25 of the Fastest NFL Players Ever

25 of the Fastest NFL Players Ever

In a league where speed matters, the fastest NFL players ever are known for wreaking havoc on opposing offenses and defenses. They add an element to the game that is difficult to match, creating mismatches every time they step foot on the field. They become your worst nightmare.

Like a cheetah in the wild, they hold an advantage over everyone else. Whether they’re trying to create space, blow by a defender, or chase down an offensive player, you likely don’t stand a chance against them. While you can’t hide in the game of football, these players sure can run.

For the most part, speed comes naturally. And while that’s true with the fastest NFL players ever, they don’t stop there. Instead, they continue to work on their speed year-in and year-out. From the moment they enter the league, they only want to get faster, quicker, and more agile.

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Ranking the 25 Fastest NFL Players Ever

Like anything in life, the fastest NFL players ever aren’t created equal. Some players showcase their speed without pads during practice or at the NFL Combine, while others showcase in-game speed — when the pads are on and intensity is at its highest level. It’s different for everyone.

When ranking the top-25 fastest NFL players ever, you must appreciate both types of players and that’s exactly what I’m about to do. Just because an NFL player runs a fast 40-yard or 100-yard dash, doesn’t mean they display that same speed in a live game — and vice-versa. 

A couple things I’d like to note before jumping into these rankings. First off, you’ll see me mention each player’s 40-yard dash time (when available). These are almost always timed without pads on. You also have to factor in hand-timed vs. laser-timed — laser is more accurate.

In addition to that, I’ll only be mentioning players that saw at least a little success at the NFL level. There are a lot of players that made it to the NFL with world-class speed, but never found their footing in the league. For the most part, those players are listed in our honorable mentions. 

With that said, let’s sprint through our honorable mentions and make our way through the fastest NFL players ever — all the way to No. 1, which may surprise you.

Honorable Mentions: Rondel Menedez, Dri Archer, Jerome Mathis, Jacoby Ford, Jalen Myrick, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Yamon Figurs, Tye Hill, Trindon Holliday, Renaldo Nehemiah, Donte’ Stallworth

25. CB Darrent Williams

Darrent Williams entered the league in 2005 out of Oklahoma State and was the fourth-fastest player in his draft class. He ran a 4.30 40-yard dash and was selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round. It was clear that he had speed and he wasn’t afraid to showcase it. 

He only spent two years in the league, but his time was cut short after he was shot and killed in a tragic drive-by shooting. In those two years, he played in 27 games and recorded 140 tackles, 6 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 1 sack, and 2 defensive touchdowns.

24. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey

Darrius Heyward-Bey was one of the best wide receivers out of the 2009 draft class and was drafted 7th overall (first round) by the Oakland Raiders. He played his college ball at Maryland and recorded a 4.30 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine — tied for the fastest in his draft class.

He would go on to play 10 semi-productive seasons in the NFL from 2009-2018 with the Raiders, Indianapolis Colts, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Over that time, he played in 144 games and recorded 202 catches, 2,897 yards, and 18 touchdowns (2 of which were rushing). 

23. CB Fabian Washington

Fabian Washington was a member of the same draft class as Darrent Williams and finished with a faster 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine — albeit a slight advantage. His 4.29 40-yard dash was third-best in that draft class and it showed when he stepped foot on the field. 

Washington was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the first round with the 23rd overall pick. He had a breakout season in 2006 with 4 interceptions, his second year in the NFL. Unfortunately, he couldn’t sustain that level of play and slowly faded out of the league by 2010 after six years.

22. RB Dante Hall

Dante Hall is one of those players that didn’t run the fastest 40-yard dash, but that changed on the field. He posted just a 4.44 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which ranked 19th-best that year. He did, however, post one of the fastest 20-yard shuttle times ever at 3.82 seconds.

Drafted in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs, Hall would go on to play 9 years in the league. He was most known for his kick and punt return abilities, recording six punt return touchdowns and six kick return touchdowns — thanks in large part to his speed and agility.

21. WR JJ Nelson

There was only one player to record a 40-yard dash under 4.30 during the 2015 NFL CombineJJ Nelson. His 4.28 was the fastest of his draft class, which included Amari Cooper, Nelson Agholor, Tyler Lockett, Tevin Coleman, DeVante Parker, Todd Gurley, and Stefon Diggs.

