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Top 100 NHL players revealed, Espositos and Yzerman among those honored

As part of this weekend’s all-star game festivities, the NHL has announced their list of the top 100 players in league history.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning founder Phil Esposito appears on the NHL’s list of Top 100 players.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In conjunction with the celebration of the National Hockey League’s 100th anniversary, the league announced their list of the top 100 players in NHL history at an event in Los Angeles, part of all-star game festivities taking place this weekend.

Held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and hosted by actor Jon Hamm with musical entertainment provided by John Legend, the event was similar to a Hollywood award ceremony.

Any fan who has been following the game for a length of time can probably name several of the names on the list from the top of their head with no problem. Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy and of course, Wayne Gretzky . But as is always the case when somebody puts out a subjective list, there will be disagreement with some of the selections, or at least some of the rankings. That’s why they do it and it’s fun to debate the validity of some of those on the list or those who weren’t selected. Of course, the real thrill when it comes to this kind of thing is seeing so many legends together in one place.

In the case of this list, the players weren’t ranked from one to one hundred, but were sorted into segments representing different eras. The first 33 players representing the time between 1917 and 1966 were unveiled during the Centennial Classic, played in Toronto on January 1st. The list in its entirety is posted below.

As you might expect, the Tampa Bay Lightning, having been around for a mere 24 years (23 seasons) of those 100 do not have a heavy presence within the top 100 players. In fact, nobody whoever actually skated for the Lightning is among the luminaries.

However, the Esposito brothers, Phil and Tony, who founded the Lightning are both there. As is Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, along with former assistant coach Adam Oates.

Here’s the full list:

The first 33, who played played predominantly during the NHL's first half century, from 1917-1966

  • Sid Abel
  • Syl Apps
  • Andy Bathgate
  • Jean Beliveau
  • Max Bentley
  • Toe Blake
  • Johnny Bower
  • Turk Broda
  • Johnny Bucyk
  • King Clancy
  • Charlie Conacher
  • Alex Delvecchio
  • Bill Durnan
  • Bernie Geoffrion
  • Glenn Hall
  • Doug Harvey
  • Tim Horton
  • Gordie Howe
  • Red Kelly
  • Ted Kennedy
  • Dave Keon
  • Elmer Lach
  • Ted Lindsay
  • Frank Mahovlich
  • Dickie Moore
  • Howie Morenz
  • Jacques Plante
  • Henri Richard
  • Maurice Richard
  • Terry Sawchuk
  • Milt Schmidt
  • Eddie Shore
  • Georges Vezina

The 1970’s

  • Bobby Clarke
  • Marcel Dionne
  • Phil Esposito
  • Jacques Lemaire
  • Stan Mikita
  • Gilbert Perreault
  • Jean Ratelle
  • Darryl Sittler
  • Yvan Cournoyer
  • Bob Gainey
  • Bobby Hull
  • Guy Lafleur
  • Ken Dryden
  • Tony Esposito
  • Bernie Parent
  • Bobby Orr
  • Brad Park
  • Larry Robinson
  • Serge Savard

The 1980’s

  • Grant Fuhr
  • Billy Smith
  • Ray Bourque
  • Paul Coffey
  • Al MacInnis
  • Denis Potvin
  • Borje Salming
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Pat LaFontaine
  • Mark Messier
  • Denis Savard
  • Peter Stastny
  • Bryan Trottier
  • Mike Bossy
  • Mike Gartner
  • Jari Kurri

The 1990’s

  • Sergei Fedorov
  • Peter Forsberg
  • Ron Francis
  • Mario Lemieux
  • Eric Lindros
  • Mike Modano
  • Joe Nieuwendyk
  • Adam Oates
  • Joe Sakic
  • Mats Sundin
  • Steve Yzerman
  • Pavel Bure
  • Brett Hull
  • Luc Robitaille
  • Brendan Shanahan
  • Dominik Hasek
  • Patrick Roy

The 2000’s

  • Martin Brodeur
  • Pavel Datsyuk
  • Nicklas Lidstrom
  • Chris Pronger
  • Teemu Selanne

The 2010’s

  • Sidney Crosby
  • Patrick Kane
  • Duncan Keith
  • Alex Ovechkin
  • Jonathan Toews
  • Jaromir Jagr