NHL Average Age from 1917‑18 to 2015‑16
Average age of NHL players has gone through many fluctuations over the years. Here we look at the historical average age between forwards, defensemen and goalies as well as the average age difference between regular season and playoffs. We also analyze the NHL team average age between player positions.
Historic data is shown twice in two different chart sets to facilitate comparison. The first set of charts compares players by position for regular season and playoffs separately. The second set concentrates on the difference in average age between regular season and playoffs across player positions. Chart data for the current season is updated every day. Click on the buttons above the charts to switch between different views.
Average Age between Player Positions
The charts below show the average age of forwards, defensemen and goalies for all seasons from 1917‑18 to 2015‑16. Results show that during most seasons, forwards have had the lowest average age and the goalies the highest. Results are consistent across regular and playoff seasons.
Average Age between Regular Season and Playoffs
Next charts show the average age separately for forwards, defensemen and goalies. Each chart displays the average age during regular season and playoffs.
There are two things to note. First, for all positions the average age is consistently higher in playoffs that it is during the regular season. Thus, it appears that more experienced teams make it to the playoffs more often than the inexperienced teams.
Second, as one would expect, the weighted average age is higher than the simple average. In other words, older players play more games during the season than the younger players who are just beginning their careers.
NHL Team Average Age in 2015‑16 Season
Next, we look at the average age of NHL team rosters during the 2015‑16 regular season. Analysis only takes into account players who are part of the current roster: If a player is traded to another team, he is excluded from the average age of the old team and added to the age of the new team.
Move your mouse over the chart to read the age of each team or read it from the table below the chart. Oldest NHL team is shown on the left, while the youngest team can be found on the right.
Full Distribution of NHL Team Average Ages
Finally, the charts below show the average age of every NHL team in the league history from oldest to youngest. Depending on the chosen average measure, the all-time oldest team is either the 1967‑68 Pittsburgh Penguins or the 2005‑06 Detroit Red Wings, while the all-time youngest team is either the 1949‑50 Boston Bruins or the 1981-82 Washington Capitals.
Contrary to the previous chart on 2015‑16 team ages, this data set does not take trades into account. A traded player therefore impacts the average age of both the old and the new team.
Average age is calculated using two different methodologies. The first is a straight forward arithmetic average, where each player has the same weight in the data set. In the charts above, I am calling this measure Simple Average. The second methodology takes into account the number of games that player has played during the season. The age of each player is weighted by the number of games he has played. This measure is called Weighted Average.
To calculate the simple average, the age of each player during any particular season is first determined by calculating the number of days between the player birth date and December 31st of the season in question. This difference (age of the player measured in days) is then summed for each season and divided by the number of players during that season. Finally, the average is divided by 365 to convert it into years.
The weighted average is calculated similarly, except that the age of each player is weighted by the number of games he has played during the season. The weighted average thus considers the impact that the player has had during the season.