When watching a hockey game, it’s hard not to wonder which position scores the most. Hockey is a fast-paced sport that requires teamwork and skill from every player on the ice. While every position has its own unique responsibilities, some are more likely than others to score goals.
There are five positions in hockey: forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders. Forwards play an offensive role, while defensemen focus on protecting their team’s net. Goaltenders have one job, and that is to stop pucks from going into the net. But which of these positions is responsible for scoring the most?
“The answer might surprise you.”
We’ve gathered data and analyzed statistics to determine once and for all which position in hockey scores the most. Whether you’re a diehard fan or someone just starting to learn about the sport, this information will give you valuable insight into the roles each position plays on the ice.
So sit back, grab your favorite hockey sweater, and get ready to discover the fascinating world of hockey scoring!
The Forward Positions: Who Scores The Most?
When it comes to scoring goals in hockey, the forward positions are by far the most important. These players typically spend more time on the ice and have the greatest opportunity to put points up on the board. But within the group of forwards, which specific position is best for scoring?
Goal Scoring Leaders of the Forwards
In terms of raw goal-scoring ability, the left and right wings tend to produce the most prolific scorers in the NHL. This makes sense given their primary role is to skate along the boards and create scoring opportunities from the side of the net.
Looking at the past few seasons as an example, the top goal-scoring winger has tended to outscore the top center. In fact, during the 2020-21 season, Alex Ovechkin (LW) led all skaters with 24 goals while Auston Matthews (C) had 18.
“Traditionally wingers – especially left-wingers, who play their off-wing – shoot the puck a lot more than centres…for a variety of reasons.” – David Amber, Sportsnet Reporter
Assists Leaders of the Forwards
While wingers may score the most goals, centers often lead their team in assists thanks to their responsibility for setting up plays and controlling the flow of the game. Looking back at last season’s stats, Connor McDavid (C) led the league with 72 assists while Leon Draisaitl (C/W) was second with 53.
Another factor at play here could be that defensemen will often pass to centers when starting an offensive rush, providing them with consistent possession of the puck in the offensive zone. From there, they can distribute the puck to their teammates and create opportunities for goals.
“In hockey, good passing skills are often viewed as a marker of intelligence: The more adept you are at moving the puck around without turning it over, the better chance your team has of scoring.” – Adam Proteau, The Hockey News
Points Leaders of the Forwards
The most well-rounded forwards can contribute in both areas of goal-scoring and play-making, leading to high point totals across an entire season. In the 2020-21 campaign, McDavid led all skaters with 105 points while Brad Marchand (LW) was second with 69 points.
This highlights an important aspect of scoring in hockey – namely that focusing too heavily on one facet of the game may not be enough to lead in overall scoring. To truly excel and become one of the top point-getters in the league, forwards must develop a multifaceted skill set that includes strong two-way play, shooting ability, and a knack for creating scoring chances for others.
“Hockey is a game where some players have unique talents, but nobody wins unless they work hard and play as a team.” -Wayne Gretzky
Whether you’re looking to maximize your own scoring potential or simply appreciate the finer details of the game, understanding the nuanced roles played by each forward position is essential to becoming a true student of hockey and the art of scoring goals.
The Defensemen: Can They Score High?
While many consider the forwards to be the primary goal-scorers in hockey, defensemen can also be a significant contributor on the score sheet. Their ability to join the offensive rush and contribute with their shots can make them an asset to any team. Let’s take a closer look at the top-scoring defensemen in the league and the role they play in offensive play.
Top Scoring Defensemen in the League
It is no surprise that some of the most elite players in the NHL are defensemen who consistently rank among the top scorers each year. Names like Brent Burns, John Carlson, Roman Josi, and Victor Hedman are just a few examples of such players.
Brent Burns, a defenseman for the San Jose Sharks, has been one of the premier point producers in the league over the past several years. He was tied for fourth in the list of top-scoring defensemen during the 2019-2020 season, with 45 points in 70 games played.
Similarly, Washington Capitals’ defenseman John Carlson had an outstanding scoring season during 2019-20, leading all defensemen in goals (15) and points (60).
This demonstrates that while forwards may typically lead the league in overall scoring, there is still room for defensemen to have an impact in the stats column.
Role of Defensemen in Offensive Play
Defensemen are traditionally thought of as protectors of their own zone; however, their responsibilities extend beyond simply stopping opposing attackers. Many good defensemen bring value to their teams by joining the offense when possible and adding an extra layer of danger to their opponent’s defense.
