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10-22-2013, 05:51 PM
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For me, the top four are in order:


I don't see a realistic argument for any of the others breaking into the top four.

Gretzky and Lemieux are obviously on a completely different level for the rest. Yes, it could be debated that Lemieux's peak was comparable to Gretzky's, but the fact that Gretzky maintained that level of offensive greatness for so long gives him the decisive victory in my opinion. Most of the anti-Gretzky arguments ("He's protected by goons", "The league won't let anyone hit him", "He only get points because of the stars on Edmonton") have been thoroughly debunked on this board several times.

Howie Morenz was considered the greatest player in hockey during his prime. Others on the list were in contention for that title during the eras, but with Morenz it was almost unanimous. A good example of this is the voting in 1950 by the Canadian Press for the greatest hockey player from 1900-1950:

Howie Morenz - 27 votes
Maurice Richard - 4 votes
Cyclone Taylor - 3 votes
Frank Nighbor - 2 votes

Winning the poll by any margin would have been impressive enough, but it was an absolute landslide.

But I still have to put Beliveau at #3. He was just so good for so long. The only player in history to be the top centre on two separate dynasties. Certainly had a better second half to his career than the rest in this vote.

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