Schmidt also won the Hart Trophy in 1951 and the scoring title in 1940.

16 – Brett Hull

Runners-up: Bobby Clarke, Marcel Dionne, Trevor Linden

Number 16 has some strong competition, highlighted by Bobby Clarke, Marcel Dionne and Trevor Linden. Brett Hull gets the edge over the rest with his 741 career goals wearing the sweet 16.

17 – Jari Kurri

Runners-up: Rod Brind’Amour, Wendel Clark, Ilya Kovalchuk

Jari Kurri earned our top spot for number 17. His years of playing alongside Wayne Gretzky for the Edmonton Oilers helped him pile up the points and he finished his career with 601 goals and 1,398 points.

Jari Kurri #17 of the Edmonton Oilers
Jari Kurri, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

18 – Denis Savard

Runners-up: Serge Savard, Dave Taylor, Ed Westfall

Hall of Famer Denis Savard scored at least 100 points five times in his career. He sits in third place for points in Chicago Blackhawks franchise history behind only Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.

19 – Steve Yzerman

Runners-up: Joe Sakic, Shane Doan, Jonathan Toews, Bryan Trottier

Number 19 sits right behind number 9 when looking at the list great players to have donned the number. While there are arguments for Joe Sakic, Shane Doan, Jonathan Toews and Bryan Trottier, Steve Yzerman sits above the rest. He carried the Red Wings for 22 seasons, winning the Stanley Cup three times and scoring 1,755. This is good for seventh all-time.

20 – Luc Robitaille

Runners-up: Bob Pulford, Gary Suter, Ryan Suter

While 19 had Hall of Famers vying for the top spot, number 20 is a no-contest. Luc Robitaille easily claims the spot as the highest scoring left winger of all time. Lucky Luc finished his career with 668 goals and 1,394 points.

21 – Stan Mikita

Runners-up: Peter Forsberg, Borje Salming, Guy Carbonneau

Stan Mikita is the pick for number 21 as he sits in first all-time in Blackhawks scoring. Mikita scored 1,467 points over his 21 seasons in the NHL. Arguably the greatest Blackhawk in history, Mikita was one of the premier players of the ’60s.

22 – Mike Bossy

Runners-up: Daniel Sedin, Rick Tocchet, Dino Ciccarelli

The greatest goal-scorer of his generation, Mike Bossy scored at an alarming pace over his ten-season career. Playing alongside Bryan Trottier, Bossy scored 53 goals as a rookie and followed it with a 69 goal season. He would score 60 goals five times in his career.

Mike Bossy 50 Goals
Canadian hockey player Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders on the ice, February 1982. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

23 – Bob Gainey

Runners-up: Brian Bellows, Milan Hejduk, Bob Nystrom

The best defensive forward of the late ’70s, Bob Gainey secures his position as number 23’s top player. He won the Selke Trophy four years in a row from 1978 to 1981.

24 – Chris Chelios

Runners-up: Bernie Federko, Ryan Callahan, Sami Kapanen

Chris Chelios is another player whose resume sets him apart from his competition. He holds the record for the longest career among defencemen at 26 seasons. In his tenure, he won three Norris Trophies and three Stanley Cups.

25 – Joe Nieuwendyk

Runners-up: Dave Andreychuk, Vincent Damphousse, Jacques Lemaire

Joe Nieuwendyk put together a very respectable 564 goals and 562 assists in his career. He won the Stanley Cup three times with three different franchises. First with the Calgary Flames, then with the Dallas Stars, and finally with the New Jersey Devils.

26 – Peter Stastny

Runners-up: Patrik Elias, Martin St. Louis, Allan Stanley

Number 26 had some strong competition with Martin St. Louis and Patrik Elias, but Peter Stastny’s 1,239 points put him a step above. In 1998, he became the first European player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

27 – Scott Niedermayer

Runners-up: Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler, Glen Murray

Scott Niedermayer’s trophy case must be a sight to behold. Over the course of his NHL career, Niedermayer won the Norris and Conn Smythe trophies as well as two Stanley Cups. He also won Seaman and Stafford Smythe trophies in the WHL, two Olympic Gold Medals, and a World Junior Championship.