Offensively gifted defensemen often get involved in the offensive zone by pinching in from their point position or carrying the puck deep into the offensive zone. By doing so, they create an additional scoring opportunity and force the opposing team to defend them even more thoroughly.
Good defensemen also contribute to a team’s power play strategy, often serving as the quarterback for breaking out of the defensive zone and setting up scoring opportunities. This is where players like Carlson and Burns shine particularly well, using their ability to shoot accurately and move the puck effectively to command the action on the man advantage.
“You’re seeing defensemen create better than when I played.” – Wayne Gretzky
The “Great One” himself recognizes how important it had become for defensemen to add a more significant contribution to the attack. The progression doesn’t stop there though; defencemen are now being looked at more critically in their all-around game, which includes providing value on offense but not neglecting their fundamental duties.
While forwards typically sit atop most NHL goals scored lists, defensemen who focus on joining the rush and adding value could also make a case for themselves in these lists. Defensemen need to balance between being offensively active without sacrificing their primary duty.
Goalies: Do They Score At All?
When it comes to scoring in hockey, we usually think of forwards and defensemen. However, goalies have been known to score from time to time. Let’s take a closer look at rare goal-scoring occurrences by goalies.
Rare Goal Scoring Occurrences by Goalies
Scoring a goal as a goalie is quite a remarkable feat since their primary role is to prevent goals. It requires a combination of skill, luck, and opportunity. Historically, there have been only 15 instances where goalies scored a goal during regular-season play in NHL history.
The first recorded instance occurred on December 5th, 1979, when Billy Smith of the New York Islanders became the first goalie ever to be credited with an official goal. Since then, only a select number of goalies have joined this exclusive club, including Martin Brodeur, Ron Hextall, Chris Osgood, Damian Rhodes, and Mika Noronen.
In addition to these rare incidents, many other goalies have come very close to scoring a goal but were ultimately unable to do so. This includes several occasions where goalies have taken shots at the empty net during late-game scenarios or shooting the puck into the opposing zone or even hitting the post.
Importance of Goalies’ Save Percentage in Scoring
While it’s rare for goalies to score, their performance in preventing goals directly affects the team’s ability to put points on the board. The save percentage statistic measures how often a goalie stops a shot during a game. Higher save percentages result in fewer goals allowed, which can lead to more wins and higher scoring opportunities for the team.
As such, teams often rely heavily on their goalies to make saves and keep them in the game. When a goalie has an off-night, it can lead to disastrous results and quickly become a determining factor in how many goals the team allows.
Goalies’ Stats and Their Influence on the Team’s Scoring
In addition to save percentage, there are several other statistics that teams use to evaluate their goalies’ performance. These include goals-against average (GAA), shutouts, and wins. While these stats may not necessarily relate directly to scoring points, they do play an important role in giving the team a chance to win.
A high GAA indicates that the goalie is allowing more goals per period than usual, which could be potentially disastrous for the team’s chances of winning. Conversely, a low GAA means the goalie is doing a good job of preventing goals and keeping the opposing team from pulling ahead.
Goalies’ Ability to Assist in Offensive Play
While goalies are primarily responsible for defending their net, some have shown that they can also contribute to offensive plays. One way they do this is by making long passes up the ice to forwards, setting them up for shots on goal or breakaway opportunities.
Additionally, some goalies have been known to leave their nets during power plays to add another player to their team’s offensive line. This strategy is risky since it leaves them vulnerable to counters but can also increase the team’s scoring opportunities.
“In hockey, your goaltender is often your most valuable player, and having a great goalie can make all the difference. They may not score as often as other players, but their contributions are essential to the team’s success.” – Steve Yzerman
While goalies don’t typically score as much as other positions in hockey, their performance influences the team’s ability to score. In addition, they have unique opportunities to contribute offensively.
Powerplays: Are They The Key To High Scoring?
Importance of Powerplay Opportunities in Scoring
The powerplay is a crucial aspect of scoring in hockey. It occurs when one team has a player or players serving a penalty, giving the opposing team an advantage and increasing their chances of scoring. This makes it an excellent opportunity for teams to gain momentum and put points on the board.
In fact, statistics show that powerplay opportunities can be vital in determining the outcome of a game.
“The power play goal differential between winning and losing games was much more pronounced than even strength and shorthanded goals,” says Stats Insights.
This data suggests that taking advantage of powerplay opportunities could make all the difference in securing a win.
