How To Read Hockey Statistics

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Written By Margaret Satchell

I love helping people get in shape by playing sports instead of just boring gym routines. Live life to the fullest.





In this article, you will find a helpful guide on how to read hockey statistics. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or new to the sport, understanding hockey statistics can provide valuable insights into the game. From goals and assists to save percentages and Corsi ratings, these numbers can paint a vivid picture of a player’s performance on the ice. By deciphering these statistics, you’ll be able to appreciate the game on a whole new level and engage in discussions with fellow hockey enthusiasts. So, let’s dive into the world of hockey statistics and discover the secrets they hold!

How To Read Hockey Statistics

Understanding the basics of hockey statistics

Introduction to hockey statistics

Hockey statistics, also known as hockey stats, are numerical data that measure various aspects of the game. These stats help to quantify a player’s performance, a team’s success, and provide insights into different aspects of the game. Understanding and analyzing hockey statistics can provide a deeper understanding of the sport and help in evaluating player performance, team strategies, and overall game trends.

Different types of hockey statistics

There are different types of hockey statistics, each focusing on specific aspects of the game. Offensive statistics measure a player’s ability to score goals, provide assists, and contribute to the team’s offensive strategy. Defensive statistics assess a player’s ability to defend, block shots, and win faceoffs. Goaltending statistics measure a goalie’s performance in terms of save percentage, goals against average, and shutouts. Advanced statistics delve deeper, considering possession metrics, usage metrics, efficiency metrics, and on-ice impact measures.

Why hockey statistics matter

Hockey statistics matter because they provide valuable insights into the game. They help both coaches and players understand their strengths and weaknesses, identify areas for improvement, and develop effective strategies. These stats also play a crucial role in evaluating player performance, selecting MVPs, and making informed decisions when it comes to drafting, trading, or signing players. Additionally, hockey fans can use statistics to analyze games, predict outcomes, and gain a deeper appreciation for the sport.

Key offensive statistics

Goals scored

Goals scored is one of the most important offensive statistics in hockey. It measures the number of times a player successfully shoots the puck past the opposing goalie and into the net. Goals scored not only contribute to a player’s individual stats but also help the team in securing victories.


Assists are awarded to players who directly contribute to a goal being scored by providing the last pass or setting up a teammate. This statistic recognizes the players who contribute to the offensive play by creating scoring opportunities.


Points are a cumulative statistic that combines goals and assists. They reflect a player’s total offensive contribution and are often used to compare players’ overall performance. Points can give a comprehensive picture of a player’s offensive impact throughout the season.

Shots on goal

Shots on goal measure the number of times a player attempts to score by shooting the puck towards the opposing team’s net. This statistic showcases a player’s ability to create scoring opportunities and test the opposing goalie.

Shooting percentage

Shooting percentage is calculated by dividing the number of goals scored by the total number of shots on goal. It represents the effectiveness of a player’s shot, indicating the likelihood of scoring when taking a shot.

Power play goals

Power play goals are goals scored when the opposing team has fewer players on the ice due to a penalty. This statistic measures a player’s ability to capitalize on the advantage of a power play opportunity.

Short-handed goals

Short-handed goals are goals scored by the team that is penalty-killing, meaning the team has fewer players on the ice due to a penalty. This statistic shows a player’s ability to score even when at a disadvantage and can significantly impact a game’s momentum.

Important defensive statistics

Blocked shots

Blocked shots measure a player’s ability to prevent the opposing team’s shots from reaching the net by getting in front of the puck. This statistic highlights a player’s defensive skills and willingness to sacrifice their body to protect the goal.


Takeaways refer to the number of times a player successfully gains control of the puck from the opposing team without committing a turnover. This statistic reflects a player’s ability to anticipate and disrupt the opposing team’s offensive plays.


Giveaways are awarded to players who lose possession of the puck to the opposing team. This statistic reflects a player’s decision-making and ability to maintain control, highlighting areas for improvement on the defensive end.