JJ Nelson was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round and has recorded 85 catches, 1,475 yards, and 11 touchdowns in 58 games played. He’s currently a member of the Indianapolis Colts, but hasn’t played a game since the 2019 season as his role has diminished.

20. QB Michael Vick

Michael Vick is regarded as one of the fastest quarterbacks to ever play the game. He posted the second-best 40-yard dash at the 2001 NFL Combine with a time of 4.33 seconds, but he seemed much faster when on the field. It’s part of the reason why he was drafted No. 1 overall. 

Although he spent a few years in prison due to his involvement in dog fighting, he played a total of 13 years in the league by the time he retired. With 143 games under his belt, he totaled 22,464 passing yards, 133 passing touchdowns, 6,109 rushing yards, and 36 rushing touchdowns.

19. WR Devin Hester

Devin Hester only recorded a 4.41 40-yard dash at the 2006 NFL Combine, which was the 25th-best time in his draft class. You wouldn’t think he would find himself on the list of the fastest NFL players ever, but he certainly knew how to put his foot on the gas pedal at the right time.

Although Hester saw time at wide receiver, he was largely known for his punt and kick returns. Over his 11-year career, he compiled 255 receptions, 3,311 receiving yards, 16 receiving touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown, 14 punt return touchdowns, and 5 kick return touchdowns. 

18. CB Champ Bailey

The 1999 NFL Combine featured a record 4.24 40-yard dash from Rondel Menedez, who we mentioned in our honorable mentions. Although that beat Champ Bailey’s 4.28 time, Menedez didn’t have the Hall of Fame career that Bailey did — which is why Champ is on the list.

Champ Bailey was drafted 7th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft and went on to play 15 years in the league. He played 215 games and started 212 of those, recording 52 interceptions, 4 defensive touchdowns, 7 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries, 3 sacks, and 931 combined tackles. 

17. WR Willie Gault

Although we don’t have an official 40-yard dash time for Willie Gault, we do know that he was a track star that found some success on the football field. He recorded a 10.10-second 100-yard dash, set records in the 110m hurdles, and a world record in the 4x100m relay with Carl Lewis.

In fact, Gault qualified for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but didn’t attend it due to the US boycotting it. Willie Gault enjoyed an 11-year career in the NFL and played in 170 games, recording a total of 333 receptions, 6,635 receiving yards, and 44 receiving touchdowns. 

16. WR Cliff Branch

Speaking of track and field stars turned NFL receivers, it’s only right that we mention Cliff Branch. He not only had a better personal best at the 100m (10.00 seconds), but he had a better (and longer) NFL career than Gault. Branch also recorded a 20.5-second 200m event. 

After his college track and field days, Cliff Branch spent 14 years in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders (who eventually changed to the Los Angeles Raiders). Over that time, he played in 183 games and recorded 501 receptions, 8,685 receiving yards, and 67 receiving touchdowns.

15. WR Henry Ruggs III

Henry Ruggs III became extremely close to beating the all-time record 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL Combine. His 4.27 time was the fastest since John Ross — a player we’ll talk about a little later. He’s a young player in his second season, but has a lot of promise in the NFL.

Ruggs III was drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. In his first season with the team, he recorded 26 catches, 452 yards, and 2 touchdowns. There’s a chance we see him blossom into one of Oakland’s top receivers.

14. CB Stanford Routt

We’ve already mentioned three other players on this list from the 2005 draft class — Jerome Mathis (honorable mention), Darrent Williams (No. 25), and Fabian Washington (No. 23). Now, it’s time to talk about the man that had a faster time than all three of themStanford Routt.

Routt recorded a 4.27 40-yard dash and was eventually drafted in the second round by the Oakland Raiders. Over his 8-year career in the NFL, he recorded 12 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 sacks, and 265 tackles. He quickly faded out of the league after the 2012 season.

13. WR Anthony Schwartz

Anthony Schwartz was the most recent player to impress the NFL world with an incredible 40-yard dash time. He recorded a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at the 2021 NFL Combine, which was the fastest of his draft class. We don’t really know how his career will turn out just yet. 

What we do know is he had an impressive NFL debut recently with the Cleveland Browns. The third-round draft pick finished the game with 3 receptions, 69 receiving yards, and 17 rushing yards. His speed can take him a long way in the NFL, but he’ll need to prove to be consistent.