Top Powerplay Scoring Teams in the League
Which NHL teams have the highest powerplay success rate this season? Currently, the Edmonton Oilers lead the league with a 32.7% success rate on the powerplay. Coming in second are the Tampa Bay Lightning, followed by the Boston Bruins,
With these stats in mind, it’s clear that having a strong powerplay can significantly impact a team’s overall performance and allow them to rack up goals quickly.
Effectiveness of Powerplay Strategies in Scoring
One strategy used during a powerplay is called “the umbrella.” In this formation, three forwards are positioned across the top of the offensive zone while two defensemen are stationed in front of the net and along the boards, respectively. The objective is to create passing lanes and angles to keep the opposing team off balance and generate scoring opportunities.
Additionally, many teams will rely heavily on their star players during powerplays. For instance, Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point were two of the top ten leading powerplay point scorers in 2019-2020 regular season.
Having a well-defined strategy and utilizing star players can greatly affect your team’s success rate during powerplay opportunities.
Penalty Killers’ Role in Preventing High Scoring on Powerplays
On the opposite end of things, effective penalty killing is essential for preventing the opposing team from scoring during these advantageous situations. A penalty kill occurs when one team has a player or players serving a penalty, giving the other team an advantage to score while short-handed.
Thus, a successful penalty kill requires players who are able to limit their opponent’s movements on the ice, block shots, and effectively clear pucks out of their defensive zone before the opposition scores.
“When done successfully, not only does it prevent the opposing team from scoring on that particular power play, but it sets the stage for momentum going into the remainder of the game,” says Bruins Hockey Now.
Therefore, both teams must remain aware of the significance of powerplays in order to maximize their chances of winning each game.Overall, the powerplay plays a vital role in hockey by offering high-scoring opportunities to teams who rely on efficient strategies and skilled players. Meanwhile, penalty killings present a crucial challenge for defenders trying to prevent the opposing team from taking advantage of those opportunities. As such, understanding and utilizing these important aspects of hockey can lead to increased success on the ice.
Team Strategies: How Do They Affect Scoring?
Offensive Strategies for High Scoring
The objective of any offensive team is to score the most goals possible in a game. Teams do this by employing various strategies while attacking their opponents’ defense.
- Forechecking: This involves pressurizing and disrupting opponents as they attempt to move out of their defensive zone. By doing so, an offensive team can force turnovers in the opponent’s end enabling them to take shots on net resulting in scoring opportunities.
- Cycling: This strategy involves keeping possession of the puck using quick lateral passes around the offensive zone perimeter. When executed correctly, cycling opens up gaps in the opposition’s defensive structure allowing for more shooting opportunities.
- Screens and Tips: These are tactics used to impede the opposing goaltender’s ability to track and react to incoming shots on goal. Offensive players will often position themselves directly in front of the goaltender or deflect shots directed at the net creating confusion and increasing their chances of scoring.
Defensive Strategies for Lowering Opponents’ Scoring
A well-coordinated defensive system can prevent opponents from achieving high-scoring games. Defenses involve techniques ranging from how they move without the puck through to the physical attributes players add.
- Zone Defense: Most teams use a combination of man-to-man marking alongside zone defense, placing each player responsible for protecting the area nearest to them when their team isn’t in control of the puck. This approach makes it harder for their opponents to find space or passing lanes within the defensive zone.
- Shot Blocking: Preventing the opposition from getting a shot on goal is pivotal in reducing their chances of scoring. Teams with superior defensive capabilities often use aggressive shot blocking techniques where players throw themselves toward incoming pucks while still standing or falling to restrict space for offensive teams.
- Clogging Lanes: Filling open passing lanes can make it harder for opposing offenses to advance into the offensive zone and surround your defenders effectively. All outstanding defensemen should be aware of how they position themselves concerning team strategy, which can remain updated throughout the game.
“To defend well, you have to know how the other side thinks.”
While some players might score more frequently than others, hockey matches are lost and won by entire teams’ coordinated efforts. Offense creates goals, but a solid defensive unit ensures that these scores stand up at full time. By incorporating relevant strategies, both offensively and defensively, teams can increase their potential to win in professional ice hockey competitions – one of the toughest sports around.
Player Skill Sets: Which Ones Score More?
Importance of Speed and Agility in Scoring
In hockey, speed and agility are essential skills that can make the difference between scoring or not. Players who possess excellent skating ability have a better chance to get in position for shots on net, complete breakaways, or chase down pucks before their opponents.
According to NHL.com, Connor McDavid is considered one of the fastest skaters in the league and also has great puck-handling skills and quick decision-making abilities. He scored 34 goals and recorded 97 points during the 2019-2020 season.
