Hard to put goalies in there but if someone wants to see Hasek or Roy in the top 10 I can live with that. Jagr is just barely cut off as well.
For starters I have never seen an argument that held a lot of water for Gretzky being anything but #1. Secondly, Howe's 26 seasons trumps Orr's 10. Orr's 10 seasons trumps Lemieux and his injury plagued career as well. Bottom line, there are 4 players in NHL history that I would describe as being able to "run laps around the NHL". Orr did just that but Howe did it well too and was still a superstar for much longer. Mario had less time on the ice and I think overall you'd still have to put Orr ahead of him.
#5 is always the trickiest. I always like Beliveau there. Basically the perfect hockey player. There isn't a whole in his entire career or even a knock on his game. Won Cups, led the NHL in categories, captained the Cup champs, was a great goal scorer, was a great playmaker and was probably just as good in the postseason as Richard. Hull is behind him just because the 15 years he played in the NHL was epic. He might be a solid #5 if he never leaves for the WHA. But then again Beliveau was elite well into his 30s too. Can't have a list where Harvey isn't on there either and where there is Harvey there is always Bourque breathing down his neck. Unbelievable longevity for Bourque which is another reason why it is silly in my opinion to put Lidstrom ahead of him.
That leaves Shore and Richard. Shore only has two players in NHL history with more Hart Trophies. That says something right there. Probably has 6-7 Norrises as well had it existed. Then there is Richard. great in the regular season, was good for a long time but even better in the postseason. There are two players in NHL history (Gretzky and Roy) that I would consider to be better playoff performers and that's it. That counts for something. Richard scored plenty even if Montreal lost. 82 playoff goals is amazing with 4 rounds to play with but try having a career with just two rounds maximum. Unreal.
*as the books title says, Goalies are a BreedApart. Different criteria applied....
I've been thinking about this a bit more and to be really fair one should split up goalies, dmen and forwards into 3 sperate camps or lists and like Slater my list flucuates a bit after the top guys from time to time. here are my 10 forwards as of now
Gretzky, Lemiuex, Beliveau, Hull, Richard, Jagr, Howe are locks (order not important) making the top 7
After that it's from a group that includes Makarov, Trottier, Dionne, Mikita and Morenz, Taylor, (although it's extremely hard to compare pre WW2 forwards in an overall context that's fair to both, Morenz had the peak and aura while Taylor had the overall career)