12. CB Deion Sanders

A man that needs no introduction, Deion Sanders earned the nickname ‘Prime Time’ for a reason. He’s one of the greatest cornerbacks to ever play the game and transformed the way NFL players carry themselves on and off the field. He’ll always be remembered for that. 

Of course, he’ll also be remembered for his blazing speed, which he showcased on a daily basis. He recorded a 4.27 40-yard dash at the 1989 NFL Combine, though many people believe he could easily run faster. Either way, he’s one of the fastest NFL players ever to play the game.

11. WR DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson entered the league in 2008, the same year Chris Johnson ran an incredible 4.24 40-yard dash. While Jackson only ran a 4.34 at the 2008 NFL Combine, he makes up for it with his in-game speed. He beats you a number of ways, which makes him a constant threat.

Jackson has enjoyed an illustrious 14-year career in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Los Angeles Rams. He has amassed 614 catches, 10,677 receiving yards, 56 receiving touchdowns, and 4 punt return touchdowns.

10. WR Marquise Goodwin

Marquise Goodwin was the fastest player in his draft class, recording a 4.27 40-yard dash at the 2013 NFL Combine. In fact, it wasn’t even close with the next closest player recording a 4.34. The college track star is a threat to go the distance every single time the ball is snapped. 

Goodwin has played 8 seasons in the NFL (and counting) with the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, and Chicago Bears, recording 144 receptions, 2,368 receiving yards, and 13 receiving touchdowns. He looks to be reinventing himself in Chicago and should continue to impress.

9. WR Tyreek Hill

Tyreek Hill wasn’t invited to the 2016 NFL Combine, but he recorded a 4.29 40-yard dash at West Alabama’s Pro Day. Don’t let that fool you because he’s much faster than that 40 time leads you to believe. Especially with pads on, there aren’t many people that are faster than him.

Not only that, but Hill has plenty of football in front of him. He has already enjoyed an incredible six-year career in the NFL, playing in 58 games and recording 379 receptions, 5,588 receiving yards, and 48 receiving touchdowns. He also has 627 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns.

8. WR Randy Moss

Randy Moss is one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the game. While speed isn’t usually the first thing people think of when it comes to Moss, it’s certainly responsible for a lot of his success on the field. After all, he was the third-fastest player in his entire draft class. 

Moss recorded a 4.38 40-yard dash at the 1998 NFL Combine, but don’t let that fool you because he would blow right past the defense whenever he needed to. He finished his 14-year NFL career with 982 receptions, 15,292 receiving yards, and 156 receiving touchdowns. 

7. RB Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson surprised the entire NFL community in 2008 when he set the record for the fastest 40-yard dash ever at the NFL Combine at 4.24 seconds. While that record has since been broken, Johnson will still go down as one of the fastest NFL players ever to play the game.

Johnson would go on to play an incredible 10-year career in the NFL. With 130 games under his belt, he recorded 9,651 rushing yards, 55 rushing touchdowns, 307 receptions, 2,255 receiving yards, and 9 receiving touchdowns. In his prime, there weren’t many that could stop him. 

6. WR John Ross

Speaking of the record 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, John Ross was the player that passed Chris Johnson as the GOAT. Ross recorded a 4.22-second 40-yard dash and still holds the record at the NFL Combine. Who knows when we’ll see that record fall once more. 

Unlike Chris Johnson, John Ross has struggled to find his footing in the NFL. He has played a total of four seasons thus far and only has 51 receptions, 733 yards, and 10 touchdowns to show for it. He still has time to figure things out, but he certainly isn’t living up to all the hype. 

5. CB Ike Taylor

Ike Taylor was another player that didn’t receive an invitation to the NFL Combine (much like Tyreek Hill), but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t fly. In fact, he completely smoked the 40-yard dash at his Louisiana-Lafayette Pro Day, recording a 4.26 and some clocking him at 4.19.

Ike Taylor would go on to play 12 years in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being drafted in the fourth round. He played in 174 games, started 140 of those games, and recorded 14 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, 3 sacks, and 636 combined tackles.

4. WR Joey Galloway

Joey Galloway doesn’t have a 40-yard dash time recognized by the NFL, but the Ohio State Buckeye is said to have recorded a 4.18 40-yard dash back in 1995. If true, that would be one of the fastest times ever recorded, which would make sense for someone with his type of speed.

