How Many Players Are On An NHL Team?


How Many Players Are On An NHL Team?

The rules state that 20 players can suit up for game time on an NHL team, with 18 skaters and two goaltenders. However, teams can carry up to 23 players on their roster. This can be due to various reasons, such as injuries, suspensions, or personal reasons that require a leave of absence.

Importance Of Roster Depth In Hockey

Allows a Team To Withstand Injuries: Injuries are common in hockey and can often be season-ending. If a team lacks depth, it will be difficult to replace an injured player. This could make the team less competitive and potentially miss the playoffs.

Better Deal With Absences: This includes players being called up to play for their national team or taking a leave of absence. If a team lacks depth, filling the void left by these absences will be difficult. This could make the team less competitive and potentially miss the playoffs.

Ability To Rest Players During The Regular Season: This is important because it can help prevent injuries and it can also help keep players fresh for the playoffs. If a team does not have depth, they will likely have to play their best players more often than they would like, which could lead to them being worn down come playoff time.

Position Breakdown

Each position requires specialized skills and experience, so teams often have specific players assigned to each role. For instance, there will generally be four defensemen, three centers, three right-wingers, three left-wingers, one enforcer/fighter type player, one fourth-line forward (usually a faster player), one backup goaltender, two extra forwards for injuries or when someone gets sent down from the minors, etc., and one extra defenseman for injuries.

Teams can be, at most, 23 active players (or 25 if they choose to carry two extra goaltenders) at any given time during a season. They cannot exceed 50 contracts per season (including prospects in junior hockey leagues). No matter their composition, all rosters must adhere to specific guidelines set by the league.