What Is The Best Position In NHL Hockey?

By Usha Shrestha / 12 May 2023 06:11 AM

Jake was a 26th overall pick in the first round by the Dallas Stars in the 2017 NHL Entry
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Best position in hockey is goaltender. The goalie's performance determines whether the game is won or lost based on the opponent score.

There are five spots in ice hockey: right winger, left winger, center player, right defense, and left defense, excluding the goalkeeper, who stays in front of the net.

All the spots and the player's responsibility are equally crucial for a team to cherish a victory. The centerman is the scorer and the central attacker. The wingers pass the puck to him so that he can shoot a goal.

The defense prevents the opponent from scoring goals. Thus, every player in the game is ultimately responsible for defeating the opposing team.


Goalie is the player responsible for keeping the opposing team's puck out of his team's net. The opponent's team's ability to score depends on his performance.

The goaltender mostly stays near or in the area in front of the net to block the puck from getting into the net. They wear specific equipment like blockers, masks, leg protectors, and others to prevent the impact of the puck.

The netkeeper has the privilege of wearing special costumes and the freedom to use any body part to stop the puck. Likewise, the NHL lets the goaltender continue playing even if their stick breaks, until the period ends.

Goalie Interference Rule

NHL goalie interference rule explains a penalty called when the ice skater prevents the goaltender from stopping the puck through physical contact.

It is illegal to physically contact the goaltender, no matter where they are standing.

In the case of interference, the attacking player is granted a minor or major penalty, depending on the seriousness of the situation. 

The official reviews the footage from numerous cameras to determine the situation. If the penalty call is confirmed, a lineman blows the whistle and crosses his arms with his fists in front of his chest as a signal.

Emergency Goalie Rule 

NHL emergency goalie rule are:

  • Each team in the league should have a list of emergency goaltenders.
  • That netkeeper is to be called only when a team doesn't have two goalkeepers to begin a game.
  • The emergency goaltender can play for either team on the ice rink.

What Happens If Both Goalies Get Injured?

If both goalies get injured, a team can dress and play any eligible goalie to save the goal.

Every National Hockey League team has a backup goaltender. In simple language, one goalie enters the ice rink as a lineup player while another stays on the bench as a backup.

Pekka Rinne preventing goal at Bridgestone Arena
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A situation can occur when both goaltenders on the team are hurt while playing. In that situation, the club must dress any random yet qualified person to cover the position for the remaining game. 

Emergency Goalie List 

NHL emergency goalie list includes Jorge Alves, Scott Foster, David Ayres, and more. Ayres played for the Hurricanes in 2020 after both goaltenders got injured.

Not all tight-spot goaltenders get to play in every match. Most of the time, they dress and sit on the bench as backups.

To date, there are only six players who have recorded playing in the emergency, and they are:

  1. David Ayres
  2. Scott Foster
  3. Jorge Alves
  4. Thoma Hodges
  5. Matt Berlin
  6. Jett Alexander


Defenseman is a hockey player who prevents the opponent from scoring. They are also called "blueliners."

The latter name means the player who stands at the blue line in the rink to keep the puck in the zone. A game of ice hockey has two blueliners per team.

A professional defense player has excellent skating abilities for quick transitions both forward and backward. The main goal of the players is to cover the areas to block the offensive players while passing and shooting lanes.

For the team, they attempt to bring the puck into the scoring area, which helps the forwards make a goal.

Defenseman Points Leaders

NHL Defenseman Points Leaders are Erik Karlsson, Josh Morrissey, and Quinn Hughes. Karlsson has amassed 101 points and 25 goals.

Erik Karlsson holding his newborn boy, Stellan Axel
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Following is the list of the top National Hockey League defense players with the highest points:

  1. Erik Karlsson (San Jose Sharks): 101 points
  2. Josh Morrissey (Winnipeg Jets): 76 points
  3. Quinn Hughs (Vancouver Canucks): 76 points
  4. Dougie Hamilton (New Jersey Devils): 74 points
  5. Brandon Montour (Florida Panthers): 73 points
  6. Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo Sabres): 73 points
  7. Miro Heiskanen (Dallas Stars): 73 points
  8. Adam Fox (New York Rangers): 72 points
  9. Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche): 66 points
  10. Vince Dunn (Seattle Kraken): 64 points

Defenseman Rankings

NHL defenseman rankings for 2022-2023 are:

  • Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
  • Adam Fox, New York Rangers
  • Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres
  • Dougie Hamilton, New Jersey Devils
  • Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
  • Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins
  • Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks
  • Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets
  • Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks
  • Brandon Montour, Florida Panthers

Best Defenseman

Best NHL defensemen of all time are:

  1. Nicklas Lidstrom
  2. Bobby Orr
  3. Ray Bourque
  4. Doug Harvey
  5. Paul Coffey
  6. Denis Potvin
  7. Larry Robinson
  8. Eddie Shore
  9. Chris Chelios
  10. Scott Stevens

Defenseman Trophy

NHL best defenseman trophy current holder is Cale Makar from Colorado Avalanche. Makar was also awarded the Con Smythe Trophy in the 2022 playoffs.