Galloway was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the first round (8th overall) in the 1995 NFL Draft. He went on to play 16 years in the NFL, playing in 198 games and recording a total of 701 receptions, 10,950 receiving yards, 77 receiving touchdowns, and 496 rushing yards. 

3. RB Bo Jackson

25 of the Fastest NFL Players Ever
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Bo Jackson is one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports — not just football. With that said, it’s no surprise to see him on the list of fastest NFL players ever. While he never attended the NFL Combine (he didn’t need to ), he did record a 4.13 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.

Jackson would go on to have an illustrious career in both football and baseball. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round of the 1987 NFL Draft. He only played four years in the league, but who knows what he could’ve accomplished if given more time.

2. WR Bob Hayes

You don’t give someone the nickname ‘The Bullet’ without a reason, and that was the case with ‘Bullet Bob.’ He is hands-down one of the fastest NFL players ever and while there’s no official 40-yard dash to prove it, we do know he once ran a 5.28 60-yard dash and 9.1 100-yard dash.

Bob Hayes went on to play 11 years in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. He played in 132 games and recorded a total of 371 receptions, 7,414 receiving yards, 71 receiving touchdowns, 3 punt return touchdowns, and 2 rushing touchdowns in his career. 

1. CB Darrell Green

Everyone knew Darrell Green was fast and he didn’t need a 40-yard dash to prove it. Still, he turned heads with a 4.09 40-yard dash at a Washington Redskins’ training camp. While that was in 1986, Green took it a step further by running a 4.43 40-yard dash in 2010 at the age of 50.

Green was drafted by the Redskins in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft and went on to play 20 years in the NFL — until he was 42 years old. He played in 295 games (started 258 of them) and recorded 54 interceptions, 8 touchdowns, 5 forced fumbles, and 10 fumble recoveries. 

The Need for Speed Continues in the NFL

If you’re like most coaches in the NFL today, then you appreciate a player that can burn rubber whenever his number is called. It’s one of the things that makes Tyreek Hill such a joy to watch in the NFL today. The same goes for John Ross, Henry Ruggs III, and Marquise Goodwin. 

Even players like Raheem Mostert, Saquon Barkley, Brandon Wilson, Cordarelle Patterson, Mecole Hardman, Christian McCaffrey, and Nic Chub are known to blast off with their speed. Defending them can be tricky if you let them get the upper hand (upper foot) on you. 

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With that said, it’s clear that the 25 players listed above are some of the fastest NFL players ever. Who knows if we’ll ever see anyone work their way into that list, especially considering how difficult it is to run any faster. If history serves us right, it’s only a matter of time!

Top 25 All-Time Fastest Skaters in the NHL

The fastest skaters in the NHL have a leg-up on their opponents. They’re able to blow by the defense and get in a good position to score. They frequently find themselves in open ice and have plenty of breakaway opportunities where it’s just them and the opposing goalie.  

Let’s be honest, the NHL is home to the best hockey players in the world, but not all players are created equal. They each come with their own unique skill set that makes them valuable. Some of them are shooters, some are defenders, some of them pass well, and others skate well. 

Throughout history, one thing we’ve noticed in the NHL is that it continues to get faster. Players not only skate faster, but the overall pace of the game is increasing year-in and year-out. It makes for a much more exciting game to watch, but doesn’t make it any easier for the players.

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Who Are the All-Time Fastest Skaters in the NHL?

Top 25 All-Time Fastest Skaters in the NHL
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Every year, at least since 1990, the NHL has hosted a ‘Fastest Skater’ competition as part of the NHL All Star Skills Competition. It’s here that some of the fastest players in the NHL each year compete for bragging rights. It’s a true test of speed, agility, and quickness on ice skates.

When ranking the top 25 all-time fastest skaters in the NHL, the Fastest Skater competition is a great place to start. Of course, not everyone had a chance to compete in the All Star Skills race, so it’s not the only factor we’ll be considering. Some players showcase their top speed in-game.

Needless to say, there are some players that are faster than others and they deserve to be remembered as such. They might’ve suited up for your favorite team or they might’ve been a thorn in your favorite team’s buttocks, but we must give respect where respect is due. 

25. Guy Lafleur

Seasons: 1971-1991 (17 seasons)

Teams: Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Quebec Nordiques

Position: Right Wing

Stats: 1,126 games, 560 goals, 793 assists, 1,353 points, 420 PPP, 5 SHP, 98 GWG

Guy Lafleur isn’t just one of the all-time fastest skaters in the NHL, he was the first player in the NHL to score 50 goals and 100 points in six-straight seasons. Over his 17-year career, he won five Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens, including four-straight from 1976-1979. 

