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Gretzky is no doubt the best in my opinion but second is probably gotta be either Howe, Lemiuex, or Orr. Honestly, all three answers are probably correct. Gretzky is the only clear cut best player to ever play period...
 

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OK; I'll play -- sort of. imho the NHL now is a totally different beast than it was in Plante's and Richard's days. Faster, harder, more travel, more movement among teams. Not to say those guys aren't still great, but you gotta think about how the earlier ones would fare in today's NHL. For example, what, in your mind, qualifies Plante over someone like MAF or Henry Lundqvist? Not arguing; just wondering about your criteria.
 
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