How Many Players are in the NHL? (Updated 2022-23)

After each season, every National Hockey League team has to transfer its players to minors. It makes space for new players and is a good act for hockey fans to see their players on different teams. It is also beneficial because things are subject to change throughout the season. There will be player injuries, promotions and demotions, delays in player signings, and more for all teams.

So, How Many Players are in the NHL? During the 2021–22 NHL season, the NHL had 1123 players. According to the NHL’s regulations, each team must have 23 players on their active roster before the start of the season. In addition, each side is only permitted to have 20 players in their lineup for each game (18 skaters + 2 goalies).

In this post, I shall shed light on the following, so you can get details about players on the NHL team.

Total number of players who played in the NHL

National Hockey League’s 1123 players for the 2021-22 season are as follows:

  • 119 goaltenders
  • 1,004 skaters

The NHL now limits the number of players on a roster at any given moment. Players on the injured reserve are not counted toward the total number of players a team is allowed to carry. As a result, the NHL will have between 640 and 736 players on the roster at any given moment.


The reserve list is capped at a maximum of 90 players

As was indicated before, the players with Standard Player Contracts and those who have not yet signed contracts make up the reserve list.

Draft picks are considered unsigned players since the team retains ownership of their rights even though the player has not yet signed a contract with the organization.

Again, the number of players in the NHL will always be between the number of players allowed on the Active Player Roster and those allowed on the Standard Player Contract restriction.

Common scenarios on how many players a team has at any one time?

  • The team might decide to carry 20-23 players to accommodate this. In this scenario, there would be 13 forwards (of which 12 would play the game), 7 defensemen (of whom six would play the game), and 2 goaltenders.
  • Due to limits imposed by the salary cap, it is not typical for a team to have only 20 players listed on their roster; nonetheless, this does occur occasionally. A team is only authorized to spend specific money on its roster of players. Moreover, if a player gets wounded, he is expected to put on the injured stock.
  • A team may have 22 or 23 players on the roster, but many of those players may be on the injured list. Hockey is physically demanding, and players are injured all year round. It is common for teams to have a few wounded players hanging around who are not currently listed on the active roster. 
  • When an injured player is ready to return to the field, the team must ensure enough room on the roster to accommodate the player. You can either trade a player or send one to the minors if your team has a roster of 23 players and wants to free up some space.

Related Post: What’s PIM in hockey? (with stats)

NHL Trade Deadline and the Increase in Roster Size and Number of Players

The 23-man roster margin is excluded once the trade’s last date for the NHL passes. It occurs approximately one month before the completion of the regular season. However, an NHL team is only permitted to make four additional call-ups; however, they are permitted to make call-ups from affiliated teams following the conclusion of their regular season and playoffs. The regular seasons of these leagues come to a close simultaneously with the NHL’s.

#Roster LimitsCount Per Team Total (31 Teams)
1Game Roster20640
2Active Roster23736
3Standard Player Contract (50-Max)501600
4Reserve List (90-Max)902880

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The Black Aces

The number of players encircling a team intensifies dramatically during the playoffs. Players who have completed their minor league playoffs and have not yet reached the pay cap can join the team.

The black aces are the players who enlist the big club for the playoffs. It is not uncommon for these players to practice together, even though they’ve likely concluded their minor league seasons and are eligible to play in the playoffs if necessary. To maintain the same routine as the previous year, the coach only allows his star players to practice together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Black Players: How Many are in the NHL?

According to reports, white players make up 97% of the National Hockey League, while players of various races make up the remaining 3%. Black people contain 26% of the remaining ethnicities. Therefore that percentage is 3%. Twenty of the twenty-six black hockey players hail from Canada, while the other six are from the African American community in the United States.

NHL Players: What about their Nationality?

The bulk of NHL players have constantly been American and Canadian, but the percentage of Canadian players has lowered considerably since 1980 as a result of the increased popularity of hockey in other parts of the world and the fact that players from all over the world have grown up playing hockey and have eventually made it to the NHL.

How can you know that your name has been called in the Nhl draft?

Players who put in a lot of effort and demonstrate their worth on the ice have a chance of being drafted into the National Hockey League (NHL) immediately after college or after a few years spent playing in the minor leagues. Every year, the National Hockey League (NHL) has a draft in which teams select players from high schools and colleges worldwide or within the United States.

Conclusion: How Many Players are in the NHL?

The response to your query is the age-old “it depends,” as you can see for yourself. Were you curious about the number of players participating in a National Hockey League season?
You may be compiling a report to determine how many players sign contracts with the NHL or a minor league organization. It has also been the subject of studies that attempt to measure the percentage of players who progress from participating in a youth hockey program to playing in the National Hockey League. The purpose of this study was to provide you with an overall picture of all the available options.

As more players achieve their NHL aspirations, the average number is likely to rise. Hopefully, we’ll see a season with more than a thousand players soon enough. 

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