24. Shawn Horcoff

Seasons: 2000-2016 (15 seasons)

Teams: Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks

Position: Center

Stats: 1,008 games, 186 goals, 325 assists, 511 points, 143 PPP, 16 SHP, 28 GWG

Shawn Horcoff scored more than 20 goals in two seasons, but his 28 career game winning goals are impressive. In fact, he scored at least one game winning goal in all but two of his seasons in the NHL. He spent a total of 12 years in Edmonton and was a fan favorite to many.

23. Howie Morenz

Seasons: 1923-1937 (15 seasons)

Teams: Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers

Position: Center

Stats: 550 games, 271 goals, 205 assists, 476 points, 44 GWG

Howie Morenz is largely remembered for his speed, earning the nicknames ‘Stratford Streak’ and ‘Mitchell Meteor.’ He was one of the nine original inductees into the Hall of Fame, won the Hart Trophy three times, and won three Stanley Cup championships with Montreal. 

22. Cyclone Taylor

Seasons: 1906-1923 (17 seasons)

Teams: Portage Lakers, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Professionals, Renfrow Hockey Club, NHA All-Stars, Vancouver Millionaires, Vancouver Maroons

Position: Rover

Stats: 219 games, 232 goals, 112 assists, 343 points

His real name was Frederick Wellington Taylor, but many knew him as Cyclone Taylor. He was one of hockey’s first stars, known for his prolific scoring and blazing speed. Though he never played in the NHL, he started playing professionally well before the NHL ever started. 

21. Andy McDonald

Seasons: 2000-2013 (12 seasons)

Teams: Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues

Position: Center

Stats: 685 games, 182 goals, 307 assists, 489 points, 180 PPP, 4 SHP, 27 GWG

Andy McDonald struggled with concussions throughout his 12-year career, but he’s still one of the all-time fastest skaters in the NHL. He helped the Anaheim Ducks win the 2007 Stanley Cup and won the NHL’s Fastest Skater competition the same year with a time of 14.03 seconds.

20. Marián Gáborík

Seasons: 2000-2018 (17 seasons)

Teams: Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators

Position: Right Wing

Stats: 1,035 games, 407 goals, 408 assists, 815 points, 257 PPP, 10 SHP, 71 GWG

Marián Gáborík was the Minnesota Wild’s first ever draft pick, going third overall in the 2000 draft. He would go on to score the team’s first ever goal in the regular season and goes down as one of the all-time fastest skaters in the NHL, winning the Fastest Skater competition in 2003. 

19. Bill Guerin

Seasons: 1991-2010 (18 seasons)

Teams: New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins

Position: Right Wing

Stats: 1,263 games, 429 goals, 427 assists, 856 points, 265 PPP, 3 SHP, 77 GWG

Bill Guerin became the first player of Hispanic descent in NHL history. He played 18 seasons in the NHL, winning 2 Stanley Cups and representing Team USA in three different Olympics. He even won the NHL’s Fastest Skater competition in 2001 with a blazing time of 13.690 seconds. 

18. Carl Hagelin

Seasons: 2011-present (10 seasons)

Teams: New York Rangers, Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Washington Capitals

Position: Left Wing

Stats: 660 games, 107 goals, 175 assists, 282 points, 2 PPP, 13 SHP, 26 GWG

Carl Hagelin was drafted in the sixth round of the 2007 draft. He’s no stranger to the playoffs with 141 games played, even winning the Stanley Cup twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also recorded one of the fastest times in the Fastest Skater competition at 13.218 seconds. 

17. Erik Karlsson

Seasons: 2009-present (12 seasons)

Teams: Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks

Position: Defense

Stats: 788 games, 143 goals, 482 assists, 625 points, 236 PPP, 7 SHP, 27 GWG

Erik Karlsson has been one of the league’s best defenseman since joining the NHL in 2009. He’s also one of the fastest skaters in the NHL, frequently leading the rush and quickly finding his way back on defense. He has one the James Norris Memorial Trophy twice in his career.

