The Top 100 NHL players of all-time, throwback style

It’s been nearly two decades since The Hockey News released its authoritative top 50 and 100 players of all-time lists. In this edition of Throwback Thursday, we remember the unveiling and spotlight the one player we all thought would rocket up to the top of the charts.

In 1997, to celebrate our 50th anniversary, The Hockey News compiled and released an authoritative list of the Top 50 Players of All-Time.

Voters came from all areas of the hockey world: former players, coaches, GMs, scouts and media members. As a wise observer said at the time, the panel of 50 selectors wasn’t just credible, it was incredible.

The Top 50 project was followed by a sequel, the Top 100 Players of All-Time in which numbers 51-100 were announced.

Scan that lineup 18 years later and it’s, naturally, a Who’s Who of hockey royalty. Every player, with the exception of two, is either in the Hall of Fame or a shoo-in (Jaromir Jagr).

The outliers? Lorne Chabot, a standout goalie in the 1920s and ’30s who clocked in at No. 84. And Eric Lindros, who in the first several years of his NHL career had delivered on most of his massive potential.

While Lindros had suffered a few injuries in his early years, he was also scoring in excess of a point per game and had captured Hart Trophy and Lester Pearson Trophies (now the Ted Linsday). He nestled in at No. 54 based on how well he’d performed to that point and the expectation of so much more to come.

We all know how it played out. Misfortune intervened and a brilliant career was sideswiped.

In this Throwback Thursday video, we feature a news piece that trumpets the unveiling of the Top 50 list. Towards the end of the bit, our former Editor-in-Chief, Steve Dryden, speaks to Lindros’ absence from the Top 50 and his view – shared by millions of others at the time – of Lindros’ destiny.

The complete Top 100 list is below. Would you keep Lindros on it today?

1.    Wayne Gretzky
2.    Bobby Orr
3.    Gordie Howe
4.    Mario Lemieux
5.    Maurice Richard
6.    Doug Harvey
7.    Jean Beliveau
8.    Bobby Hull
9.    Terry Sawchuk
10.    Eddie Shore
11.    Guy Lafleur
12.    Mark Messier
13.    Jacques Plante
14.    Ray Bourque
15.    Howie Morenz
16.    Glenn Hall
17.    Stan Mikita
18.    Phil Esposito
19.    Denis Potvin
20.    Mike Bossy
21.    Ted Lindsay
22.    Red Kelly
23.    Bobby Clarke
24.    Larry Robinson
25.    Ken Dryden
26.    Frank Mahovlich
27.    Milt Schmidt
28.    Paul Coffey
29.    Henri Richard
30.    Bryan Trottier
31.    Dickie Moore
32.    Newsy Lalonde
33.    Syl Apps
34.    Bill Durnan
35.    Patrick Roy
36.    Charlie Conacher
37.    Jaromir Jagr
38.    Marcel Dionne
39.    Joe Malone
40.    Chris Chelios
41.    Dit Clapper
42.    Bernie Geoffrion
43.    Tim Horton
44.    Bill Cook
45.    Johnny Bucyk
46.    George Hainsworth
47.    Gilbert Perreault
48.    Max Bentley
49.    Brad Park
50.    Jari Kurri
51.    Nels Stewart
52.    King Clancy
53.    Bill Cowley
54.    Eric Lindros
55.    Busher Jackson
56.    Peter Stastny
57.    Ted Kennedy
58.    Andy Bathgate
59.    Pierre Pilote
60.    Turk Broda
61.    Frank Boucher
62.    Cy Denneny
63.    Bernie Parent
64.    Brett Hull
65.    Aurel Joliat
66.    Toe Blake
67.    Frank Brimsek
68.    Elmer Lach
69.    Dave Keon
70.    Grant Fuhr
71.    Brian Leetch
72.    Earl Seibert
73.    Doug Bentley
74.    Borje Salming
75.    Georges Vezina
76.    Charlie Gardiner
77.    Clint Benedict
78.    Steve Yzerman
79.    Tony Esposito
80.    Billy Smith
81.    Serge Savard
82.    Alex Delvecchio
83.    Babe Dye
84.    Lorne Chabot
85.    Sid Abel
86.    Bob Gainey
87.    Johnny Bower
88.    Sprague Cleghorn
89.    Mike Gartner
90.    Norm Ullman
91.    Sweeney Schriner
92.    Joe Primeau
93.    Darryl Sittler
94.    Joe Sakic
95.    Dominik Hasek
96.    Babe Pratt
97.    Jack Stewart
98.    Yvan Cournoyer
99.    Bill Gadsby
100.    Frank Nighbor

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