“You definitely need speed to create more opportunities,” says Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Hagel, as reported by Stanley Cup of Chowder. “If you’re fast, you can generate more chances offensively.”
Hockey players use various techniques in order to improve their speed such as interval training, plyometric exercises, quick feet drills, and using resistance tools like sleds. With dedication and practice, speed and agility can be honed beyond natural talent alone.
Role of Strength and Size in Scoring
Aside from speed, size and strength are significant attributes in determining a player’s scoring potential. Taller and bulkier players have an advantage when it comes to protecting themselves and maintaining control of the puck while competing with smaller players.
The Sporting News reports that Alex Ovechkin is strong enough to shoot through arms and legs thanks to his sturdy build. During the 2019-2020 season, he had 48 goals and scored over 700 career goals.
“When I was playing at a higher level in Europe, I found myself getting pushed around quite a bit,” says Tomas Mojzis, a former NHL player. “So I started doing more squats and leg presses to make sure that doesn’t happen. It made a big difference in my ability to stay upright during battles for the puck.”
Strength training can also increase shot power and endurance levels, allowing players to generate force and speed necessary to shoot with accuracy even when tired.
Significance of Stickhandling and Shooting Accuracy in Scoring
In hockey, stickhandling is crucial for creating scoring opportunities by eluding defenders, producing deceptive moves, or putting passes on target. A good hockey player is able to handle pucks quickly and efficiently while keeping their head up and maintaining control.
Steven Stamkos, Captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning whose 422 goals rank him third among active NHL players for career goals scored, stated that, “Being able to handle the puck is such an important part of our game now. You have to be able to create your own space.”
“You don’t always have to deke someone out completely,” says Bruins forward Charlie Coyle, as reported by TalkingChop.com. “Sometimes it’s just about taking three quick steps around them, forcing them off-balance, and opening yourself up to take a hard shot at the net.”
Along with stickhandling abilities, shooting accuracy plays a critical role in a player’s scoring potential. The harder and more accurate the shots are, the greater the chance they will hit the back of the net. Players aim for different areas of the net depending on the situation, whether aiming top corner or using rebounds to score.
“The main thing is you want to get the shot away quickly, but you’ve got to keep your eyes on the goalie,” said Hall-of-Fame center Wayne Gretzky, via USA Today. “The most important thing is picking your spot.”
With years of practice and honing techniques, skilled players such as Nikita Kucherov and Auston Matthews have become high scorers in the league.
Frequently Asked Questions
What position in hockey typically scores the most goals?
In general, the forward positions tend to score the most goals in hockey. Specifically, the center position has the highest likelihood of scoring due to their ability to play close to the net and create scoring opportunities for themselves and their teammates. However, wingers also have a significant impact on goal-scoring, as they often play off of the center to create opportunities and score themselves.
Is it common for defensemen to score more than forwards?
No, it is not common for defensemen to score more than forwards. While defensemen are responsible for protecting their team’s net and often contribute heavily to offensive plays, their primary role is not to score goals. In fact, forwards typically have more opportunities to score due to their positioning and role in creating offensive plays. However, there are exceptions to this and some defensemen are known for their scoring ability.
Do players in the center position have an advantage in scoring?
Yes, players in the center position have an advantage in scoring due to their ability to play close to the net and create scoring opportunities for themselves and their teammates. Centers are often responsible for controlling the puck and making plays in the offensive zone, allowing them to set up scoring opportunities for themselves and their linemates. Additionally, centers are often strong skaters with good stickhandling abilities, enabling them to navigate traffic and score in tight spaces.
How important is a forward’s position on the ice when it comes to scoring?
A forward’s position on the ice is extremely important when it comes to scoring, as it affects their ability to create and capitalize on scoring opportunities. Forwards who play closer to the net, such as centers and wingers, are more likely to score due to their proximity to the goal and ability to capitalize on rebounds. Additionally, forwards who have good offensive instincts and positioning are able to anticipate plays and position themselves for scoring opportunities, increasing their chances of scoring.
What types of skills do players in the top scoring positions typically possess?
Players in the top scoring positions typically possess a combination of speed, agility, and skill on the puck. Forwards who are strong skaters with good stickhandling abilities are able to navigate traffic and create scoring opportunities for themselves and their linemates. Additionally, players who have good offensive instincts and positioning are able to anticipate plays and position themselves for scoring opportunities. Finally, players who have a strong shot and the ability to finish around the net are able to capitalize on scoring chances and score consistently.