16. Jean Béliveau

Seasons: 1950-1971 (20 seasons)

Teams: Montreal Canadiens

Position: Center

Stats: 1,125 games, 507 goals, 712 assists, 1,219 points, 442 PPP, 2 SHP, 83 GWG

Jean Béliveau is one of the greatest NHL players to ever suit up. He won 10 Stanley Cup championships with the Montreal Canadiens, as well as 7 more as an executive with the team. At the time, he was the fourth player to score 400 goals and second to score 1,000 points. 

15. Jonathan Drouin

Seasons: 2014-present (7 seasons)

Teams: Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens

Position: Left Wing

Stats: 393 games, 69 goals, 163 assists, 232 points, 81 PPP, 15 GWG 

To this date, no one has recorded a better time at the Fastest Skater competition than Jonathan Drouin in 2015 (13.103 seconds) — though the course he skated was different than what we see today. He hasn’t had as much success on the ice as many thought, but he’s certainly fast. 

14. Peter Bondra

Seasons: 1990-2007 (16 seasons)

Teams: Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators, Atlanta Thrashers, Chicago Blackhawks

Position: Right Wing

Stats: 1,081 games, 503 goals, 389 assists, 892 points, 280 PPP, 36 SHP, 78 GWG

Peter Bondra had a successful 16-year career in the NHL, becoming one of only 37 players to score more than 500 goals. He had two 50-goal seasons, which is hard to achieve, and once scored five goals in one game. He’s also a two-time winner of the Fastest Skater competition.

13. Pavel Bure

Seasons: 1991-2003 (12 seasons)

Teams: Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers

Position: Right Wing

Stats: 702 games, 437 goals, 342 assists, 779 points, 236 PPP, 49 SHP, 59 GWG

Nicknamed ‘The Russian Rocket,’ it’s no surprise that Pavel Bure is one of the all-time fastest skaters in the NHL. He played 12 seasons in the league, scoring 60 goals in back-to-back seasons, as well as 58 and 59 goals in back-to-back seasons later in his career. 

12. Paul Coffey

Seasons: 1980-2001 (21 seasons)

Teams: Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins

Position: Defense

Stats: 1,409 games, 396 goals, 1,135 assists, 1,531 points, 664 PPP, 51 SHP, 43 GWG

Paul Coffey is one of the greatest defenseman to ever play. Known for his speed and scoring, he scored the most goals by a defenseman in one season (48) and is the only defenseman to score more than 40 goals twice. He also won the Fastest Skater competition in 1991.

11. Yvan Cournoyer

Seasons: 1963-1979 (16 seasons)

Teams: Montreal Canadiens

Position: Right Wing

Stats: 968 games, 428 goals, 435 assists, 863 points, 314 PPP, 1 SHP, 68 GWG

You don’t earn the nickname ‘The Roadrunner’ without having blazing speed, which is exactly what Yvan Cournoyer was known for, though he credited it to his long blades. He scored more than 40 goals four times in his 16-year career, including three times in a row from 1971-1974. 

10. Mathew Barzal

Seasons: 2016-present (5 seasons)

Teams: New York Islanders

Position: Center

Stats: 76 games, 176 goals, 252 assists, 65 PPP, 10 GWG

Mathew Barzal is the latest player to win the NHL’s Fastest Skater competition and almost beat the record with a 13.175-second run. His win dethroned Conor McDavid, who had won the previous three competitions. He’s still making a name for himself in the league, but he is fast.

9. Sergie Fedorov

Seasons: 1990-2009 (18 seasons)

Teams: Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals

Position: Center

Stats: 1,248 games, 483 goals, 696 assists, 1,179 points, 400 PPP, 65 SHP, 93 GWG

Sergie Fedorov is another two-time winner of the NHL’s Fastest Skater competition, winning it in 1992 with a time of 14.363 seconds and again in 1994 with a time of 13.525 seconds. He also scored 56 goals in one season and scored more than 30 goals in 10 different seasons. 

8. Mike Gartner

Seasons: 1979-1998 (19 seasons)

Teams: Washington Capitals, Minnesota North Stars, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Phoenix Coyotes

Position: Right Wing

Stats: 1,432 games, 708 goals, 627 assists, 1,335 points, 413 PPP, 29 SHP, 90 GWG

There are only two players to ever win the NHL’s Fastest Skater competition three times and Mike Gartner is one of them — in 1990, 1993, and 1996. His best time was 13.386 seconds. He also has the 8th-most goals of all-time at 708, scoring more than 40 goals in 8 different seasons. 

