The Concept

Few things get people fired-up faster than a top-100 list. Emotions range from palpable pride when a hometown hero holds a lofty spot to full-on, conspiracy-fueled paranoia when the opposite is true. It almost doesn’t even matter what’s on the list, it will generate a response, and we can be sure some combination of stupid, dumb, and idiot will show up along the way. Lists are lightning rods because they can’t be “right” or “wrong.” There are more than enough statistics at our disposal to keep even the weakest opinions afloat, and—when all else fails—there’s always the straw man. The number of possible disputes is limitless. Grab some popcorn and head to the comments section of a random top-100 list on Google to see that personified. People love/hate lists because there is something for everyone to love/hate. The only drawback—and it’s a big one—is that a list becomes dated as soon as it is published. The sports world moves so fast that it doesn’t take long for the next big thing to burst onto the scene or an injury to suddenly derail a Hall-of-Fame career.

To complicate matters, the first human to ever paint a list on the side of a cave set the unfortunate precedent that once we publish it, we walk away, never to return as if time freezes at that very moment. Maybe time did freeze. Perhaps Linkovich “Link” Chomovsky never got a chance to update his painting of “the greatest spear-throwers of all-time” before freezing-over and ending up an Estonian exchange student at Encino High School 40,000 years later. Regardless of Link’s role in all of this, list-after-list continues to get published, and list-after-list continues to sit idly, growing old and outdated. Imagine how self-conscious a list with LeBron ranked outside the top 10 must feel. Even the lists themselves know they’re dated, and if they had opposable thumbs they’d have enough pride to update themselves. There has to be a better way than continuing to create sad relics destined for the farthest corners of the internet.

It is that realization that stands as the impetus for this real-time top-100 concept. Instead of viewing a list as something complete, we can endeavor to treat it as a living, breathing, evolving entity that is not to be finished but nourished and amended—in real-time—as players arrive, perform, and depart. Like a pot that refuses to boil, a top-100 list might not change much under constant scrutiny but allow enough time to pass, and drastic change materializes in short order. Whether it’s a series of dynamite UFC cards, an NBA Finals, or the Super Bowl, legacies are always changing, and those changes typically occur before most of us even realize it. Mike Trout and Aaron Donald were already among the 20 greatest players of all-time by the time they hit 29, even if conventional wisdom says we can’t say it out loud. Tending to these lists in real-time will help us reverse the bad habit of being kinder to older generations and harsher to the current. We can do this by reflecting elite resumes as they are formed, rather than after they are formed, with the added benefit of recognizing and appreciating greatness while it is still being displayed instead of long after it has departed. I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you. Happy scrolling!

The 100 Greatest Hockey Players of All-Time

RankPlayerPositionYears
1Wayne GretzkyC1978-1999
2Gordie HoweRW1946-1980
3Mario LemieuxC1984-2006
4Bobby OrrD1966-1979
5Patrick RoyG1984-2003
6Alexander OvechkinLW2005-active
7Sidney CrosbyC2005-active
8Jaromir JagrRW1990-2018
9Mark MessierC1978-2004
10Martin BrodeurG1991-2015
11Phil EspositoC1963-1981
12Nicklas LidstromD1991-2012
13Ray BourqueD1979-2001
14Dominik HasekG1990-2008
15Jean BeliveauC1950-1971
16Bobby HullLW1957-1980
17Maurice RichardRW1942-1960
18Guy LafleurRW1971-1991
19Doug HarveyD1947-1969
20Jacques PlanteG1952-1975
21Ken DrydenG1970-1979
22Glen HallG1952-1971
23Stan MikitaC1958-1980
24Bobby ClarkeC1969-1984
25Evgeni MalkinC2006-active
26Eddie ShoreD1926-1940
27Joe SakicC1988-2009
28Steve YzermanC1983-2006
29Bryan TrottierC1975-1994
30Patrick KaneRW2007-active
31Brett HullRW1986-2006
32Paul CoffeyD1980-2001
33Chris CheliosD1983-2010
34Denis PotvinD1973-1988
35Nikita KucherovRW2013-active
36Connor McDavidC2015-active
37Mike BossyRW1977-1987
38Howie MorenzC1923-1937
39Terry SawchukG1949-1970
40Al MacInnisD1981-2004
41Larry RobinsonD1972-1992
42Jari KurriRW1978-1998
43Red KellyD/C1947-1967
44Pierre PiloteD1955-1969
45Sergei FedorovC1990-2009
46Peter ForsbergC1994-2011
47Jarome IginlaRW1996-2017
48Chris ProngerD1993-2012
49Brian LeetchD1987-2006
50Cyclone TaylorR1905-1923
51Newsy LalondeC1917-1927
52Joe MaloneC/LW1917-1924
53Teemu SelanneRW1992-2014
54Scott StevensD1982-2004
55Ed BelfourG1988-2007
56Ted LindsayLW1944-1965
57Marcel DionneC1971-1989
58Scott NiedermayerD1991-2010
59Zdeno CharaD1997-active
60Duncan KeithD2005-active
61Erik KarlssonD2009-active
62Brad ParkD1968-1985
63Bernie GeoffrionRW1950-1968
64Bernie ParentG1965-1979
65Bill DurnanG1943-1950
66Joe ThorntonC1997-active
67Patrice BergeronC2003-active
68Doug GilmourC1983-2003
69Anze KopitarC2006-active
70Ted KennedyC1942-1957
71Drew DoughtyD2008-active
72Tony EspositoG1968-1984
73Andrei VasilevskiyG2014-active
74Frank MahovlichLW1956-1978
75Nels StewartC1925-1940
76Elmer LachC1940-1954
77Henrik LundqvistG2005-2020
78Pavel DatsyukC2001-2016
79Martin St. LouisRW1998-2015
80Eric LindrosC1992-2007
81Ron FrancisC1981-2004
82Billy SmithG1971-1989
83Luc RobitailleLW1986-2003
84Roberto LuongoG1999-2019
85Tim ThomasG2002-2014
86Rod LangawayD1977-1993
87Dickie MooreLW1951-1968
88Steve StamkosC2008-active
89Pavel BureRW1991-2003
90Andy BathgateRW1952-1975
91Johnny BowerG1953-1970
92Milt SchmidtC/D1936-1955
93Syl AppsC1936-1948
94Bill CookRW1926-1937
95Frank NighborC1917-1930
96Charlie ConacherW1929-1941
97Brendan ShanahanLW1987-2009
98Bill CowleyC1934-1947
99Turk BrodaG1936-1952
100Tim HortonD1949-1974