28 – Steve Larmer

Runners-up: Steve Duchesne, Tie Domi, Reed Larson

Before Patrick Marleau and Phil Kessel were the Iron Men of the NHL, that distinction belonged to Steve Larmer. Larmer played 884 regular season games in a row, winning the Calder Trophy in the process.

29 – Ken Dryden

Runners-up: Marc-Andre Fleury, Jason Pominville, Nathan MacKinnon

One of the great goalies in the history of the game, Ken Dryden is the best to ever wear number 29. In addition to his five Vezina trophies, perhaps the most astounding fact about Dryden was that he won the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy before he ever lost a game in the regular season.

Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens
Ken Dryden, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

30 – Martin Brodeur

Runners-up: Ed Belfour, Henrik Lundqvist, Rogie Vachon

Martin Brodeur stands as the all-time leader in wins, shutouts, saves and games played by a goalie. He won three Stanley Cups and four Vezina trophies. Good luck topping that.

31 – Carey Price

Runners-up: Billy Smith, Grant Fuhr, Curtis Joseph

While a strong argument could be made for Grant Fuhr or Billy Smith, Carey Price’s reign of dominance in Montreal earned him the spot of the best to wear number 31. He was the NHL’s best goalie for more than a decade. His dominance was highlighted by his performance in 2014-15, which earned him both the Hart and Vezina Trophies.

32 – Dale Hunter

Runners-up: Claude Lemieux, Jonathan Quick, Murray Craven

Dale Hunter’s statistics can be summed up by two stats, 1,020 points and 3,565 penalty minutes. Hunter could score and play rough and just barely edged out Claude Lemieux for the top spot.

33 – Patrick Roy

Runners-up: Zdeno Chara, Henrik Sedin, Dustin Byfuglien

Patrick Roy’s impact on the game of NHL goes beyond his incredible play. He revolutionized the ‘butterfly style’ of goaltending, a change still being felt to this day. As a player, Roy won the Stanley Cup four times, the Conn Smythe and Vezina trophies three times each.

34 – John Vanbiesbrouck

Runners-up: Mikka Kiprusoff, Auston Matthews

John Vanbiesbrouck takes the spot at number 34, but it could be only a matter of time before Auston Matthews comes for the top spot. Until then, Vanbiesbrouck has the edge due to his longevity and his Vezina Trophy in 1985-86.

35 – Tony Esposito

Runners-up: Cory Schneider, Mike Richter, Tom Barrasso

Tony Esposito is the only Hall of Fame player to ever wear the number 35. Esposito had one of the most impressive rookie campaigns by a goalie ever, earning him the Calder and Vezina trophies.

Tony Esposito
Tony Esposito, Chicago Black Hawks (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

36 – Matthew Barnaby

Runners-up: Mats Zuccarello, Jussi Jokinen

The number 36 has produced a relatively weak pool of NHL players throughout history. Among those who have worn it, Matthew Barnaby gets the nod. His 300 points and 2,562 penalty minutes highlight his resume.

37 – Patrice Bergeron

Runners-up: Curtis Brown, Olaf Kolzig

Patrice Bergeron became the best two-way forward in the game. Best known for his outstanding face-off ability, Bergeron earned himself six Selke trophies and a Stanley Cup. This one is not close.

38 – Pavol Demitra

Runners-up: Vladamir Malakhov, Dave Scatchard

This one is tragic. Pavol Demitra scored 304 goals in his NHL career, highlighted by a 93 point campaign in 2002-03. After his departure from the NHL, Demitra and the rest of his KHL team were killed in a plane crash in 2011.

39 – Dominik Hasek

Runners-up: Travis Green, Logan Couture

Dominik Hasek is the latest goalie to appear on this list and is one of the most deserving. Forced to adopt the number 39 when his 31 was taken by Grant Fuhr, Hasek made 39 his own. He won a whopping six Vezina trophies in Buffalo before being traded to the Detroit Red Wings where he ended his career.

40 – Henrik Zetterberg

Runners-up: Devan Dubnyk, Tuukka Rask

Henrik Zetterberg proved to be better than where he was drafted, as he was taken 210th overall in 1999. Zetterberg’s NHL 15-year career was spent entirely in Detroit, where he scored 960 points and won the Stanley Cup in 2007-08.

41 – Jason Allison

Runners-up: Mike Smith, Craig Anderson

Another fairly weak number, Jason Allison’s two 30 goal seasons propel him into the top spot at number 41. By the end, Allison had totalled 485 points when he retired in 2005-06.