Faceoff win percentage

Faceoff win percentage measures a player’s success rate in winning faceoffs, which are used to initiate play after a stoppage. This statistic indicates a player’s ability to gain control of the puck quickly and start offensive or defensive plays effectively.


Hits measure a player’s physicality and ability to make contact with opposing players to disrupt their offensive plays. This statistic reflects a player’s physical presence and the ability to create turnovers or intimidate opponents.

Goaltending statistics

Save percentage

Save percentage is the proportion of shots on goal that a goalie successfully saves. It is calculated by dividing the number of saves by the total number of shots faced. Save percentage is a crucial metric in evaluating a goalie’s performance, as it reflects their ability to prevent goals.

Goals against average (GAA)

Goals against average (GAA) represents the average number of goals a goalie allows per game. It is calculated by dividing the total number of goals against by the number of minutes played, then multiplying by 60. GAA provides a measure of a goalie’s overall effectiveness in preventing goals.


Shutouts occur when a goalie successfully prevents the opposing team from scoring any goals during a game. This statistic showcases a goalie’s exceptional performance and ability to keep the opposition at bay.

Wins and losses

Wins and losses are straightforward statistics that measure a goalie’s success in helping their team secure victories. Although wins and losses are not solely dependent on the goalie’s performance, they are indicative of a goalie’s ability to contribute to the team’s success.

Save percentage on power play

Save percentage on power play measures a goalie’s ability to make saves when their team is shorthanded due to a penalty. This statistic demonstrates a goalie’s skill in preventing the opposing team from capitalizing on power play opportunities.

How To Read Hockey Statistics

Analyzing player performance

Comparing players using statistics

Statistics play a crucial role in comparing players and determining their overall performance. By analyzing various offensive and defensive statistics, it becomes possible to evaluate players’ skill sets and contributions to the team. However, it is important to consider context, such as a player’s role on the team, playing time, and the quality of their teammates.

Evaluating players in different roles

Players in different roles, such as forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders, have different responsibilities and play styles. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate players within the context of their specific positions and roles on the team. A comprehensive analysis takes into account the unique demands and expectations of each position.

Understanding advanced statistics

Advanced statistics go beyond traditional metrics and provide a more detailed analysis of player and team performance. Metrics such as possession metrics (Corsi and Fenwick), usage metrics, efficiency metrics, and on-ice impact measures offer a deeper understanding of a player’s contributions and the team’s strategies.

Considering context in statistics

While statistics provide valuable insights, it is crucial to consider the context in which they were achieved. Factors such as quality of opponents, strength of teammates, playing time, and game situations can significantly impact individual and team statistics. Understanding the context behind the numbers allows for a more accurate assessment of player performance.

Team statistics and rankings

Standings and points

Standings and points reflect a team’s overall performance and position in the league. Points are awarded based on team victories, with more points awarded for regulation wins and fewer points for overtime or shootout wins. Standings are an essential metric in determining playoff qualification and league rankings.

Power play percentage

Power play percentage measures the effectiveness of a team’s power play unit, which occurs when the opposing team has players in the penalty box. It is calculated by dividing the number of power play goals by the total number of power play opportunities. A higher power play percentage indicates a more efficient power play unit.

Penalty kill percentage

Penalty kill percentage reflects a team’s ability to effectively defend against power play opportunities given to their opponents. It is calculated by dividing the number of times the team successfully killed a penalty by the total number of penalties faced. A higher penalty kill percentage indicates a strong defensive performance when shorthanded.

Team plus/minus

Team plus/minus represents the difference between the number of goals scored by a team when a player is on the ice and the number of goals scored by the opposing team. This statistic provides an overall assessment of a team’s performance with a particular player on the ice.

Goals for and goals against

Goals for and goals against are basic team statistics that measure the number of goals scored and allowed by a team. These statistics help assess a team’s offensive prowess and defensive stability.

