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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.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

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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