The James Norris Memorial Trophy, created in 1954, is granted to the finest defensive player with all-around ability throughout the season. The same year, Red Kelly of the Wings won the title.

Top 3 finalist for the James Norris Memorial Trophy 2023
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The medal is named in honor of James E. Norris. Norris owned the Detroit Red Wings for two decades until 1952.

Defenseman With Most Points In A Season

NHL defenseman most points in a season title go to Erik Karlsson for the 2022–2023 season.

The San Jose Sharks' attacker and alternate captain scored 101 points in the season.

Some defense players holding records for most points include former athletes like Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, and Bobby Orr. Bourque has 1579 points overall, with 173 in a single season.

Likewise, Coffey is one of the defensemen to score 100 points in a season more than once. He has recorded the score five times, following Bobby Orr six times.

Left And Right Wing

Left wing and right wing stand at the side of the center player. They support the center player and score goals.

Basically, each team has two wingers in a match. One stands on the right side, while another is on the left. Their primary zone of play is along the outer playing area.

Jason Robertson captured while playing in the FLA Live Arena
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An effective winger for hockey can beat opponent defenders and get behind the opposing team's defense. They are the attackers, yet they also know how to defend the puck.

What Does Left Wing and Right Wing Do in Hockey?

Left and right wing players block the shots of the opposing team. They steal the passes from the opponent and provide them to the center.

Wingers can also try to score goals. Their tasks depend on the situation of the game. Not just passing the puck to the center, the wingers can also try to kick goals. 

Likewise, they go on defense if the opposing team has the puck. One thing they shouldn't do is play deep in their defensive zone.

The responsibilities of the wingers differ depending on which zone they are playing in. In the offensive zone, play:

  • The winger finds an open space for a pass from their teammate.
  • He obstructs a pass to the opponent's defenseman.
  • Attack the opposing defenseman if he has the puck.

In the defensive zone, play:

  • Softly pass the ball to the team player in the neutral zone so that they can choose to set up an attack.
  • The winger can carry the puck into the offensive zone if there is no other team player and can try for a breakaway.
  • Bank the ball off the glass to get it out of the zone.

Nikita holding the Stanley Cup after Tampa Bay victory in 2021
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In the case of face-offs, once the puck is dropped, the wingers engage the opponents to block them from acquiring control of the ball. Once their teammate has control of the puck, they can go back to their appropriate positions.

Best Left Wing and Right Wing

Best Left Wing and Right Wing NHL are Kirill Kaprizov, Kyle Connor, and David Pastrnak. Brad Marchand also makes it on the list.

Top 10 left-wingers for the NHL 2022-2023:

  1. Jason Robertson
  2. Kirill Kaprizov
  3. Brad Marchand
  4. Alex Ovechkin
  5. Johnny Gaudreau
  6. Artemi Panarin
  7. Kyle Connor
  8. Brady Tkachuk
  9. Jake Guentzel
  10. Kevin Fiala

Top 10 Right Wing NHL 2022-2023:

  1. Nikita Kucherov
  2. David Pastrnak
  3. Mikko Rantanen
  4. Mitch Marner
  5. Matthew Tkachuk
  6. Troy Terry
  7. Cole Caufield
  8. Mark Stone
  9. William Nylander
  10. Clayton Keller


Center is the player in the forward position, with the middle zone as their primary zone of play. They are responsible for controlling the pace of the game.

The center player has more freedom than other players in the ice rink, so they cover the maximum area of the entire ice.

In the game, the three forwards (the center and two wingers) cooperate to kick the puck into the opponent's net.

Edmonton Oilers centreplayer Connor McDavid entering the ice rink
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The wingers pass the ball to the center from the side, making it easier to shoot a goal. Centermen are the most active players on the ice and keep their feet moving.

10 Popular NHL Centre Players of All Time

Four-time Stanley Cup champion and nine-time Harf Toprhy holder Wayne Gretzky tops the list of all-time popular center players. Gretzky had four 200-point seasons.

Besides, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Phil Esposito, Jean Beliveau, and Steve Yzerman also make the list of constantly renowned hockey athletes.

Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers is on the list of renowned ice hockey athletes this year. Nath Mackinnon follows the list.

Following are the prominent center hockey skaters for the top ten list:

  1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
  2. Nathan Mackinnon, Colorado Avalanche
  3. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
  4. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
  5. Leon Draisaiti, Edmonton Oilers
  6. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
  7. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
  8. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lighting
  9. Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames
  10. Patrcie Bergeron, Boston Bruins