What are points in hockey? (and how to calculate)

Hockey stats have a lot of abbreviations. When you start following the game it is hard to know what all of them mean. But the most important one, and the one people care the most about is the Points.

What are points in hockey? The P in hockey stats stands for Points. A player gets one point for each goal or assist that they score and Points are the cumulative total of all the goals and assists that a player accumulates. 

The simplest way to look at it is Goals + Assists = Points

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Let’s look at this a little more closely and the best way to do that is to use some examples. 

Do goals and assists both count as one point? 

Before we get to the examples there is one question we need to ask: do goals and assists count as one point?

Yes, both goals and assists both count as one point.

For each goal scored in the NHL it can have up to two assists. Assists are awarded to the last two players on the goal scorer’s team who have touched the puck after regaining possession from the other team before the goal was scored.

In other words, if our team steals the puck from the other team and it gets passed or touched by two different players before a goal is scored each of those players gets an assist.

A goal can be unassisted or only have one assist attached to it.

Both the goal and each of the assists will count as one point towards the players stats. Since there are up to two assists awarded per goal most players will have more assists than points. 

Now, let’s get to those examples. 

Examples for reading points stats

How to read the box score and a players statistics to figure out points: 

When you are looking at the boxscore of a game they will list the goals like this:

This was from a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vegas Golden Knights and highlights what happened in the first period.

At the 2 minute and 53 second mark Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins scored a goal that was assisted by Bryan Rust and Dominik Kahun.  The ‘12’ beside Malkin’s name indicates that it was his 12th goal of the season. As well it was Rust’s 18th assist of the season and Kahun’s 13th.

The goal and assists each count as 1 point for the players.

At the bottom of the game box score it will list all of the goals, assists and points the players get in the game.

For the Penguins top players it looked like this:

First to note that P for Points is being represented as PTS, which is often the case and why I put this example in here.

Remember: Goals + Assists = Points.

In this game Dominik Kahun got 1 goal and 1 assist for a cumulative of 2 points. Malkin had 1 goal + 0 Assists = 1 Point

When you look at a players individual statistics you will see the cumulative total of goals, assists, and points that they had in all of the games that year.

Does the leader of total points in a season get an award? 

Yes, the player who gets the most points in the year is awarded with the Art Ross Trophy. 

How many points does a player get in a season?

There is a wide variation of point totals for players who play for a whole season, because there is wide range of different types of players. Some players are offensively gifted, while others are in the league who have a more defensive focus.

With that being said, a player who plays the whole season will get between 20 to 100 points. If you can maintain a 40 point pace or higher there is a pretty good chance you will find a contract

Top 10 point leaders for 2018-19

Nikita KucherovTampa Bay128
Connor McDavidEdmonton116
Patrick KaneChicago110
Leon DraisaitlEdmonton105
Brad MarchandBoston100
Sidney CrosbyPittsburgh100
Nathan MacKinnonColorado99
Johnny GaudreauCalgary99
Steven StamkosTampa Bay98
Aleksander BarkovFlorida96

The top point season of all time was by Wayne Gretzky – check out a breakdown of points Gretzky scored for each team he played for. check out a breakdown of points Gretzky scored for each team he played for. . He scored 215 points in the 1985-86 season. In fact Gretzky has 9 of the top 10 point seasons. The lone exception was Mario Lemieux who registered 199 points in a season.  

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