What is the average ice time for an NHL player?

A player’s typical ice time in the NHL indicates how much time they need on the field in every match. It is utilized to assess the level of trust a trainer has in a particular player. A rise in ice time indicates that the trainer has more belief in that player and he is giving them more chances to control the match.

What is the average ice time in the NHL? How much time the NHL players spend on the field is based on the position they are playing in. It would be beneficial to evaluate the time. A defender will spend 20:11 minutes per game on average, while a forward will perform 15:37 minutes.

It is also necessary to know what other factors to consider about the NHL ice time on average. So, let’s begin talking about it.

average ice time for an NHL player

How many minutes do NHL players play?

Normally, NHL games last 60 minutes in which players play. The length of time that every player spends on the field changes depending on a variety of variables. They can be their talent level, the strength of the squad as a whole, and the referee’s selections.

The place where a skater plays has a major impact on how much playing time they get. Generally, a skater who plays defensive will see more action than a skater who plays offensive. 

How many minutes do NHL players play

A defenseman usually plays more than one forward for 2 purposes:

  1. Simply, more strikers than defenders are prepared for each match. There are generally 3 defensive partners and four offensive rows such as 3 for a maximum of 12 attackers for each match.
  2. The forward position takes more skaters and necessitates more energy, which rapidly vents the skaters. Due to this reason, the trainer will also wear out more attackers than defenders for every match.

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Average Ice Time for the Forward Position

The average time in a day for an attacker or forward is 15 minutes and 37 seconds. The Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid got the most playing time of any forward in the NHL last season. The average NHL time that he received was 22:50. This covers the 5-on-5, sort of power, and penalties trap periods when he was on the field. 

Forward Position in nhl

An attacker on the bottom end would perform between 11 and 15 minutes. A squad’s 12 forwards are distributed into 4 separate lines. The group’s top three lines are referred to as the first line, second line, third line, and the fourth line, respectively.

Forward LineAverage Ice Time
1st Line19:20
2nd Line16:22
3rd Line13:28
4th Line12:35

Average Ice Time for the Defense Position

The Minnesota Wild Ryan Suter had an average ice time of 26:42 minutes per game in 2018–19. He was one of the best defenders in the NHL league. 

This can be compared to the NHL defenseman having a total of 20:11 minutes. Also, it can be compared with the low end of the defenders’ minutes range of roughly 16.

Defense Position in nhl

A match has a maximum of six defensemen, who are split up into the first, second, and third pairs. The first pair spends maximum time on the squad’s power play and penalty kill. 

Also, that pair will play against the best defenders on the opposite side and have the most time on the field. The third couple normally avoids facing the best strikers on the other side and receives the “simplest” minutes.

The distribution of the typical ice time allotted to each pair is shown below:

Defense PairingAverage Ice Time
1st Pairing23:13
2nd Pairing20:00
3rd Pairing17:32

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What other factors determine how much time a player gets per game?

Below are some factors that determine how much time a player gets per game: 

  1. Individual Talent 
  2. The talent of the entire Team 
  3. Coach’s Choice

1. Individual Talent

Undoubtedly, a person’s skills will decide where they will perform. It includes the front line, second position, first-team defender, second-unit defense, etc. In other words, the more you perform, the better player you will be considered.

Individual Talent in nhl

2. The talent of the entire Team

How much time your greatest players have to perform will depend on how talented the team is. Depending on the teams’ averages, the trainer tries to maintain the player averages within a suitable range.

The talent of the entire Team

A trainer should have versatility in his starting team. Due to this, he could give the best attackers a more reasonable playing time of 17 to 19 minutes. According to the length of the NHL season, it is best to avoid depleting your skaters.

3. Coach’s Choice

The trainer can alter the team during a match depending on several factors. It includes his judgment of how well or badly a player is performing. If a player consistently makes the wrong moves, he can be left on the bench or receive less playtime. 

Coach’s Choice in nhl

Additionally, it is not unusual for a trainer to give more time to a player or team if they are having lots of scoring opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most minutes played by a player in a single regular season game?

Martin Brodeur (Canada) played 4,697 minutes as a goaltender for the New Jersey Devils (USA) during the 2006-07 NHL season, setting the record for most minutes played in a season.

Conclusion: What is the average ice time for an NHL player?

The average ice time of the NHL is 60 minutes when a player performs on the field during the match. It is the average time and depends upon multiple factors. These factors can be the ability level of a player or team as well as the coach’s opinion. 

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