7. Dylan Larkin

Seasons: 2015-present (6 seasons)

Teams: Detroit Red Wings

Position: Center

Stats: 433 games, 116 goals, 173 assists, 289 points, 55 PPP, 7 SHP, 14 GWG

Dylan Larkin has only spent six years in the league, but he has already made his mark as captain of his team and one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. He won the Fastest Skater competition in 2016 and holds the current record for the fastest one-lap time at 13.172 seconds. 

6. Bobby Hull

Seasons: 1957-1972, 1979-1980 (17 seasons)

Teams: Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets, Hartford Whalers

Position: Left Wing

Stats: 1,063 games, 610 goals, 560 assists, 1,170 points, 324 PPP, 29 SHP, 98 GWG

Bobby Hull became the fourth player (at the time) to record 1,000 points in his career. He was known for his speed, earning him the nickname ‘The Golden Jet.’ He scored more than 50 goals in five different seasons, including a career-high 58 goals during the 1968-69 season. 

5. Sami Kapanen

Seasons: 1995-2008 (12 seasons)

Teams: Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers

Position: Right Wing

Stats: 831 games, 189 goals, 269 assists, 458 points, 144 PPP, 12 SHP, 35 GWG

Sami Kapanen is a two-time winner of the NHL’s Fastest Skater competition, winning it in 2000 with a time of 13.649 seconds and again in 2002 with a time of 14.039 seconds. He also scored more than 20 goals in five straight seasons and currently has a son playing for the Penguins. 

4. Maurice Richard

Seasons: 1942-1960 (18 seasons)

Teams: Montreal Canadiens

Position: Right Wing

Stats: 978 games, 544 goals, 422 assists, 966 points, 254 PPP, 6 SHP, 83 GWG

Nicknamed ‘The Comet,’ Maurice Richard was known for his speed and ability to score. He scored a career-high 50 goals during the 1944-45 season (first to ever do that) and scored more than 30 goals in eight different seasons. He was also the first player to score 500 career goals. 

3. Scott Niedermayer

Seasons: 1991-2010 (18 seasons)

Teams: New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks

Position: Defenseman

Stats: 1,263 games, 172 goals, 568 assists, 740 points, 335 PPP, 17 SHP, 39 GWG

Scott Niedermayer isn’t just one of the greatest defenseman to ever play, but he’s one of the all-time fastest skaters in the NHL. He won four Stanley Cup championships and was also a two-time winner of the NHL’s Fastest Skater competition — in 1998 and again in 2004. 

2. Connor McDavid

Seasons: 2015-present (6 seasons)

Teams: Edmonton Oilers

Position: Center

Stats: 407 games, 195 goals, 379 assists, 574 points, 174 PPP, 8 SHP, 44 GWG

Connor McDavid has only been in the league six seasons, already positioning himself as the best player in the NHL. He has led the league in goals three times, won the Hart Memorial Trophy twice, and is a three-time winner of the NHL’s Fastest Skater Competition (all in a row). 

1. Bobby Orr

Seasons: 1966-1979 (12 seasons)

Teams: Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks

Position: Defenseman

Stats: 657 games, 270 goals, 645 assists, 915 points, 324 PPP, 47 SHP, 26 GWG

Bobby Orr will go down as one of the greatest defenseman and players of all-time. He was known for his speed and scoring, which revolutionized the way people view the defenseman position. He scored more than 29 goals in six-straight seasons during his 12-year career

As the Game Speeds Up, So Do the Players

Over the past few years, the NHL has continued to evolve into a more fast-paced league. Players are getting faster and teams are getting faster, which means opponents need to learn how to catch up. It’s making the game more exciting and is leading to more goals scored.

This is evidenced by the record times we’ve seen at the NHL’s Fastest Skater competition. Before 2012, the NHL saw seven winners (of 18 total) of the competition record a time higher than 14 seconds. Since 2012, all seven winners have recorded a time under 13.454 seconds. 

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As the game continues to evolve, don’t expect it to get any slower. You’ll want to keep an eye on players like Johnny Gaudreau, Nathan MacKinnon, Taylor Hall, Matt Duchene, Cale Makar, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nikita Kucherov, STeven Stamkos, Jack Hughes, and David Pastrnak. 

Of course, that’s in addition to the active players we’ve listed above in our list of the top 25 all-time fastest skaters in the NHL. 

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