Interpreting advanced team statistics

Corsi and Fenwick

Corsi and Fenwick are possession metrics that evaluate a team’s ability to control the puck and generate shot attempts. Corsi measures the total shot attempts (shots on goal, shots that miss the net, and blocked shots), while Fenwick excludes blocked shots. Analyzing these statistics provides valuable insights into a team’s offensive and defensive effectiveness.


PDO is an advanced team statistic that combines a team’s shooting percentage and save percentage. It is used to evaluate if a team has been particularly lucky or unlucky in terms of converting shots and saves into goals. A PDO around 100 is considered average, with values above or below indicating periods of good or bad luck.

Zone starts

Zone starts measure the proportion of offensive and defensive faceoffs a player takes. It helps evaluate a team’s deployment strategy and highlights players who excel in offensive or defensive situations.

Scoring chances

Scoring chances evaluate the quality of a team’s offensive opportunities. These statistics take into account shot location, the number of defenders in proximity, and other factors that indicate the likelihood of scoring.

Shot suppression

Shot suppression metrics assess a team’s ability to limit the number of shots attempted by their opponents. Analyzing shot suppression provides insights into a team’s defensive capabilities and their ability to restrict scoring opportunities.

Understanding advanced statistics

Possession metrics

Possession metrics, such as Corsi and Fenwick, focus on a team’s ability to maintain control of the puck. These statistics consider not only shots on goal but also missed shots and blocked shots, providing a more comprehensive analysis of a team’s offensive and defensive success.

Usage metrics

Usage metrics evaluate how frequently a player is deployed in different situations, such as power play or penalty kill, and the quality of competition faced. These metrics reveal a player’s role on the team and their ability to perform under specific circumstances.

Efficiency metrics

Efficiency metrics assess a team’s ability to convert scoring opportunities into goals and prevent goals against. These statistics help gauge a team’s effectiveness in both offensive and defensive aspects.

On-ice impact measures

On-ice impact measures analyze a player’s influence on their team’s performance when they are on the ice. These metrics consider factors such as goals for and against, shot attempts, and scoring chances. They provide insights into how a player’s presence affects their team’s overall success.

Resources for accessing hockey statistics

Official league websites

Official league websites, such as the NHL website, provide comprehensive statistics for teams and players. These websites offer a wide range of information, including traditional and advanced statistics, game summaries, schedules, and standings.

Third-party analytics websites

Third-party analytics websites, such as Natural Stat Trick and Hockey Reference, offer in-depth statistical analysis and interactive tools for exploring hockey statistics. These websites often provide advanced metrics, historical data, and customizable search options.

Utilizing advanced statistics databases

Advanced statistics databases, such as those provided by analytical companies like Evolving-Hockey and Corsica Hockey, offer extensive collections of advanced hockey statistics. These databases allow users to access and analyze detailed metrics, track player performance, and compare teams across different seasons.

Mobile apps for real-time statistics

Mobile apps dedicated to hockey statistics, such as NHL and ESPN, provide real-time updates, game summaries, live scores, and player statistics. These apps offer a convenient way to stay updated on the latest hockey stats on-the-go.


Applying hockey statistics to improve performance

Understanding and analyzing hockey statistics can greatly enhance a player’s and team’s performance. By considering various offensive, defensive, and goaltending statistics, players and coaches can identify areas for improvement, devise effective strategies, and make informed decisions regarding player selection and game plans. Statistical analysis allows for data-driven approaches to training, strategy development, and player development.

Enjoying the game through statistical analysis

For hockey fans, statistical analysis adds a new dimension to the game. By delving into player and team statistics, fans can gain a deeper appreciation for the sport. Statistical analysis allows fans to predict game outcomes, assess player performances, and engage in lively discussions about the game. Incorporating statistics into the hockey-watching experience can make the sport even more enjoyable and rewarding.

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