Average Number of Goals Scored by NHL Players

An average NHL player scores less than 50 goals during his career and over 20 percent of players finish their careers without scoring a single goal. Percentage of players who score more than 300 goals is a modest 3 percent. Career goals distribution is skewed to the left illustrating the rarity of careers with a great number of goals.

The analysis below includes all the skaters who played their last NHL game on or before the 2013-2014 season. Goaltenders are excluded from the data set even though they have managed to score a few goals. Use the buttons above the chart to switch between different views.


All Players Forwards Defensemen

Regular Season Playoffs

GP Interval: 1 (slow) 5 10 20 50 100

If scoring goals during the regular season is difficult, it is even harder in the playoffs. Roughly 90 percent of players score 10 or less playoff goals during their NHL career. Over 65% of defensemen never score in the playoffs.

The tables below summarize the career goals data with the usual statistical measures. Wayne Gretzky holds the record for most goals in regular season and playoffs, while Raymond Bourque and Paul Coffey split the defencemen records respectively.

All Players Forwards Defensemen

Statistic Regular Season Playoffs
Number of Players 6 224 6 224
Minimum Goals 0 0
Maximum Goals 894 (Wayne Gretzky) 122 (Wayne Gretzky)
Average Goals 42.96 3.25
Median Goals 5 0

As you would expect from the shape of the distribution, the median is considerably lower than the average. Playoffs median is zero for both forwards and defense, which means that over 50% of NHL players finish their careers with zero goals in the playoffs.


What's Related

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QuantHockey: Most Goals in One Season