42 – David Backes

Runners-up: Tyler Bozak, Sergei Makarov, Robert Esche

Sergei Makarov makes this one close with his Calder Trophy, but his short career keeps him from this spot. David Backes has been very consistent with the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins, totaling 561 career points.

David Backes Bruins
David Backes, Boston Bruins, Dec. 2, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

43 – Martin Biron

Runners-up: Patrice Brisbois, Nazem Kadri

Martin Biron takes advantage of another fairly weak pool. He had a pair of strong seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2007-08 and 2008-09. He won 30 and 29 games respectively, good enough to be the best to wear number 43.

44 – Chris Pronger

Runners-up: Stephane Richer, Roman Hamrlik

The best shutdown defenceman of his era, Chris Pronger became the first blueliner since Bobby Orr to win the Hart Trophy. Pronger was feared in the NHL for his size and tenacity, and he was able to lead the Anaheim Ducks to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

45 – Aaron Asham

Runner-up: Jonathan Bernier

You know when Jonathan Bernier is the runner-up that there is very little competition for number 45. Aaron Asham takes the cake basically by default. He scored 208 points in his 15-season NHL career.

46 – David Krejci

Runners-up: Jared Spurgeon, Andrei Kostitsyn

David Krejci became the first player to have great success wearing the number 46. He was part of the backbone of the Boston Bruins for more than a decade. His work on the team helped them to the Stanley Cup in 2011.

47 – Alexander Radulov

Runners-up: Marc-Andre Bergeron, Torey Krug

Alexander Radulov had a couple of solid seasons with the Nashville Predators in 2006-07 and 2007-08 before returning to Russia. After his return to the NHL in 2016-17 became a very good player for Montreal and Dallas.

48 – Scott Young

Runners-up: Daniel Briere, Tyler Kennedy

Scott Young had a lengthy career in the NHL, spanning 16 seasons. He finished his career with 757 points and having won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Colorado Avalanche respectively.

49 – Brian Savage

Runner-up: Joe Juneau

Brian Savage had a fantastic name, but savage would not be a proper way to describe his style of play. He played a consistent game in a mid-level position, finishing with 359 points.

50 – Corey Crawford

Runners-up: Antoine Vermette, Jonas Gustuvsson

Corey Crawford won the Stanley Cup twice with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015. Crawford was the Blackhawks starting goalie until injuries derailed his 2017-18 season.

Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Corey Crawford (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

51 – Frans Nielsen

Runners-up: Brian Campbell, Valtteri Filppula

Frans Nielsen made his debut in 2006-07 and has since put up 162 goals and 296 assists for 458 points. Brian Campbell is his only real competition but Nielsen is continuing to play and is on pace to pass him in career points.

Runner-up: Mike Green

Adam Foote made the most out of his 18-season career. He was a reliable defenceman in Quebec and Colorado and was a contributing piece of the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup victories in 1996 and 2001.

53 – Jeff Skinner

Runners-up: Derek Morris, Bo Horvat

Jeff Skinner has stepped up and taken the spot of the best player to wear 53. He was a solid offensive contributor in Carolina but hit a stride in his first season in Buffalo. He scored 40 goals for the first time in his career and earned himself a hefty contract extension with the Sabres.

54 – David Jones

Runners-up: Adam McQuaid

One of the weaker selections on this list, David Jones tops the list of players to wear 54. He scored 191 points over nine seasons in the NHL. Jones last played for the Minnesota Wild in 2015-16.

55 – Larry Murphy

Runners-up: Sergei Gonchar, Eric Daze, Niklas Kronwall

Larry Murphy started wearing number 55 when he moved from Minnesota to Pittsburgh and continued to score at a consistent pace. Murphy won four Stanley Cups, two with the Penguins and two with the Red Wings.

56 – Sergei Zubov

Runners-up: Erik Haula, Marko Dano

Sergei Zubov wore number 56 once he left the New York Rangers. He settled in Dallas where he won the Stanley Cup in 1998-99. He was consistent as a defenceman, scoring 615 points while wearing number 56.

57 – David Perron

Runners-up: Tyler Myers, Tommy Wingels

David Perron gets the edge over Tyler Myers because of his 768 career points and his 2019 Stanley Cup championship. Perron has spent time on six different NHL franchises but the Blues are where he has spent the most time and seen the most success.

