Skating speed is a crucial and fundamental aspect of ice hockey, and it plays a significant role in the overall performance of players.
A player with exceptional skating speed can create breakaway opportunities, getting ahead of defenders and having a clear path to the opponent's goal.
Additionally, fast skaters can quickly backtrack and defend against opponents' offensive rushes, preventing scoring chances.
Players who possess exceptional speed contribute significantly to their team's success by creating scoring opportunities, defending effectively, and influencing the overall flow of the game.
National Hockey League (NHL) is the premier league of ice hockey and most of the players in the league have a lightning skating speed.
1. Paul Coffey
Paul Coffey was widely regarded as one of the fastest skaters in NHL history. His fluid and powerful skating style allowed him to cover a lot of ice quickly.
Coffey played in the NHL from the late 1970s to the late 1990s, spending the majority of his career with the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
He was known for his offensive prowess, setting records for goals and points by a defenseman.
His impact on the game, particularly as a mobile and dynamic defenseman, left a lasting legacy in the hockey landscape.
2. Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid is one of the fastest and most dynamic players in currently the NHL.
While specific measurements may vary, he consistently demonstrates exceptional acceleration and top-end speed on the ice.
During the NHL All-Star Weekend's Fastest Skater competition, McDavid has participated multiple times and showcased his speed against other top players.
In the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Competition, McDavid set a new record in the Fastest Skater event with a lap around the rink in 13.215 seconds.
3. Peter Bondra
A former Slovak professional ice hockey player, Peter Bondra enjoyed a successful career in the NHL.
Known for his outstanding speed on the ice, Bondra played as a right winger and spent the majority of his NHL career with the Washington Capitals.
He was widely recognized as one of the fastest skaters during his playing days in the 1990s and early 2000s.
His speed, along with his goal-scoring ability, made him a dynamic and dangerous offensive player.
4. Pavel Bure
A former Russian professional ice hockey player and one of the most electrifying players in NHL history, Pavel Bure was known for his exceptional skating speed.
Bure played as a right winger and had a highly successful career with the Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, and New York Rangers.
He was often regarded as one of the fastest skaters in the NHL during his playing days in the 1990s. Bure's explosive acceleration and top-end speed made him a dynamic offensive threat.
5. Yvan Cournoyer
Yvan Cournoyer played most of his career with the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL. Known as the "Roadrunner" for his incredible speed.
Cournoyer's quick acceleration, agility, and ability to reach top speeds made him a dynamic and effective player on the ice.
As a right-winger, Cournoyer was an integral part of the Montreal Canadiens during their dynasty years.
His speed and offensive skills helped him become a consistent goal scorer and a key player in numerous Stanley Cup victories.
6. Sergei Fedorov
A former Russian professional ice hockey player, Sergei Fedorov was widely recognized for his exceptional skating speed during his illustrious career in the league.
He played as a forward and spent the majority of his career with the Detroit Red Wings.
While specific speed measurements may not be readily available, Fedorov's reputation as one of the fastest skaters of his era is well-documented.
His explosive acceleration, smooth stride, and ability to reach high speeds made him a dynamic and versatile player on the ice.
7. Bobby Orr
Bobby Orr, widely regarded as one of the greatest defensemen in the history of ice hockey, was known for his extraordinary skating speed and ability.
He played the majority of his NHL career with the Boston Bruins in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Orr's remarkable acceleration, agility, and speed set him apart from other players, and he revolutionized the role of defensemen with his offensive contributions.
He was known for his ability to carry the puck end-to-end, showcasing his speed as he transitioned from defense to offense seamlessly.
8. Maurice Richard
Maurice "Rocket" Richard, one of the greatest goal-scorers in NHL history, was nicknamed "Rocket" due to his explosive speed on the ice.
He played most of his career with the Montreal Canadiens from the 1942-43 season to the 1959-60 season.
During his illustrious career, Richard became the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a single season, achieving this milestone in the 1944-45 season.
His speed, scoring prowess, and intensity made him a beloved and iconic figure in the history of the Montreal Canadiens and the NHL.
9. Guy Lafleur
Guy Lafleur played the majority of his career with the Montreal Canadiens from 1971 to 1985.
He was widely recognized for his smooth and effortless skating style, as well as his speed and agility on the ice.
During his prime, Lafleur was one of the most electrifying and skilled forwards in the NHL and was known for his exceptional skating ability during his career.
He possessed the ability to accelerate quickly, change directions smoothly, and navigate through opposing defenses with finesse.
10. Erik Karlsson
The Swedish professional ice hockey defenseman, Karlsson is well known for his speed, such as his ability to lead a rush and be the first man to return to defend.
In 2012, Bobby Orr praised Karlsson for his fast skating and performance, comparing him to former defencemen such as Larry Robinson and Paul Coffey.
Coffey himself praised Karlsson as an "elite player" and one of the best players in the NHL. Karlsson's ability to join the rush and contribute offensively is a testament to his skating prowess.
11. Mike Gartner
Mike Gartner was known for his outstanding speed on the ice and played as a right winger for several teams in the NHL from 1979 to 1998.
Gartner participated in the NHL All-Star Game multiple times and won the Fastest Skater competition during the All-Star Skills Competition in 1991.
Mike's speed was a significant asset throughout his career, allowing him to excel in both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game.
12. Bobby Hull
Bobby Hull, known as "The Golden Jet," was one of the most electrifying and dominant players in the history of ice hockey.
Hull was renowned for his powerful and accurate shot, but he was also known for his exceptional speed on the ice. He was considered one of the fastest skaters of his era.
The 1983 Hockey Hall of Famer, Hull played in both the NHL and World Hockey Association (WHA) during his 23-year playing career from 1957 to 1980.
13. Sami Kapanen
A former Finnish professional ice hockey player, Sami Kapanen, was known for his speed and agility on the ice.
He played in the NHL for several teams from the early 1990s to the mid-2010s, including the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, and Atlanta Thrashers.
Kapanen was widely recognized for his quick acceleration and overall swiftness. His speed made him a valuable asset on the ice, allowing him to be effective both offensively and defensively.
14. Scott Niedermayer
Scott Niedermayer played the majority of his NHL career with the New Jersey Devils and later with the Anaheim Ducks.
He was known for his smooth and effortless skating style, making him one of the premier defensemen of his era.
Niedermayer's skating skills were a significant part of his game, allowing him to contribute offensively and excel in his defensive responsibilities.
His impact on the ice, including his speed and ability to move the puck, solidified his place as one of the great defensemen in the history of the sport.
15. Dylan Larkin
Larkin plays as a center and serves as the captain of the Detroit Red Wings, who is known for his impressive skating speed.
At the 2016 NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills Competition, Larkin set the NHL record for fastest skater, with a time of 13.172 seconds, breaking Mike Gartner's record of 13.386 that was set in 1996.
Skating is a crucial aspect of Larkin's playing style, allowing him to navigate the ice efficiently, create scoring opportunities, and contribute both offensively and defensively.