58 – Kris Letang

Runner-up: David Savard

Finishing in the top 10 in Norris Trophy voting eight times, Kris Letang has been a consistent piece of the Penguins defensive core. He has contributed to the Penguins’ three Stanley Cup victories and remains the best player to ever wear number 58.

Kris Letang Pittsburgh Penguins
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

59 – Roman Josi

Runner-up: Chad Larose

Roman Josi has stepped up his game in the last number of years, finishing in the top 10 in Norris Trophy voting seven times in his career, including a win in 2019-20. He has totalled 686 points in his career and has developed into one of the league’s most reliable defenders.

60 – Jose Theodore

Runner-up: Markus Granlund

Jose Theodore owns the number 60. His 16-year career had its ups and downs but his performance in 2001-02 would probably lock up this spot by itself. Theodore finished the season with a .931 save percentage with the Montreal Canadiens, earning him the Hart and Vezina trophies.

61 – Rick Nash

Runner-up: Mark Stone

After getting drafted first-overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2001, Rick Nash went on to lead the franchise in all-time points with 547. Three times in his career he scored at least 40 goals and he was a key piece of the Blue Jackets and Rangers’ cores for years.

62 – Carl Hagelin

Runner-up: Andrei Nazarov

Carl Hagelin appears on this list mostly due to a lack of competition. He is a solid NHL player but has been limited due to injuries. If a strong candidate comes along, number 62 seems ripe for the taking.

63 – Brad Marchand

Runner-up: Tyler Ennis

While Brad Marchand is known around the league as the biggest pest in the game, it cannot be denied that he is also one of the league’s best. His 929 career points and his Stanley Cup championship back up his spot as one of the NHL’s top offensive forces.

64 – Mikael Granlund

Runner-up: Jamie McGinn

Another number with little competition, Mikael Granlund walks away with number 64. He has worn the number the longest at 11 seasons and has put up 544 points. Good enough.

Mikael Granlund San Jose Sharks
Mikael Granlund, San Jose Sharks (Photo by Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images)

65 – Erik Karlsson

Runners-up: Andrew Shaw, Ron Hainsey

Despite recent injury woes, Erik Karlsson has been one of the best defensemen in the NHL for the last decade. He has won three Norris Trophies and led the Ottawa Senators to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final in 2017. He signed an eight-year extension that will see him under contract until 2027.

66 – Mario Lemieux

Runner-up: Josh Ho-Sang

Having a runner-up for number 66 seems redundant. Mario Lemieux stands as one of the very best players to ever play the game. He led one of the greatest teams in NHL history with the 1991-92 Penguins. ‘Super Mario’ has been called the athlete with the greatest impact on his city for his impact on the city of Pittsburgh.

67 – Max Pacioretty

Runners-up: Benoit Pouliot, Michael Frolik

The former Montreal Canadiens captain has been a very solid player since his debut in 2008-09. Max Pacioretty stands above a mediocre field for the number 67, but his 668 career points and Masterton Trophy highlight an admirable career.

68 – Jaromir Jagr

Runner-up: Mike Hoffman

Jaromir Jagr has had one of the most incredible careers of any player in history. Playing alongside Mario Lemieux with Pittsburgh, Jagr won two Stanley Cups. He went on to play in 24 seasons in his NHL career with nine different teams. He sits second in all-time points behind Wayne Gretzky.

69 – Andrew Desjardins

Runner-up: Mel Angelstad

Andrew Desjardins takes this spot by default. For some unknown, completely unexplained reason, players seem to avoid using this number. Only two players have ever worn it and Mel Angelstad was the other, albeit only for two games. Maybe we will one day see an iconic player don the number, but somehow it seems unlikely.

70 – Braden Holtby

Runner-up: Tanner Pearson

Braden Holtby was great more often than not for the Washington Capitals since his debut in 2010-11. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2015-16 and helped eventually win the Stanley Cup with the team in 2017-18. There’s little competition for number 70 but Holtby has it locked up anyway.

71 – Evgeni Malkin

Runner-up: Nick Foligno

Evgeni Malkin has served as a key piece of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ core since being drafted second overall in 2004. In addition to winning the Hart, Art Ross and Pearson trophies in 2011-12, Malkin also won three Stanley Cups and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2009. Malkin is a superstar in his own right and it would take an incredible performance for someone else to take his spot at number 71.

Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

72 – Sergei Bobrovsky

Runner-up: Patric Hornqvist

Sergei Bobrovsky has been one of the most reliable goalies since his debut in 2010-11. His two Vezina trophies and his career .915 save percentage have cemented his place as the greatest player to don the number 72. He also earned himself a mighty seven-year, $70 million contract with the Florida Panthers.

73 – Michael Ryder

Runner-up: Tyler Toffoli

Having donned number 73 for his nine seasons in the NHL, Michael Ryder can rest easy knowing this number is all his. Ryder scored 431 points while wearing it.

74 – T.J. Oshie

Runner-up: John Carlson

T.J. Oshie wore the number 74 for seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues before being traded to the Capitals and switching to 77. He had 310 points with the Blues and was a fan favourite prior to his departure.

75 – Hal Gill

Runners-up: Ryan Reaves, Leroy Goldsworthy

Hal Gill also benefits from a lack of competition at number 75. His 184 career points edge out Ryan Reaves’ longevity at the number.

76 – P.K. Subban

Runner-up: Chris VandeVelde

P.K. Subban stands above all other players to wear number 76. His Norris Trophy in 2012-13 stands as the highlight of his career along with his 467 career points.

77 – Ray Bourque

Runner-up: Paul Coffey, Victor Hedman, Phil Esposito

Ray Bourque changed numbers from seven to 77 following the number retirement of Phil Esposito in Boston. Ever since, Bourque and 77 have been synonymous. Bourque leads all defencemen in career goals, assists, points and shots with 410, 1,169, 1,579, and 6,206 respectively.

Raymond Bourque Boston Bruins
Raymond Bourque, Boston Bruins (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

78 -Marc Pouliot

Runner-up: Pavol Demitra

One of the absolute weakest entries on the list, Marc Pouliot gets the edge despite being a draft bust. His 57 points doesn’t look like it would be enough to find yourself here but having only seven players ever to have worn 78 helps his case a great deal.

79 – Andrei Markov

Runner-up: Micheal Ferland

Andrei Markov’s career spanned 16 seasons in the NHL and he managed to compile 572 career points. His longevity alone would earn him the spot but he has received Norris votes in six different seasons as well.

80 – Nik Antropov

Runner-up: Kevin Weekes

Nik Antropov takes the top spot at number 80 as a result of his 13-year career. He totalled 465 points in his career and peaked with 67 points in 2009-10 with the Atlanta Thrashers.

81 – Marian Hossa

Runners-up: Phil Kessel, Miroslav Satan

Marian Hossa wore the number 81 with the Blackhawks and that’s where he won his three Stanley Cups. He was one of the game’s best defensive forwards throughout his career and that gives him the edge over the defensively apathetic Phil Kessel.

82 – Martin Straka

Runner-up: Tomas Kopecky

While not spectacular, Martin Straka was consistent during his 15 seasons in the NHL. He scored at least 20 goals six times in his career, finishing with 717 points.

83 – Ales Hemsky

Runner-up: Jay Beagle

Ales Hemsky is yet another who benefits from a lacklustre competition, as Jay Beagle is the only other player to wear number 83 for an extended period of time. Hemsky takes the cake with 572 career points.

84 – Mikhail Grabovski

Runner-up: Guillaume Latendresse

Some of these higher numbers suffer from having very few players to have ever worn them, 84 is a prime example of this. Only eight players have laid claim to the number. Among them, Mikhail Grabovski is the only one to score 20 goals in three different seasons.

Mikhail Grabovski
Mikhail Grabovski (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

85 – Petr Kilma

Runner-up Matheiu Perrault

Petr Kilma and his 13 seasons in the NHL set him apart from the small pool of players to wear number 85. Kilma scored at least 30 goals in six seasons and won the Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers.

86 – Nikita Kucherov

Runner-up Teuvo Teravainen

Nikita Kucherov is one of the NHL’s premier forwards, capturing the Hart, Art Ross and Pearson Trophies in 2018-19. He has scored at least 100 points four times, and if he continues on his current pace, he could easily solidify his spot at number 86.

87 – Sidney Crosby

Runner-up: Donald Brashear

Sidney Crosby: Two Hart Trophies. Two Art Ross Trophies. Two Maurice Richard Trophies. Three Ted Lindsay Awards. Eight-time all-star. Two Conn Smythe Trophies. Three Stanley Cups. Enough said.

88 – Patrick Kane

Runners-up: Eric Lindros, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Brent Burns

One of the very best American players to ever play the game, Patrick Kane has been one of the most exciting players to watch since being drafted in 2007. He edges out Eric Lindros for the top spot due to his incredible resume and championship success as a three-time Stanley Cup champion.

89 – Alexander Mogilny

Runner-up: Sam Gagner

Alexander Mogilny had moments of brilliance over his 16-season career. He scored 76 goals in 1992-93 and finished with 1,032 points. He took the number to represent the year he arrived in the United States and he remains the best player to ever wear 89.

90 – Ryan O’Reilly

Runners-up: Joe Juneau, Marcus Johansson

The 2018-19 Conn Smythe winner has continued to build upon the solid start to his career. Ryan O’Reilly won the Stanley Cup with the Blues and added the Selke Trophy to his resume as well. He has continued to fortify his spot at number 90 and he does not have much competition for the time being.

Ryan O'Reilly Nashville Predators
Ryan O’Reilly, Nashville Predators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

91 – Sergei Fedorov

Runners-up: Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Vladimir Tarasenko

Another number with some intense competition. Sergei Fedorov beats out Steven Stamkos to be the best to ever wear 91. Perhaps the best Russian player ever, Fedorov won the Hart, Pearson and Selke Trophies in 1993-94. He won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings and became the first Russian player to score 1,000 points.

92 – Gabriel Landeskog

Runner-up: Rick Tocchet

Gabriel Landeskog has made 92 his own in his eight seasons in the NHL. After winning the Calder Trophy in 2011-12, Landeskog was named the youngest captain in NHL history. That record has since been broken by Connor McDavid, but Landeskog has still managed to compile 571 points to date.

93 – Doug Gilmour

Runner-up: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Doug Gilmour was one of the very best defensive forwards of the ’90s. He won the Selke Trophy in the 1992-93 season and put up 1,414 points across his 20-season career. He does not have much of a threat to steal his spot as the best to wear number 93.

94 – Ryan Smyth

Runner-up: Yanic Perrault

Ryan Smyth wore the number 94 for 18 seasons, the most of anyone to wear the number. He got consideration for the Selke Trophy in four seasons and finished his career with 842 points.

95 – Aleksei Morozov

Runner-up: Matt Duchene

This spot will likely belong to Matt Duchene in a few years. Because Duchene has only been wearing 95 for the last seven seasons, it will take a little more time for him to earn the top spot. Until then, Aleksei Morozov holds on with his 219 career points.

96 – Tomas Holmstrom

Runner-up: Mikko Rantanen

Tomas Holmstrom won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, all while wearing number 96. His career high in goals was 30 in 2005-06, so it is possible that Avalanche star Mikko Rantanen could take this spot for himself in another few years.

Tomas Holmstrom Red Wings
Tomas Holmstrom (Icon SMI)

97 – Connor McDavid

Runner-up: Jeremy Roenick

What’s left to be said about Connor McDavid that hasn’t already been said? The 2015 1st-overall pick has lived up to the unbelievably high standards placed upon him with 982 points in just 645 games. He has seven 100-point seasons, five Art Ross Trophies, one Rocket Richard Trophy, and three Hart Trophies. The only piece of hardware missing is a Stanley Cup, which he almost won in 2024. Oh, and in that postseason, he still won the Conn Smythe Trophy.

98 – Mikhail Sergachev

Runner-up: Brian Lawton

Only seven players have ever worn number 98, including Brian Lawton, Mikhail Sergachev and Jesse Puljujarvi. Slim pickings on this one. Sergachev gets the nod despite having only scored 238 points in his young career, due to Lawton only wearing the number for two seasons.

99 – Wayne Gretzky

Runner-up: N/A

There is no runner-up, there is no argument, there is no debate. There is no relationship between a player and a number more iconic than Wayne Gretzky and the number 99. His resume speaks for itself and the number 99 has been retired league-wide, meaning no one will ever challenge Gretzky for the spot of the best to ever wear the number.

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