What Is A Point In Ice Hockey? A Guide To Points In The NHL

What Is A Point In Ice Hockey? A Guide To Points In The NHL

Points in ice hockey is a common term that could refer to a stat or a position in ice hockey. When points are referred to in terms of a stat is either talking about the statistics of a player or a team. In this article, we will be looking at the meanings the word “point” has in ice hockey. First, we are starting with the point as an ice hockey stat. 

About Points In The NHL (Stat)

About hockey points in the NHL

Points have always been a part of ice hockey. The point system currently used in the NHL is rooted in the European/British manner of awarding points. This is because the originating country of the NHL (Canada) was colonized by the British at the time ice hockey was played. 

Before the 2004-05 NHL season, there were three possible outcomes to a game; a win, loss, or tie. Back then a win was awarded two points, a loss is awarded zero points, and a tie is awarded one point to the tied teams. In addition, due to a rule during the 1999-2000 season, a team that lost in overtime was given a point for making it to overtime.

However, after the 2004-05 lockout season, ties were removed from the outcome of an NHL game and shootouts were added to serve as the final tiebreaker. The point allocation system that has been active ever since allocates two points for a win (regulation,  overtime, or shootout win), a point for an overtime or shootout loss, and zero points for a regulation loss. 

However, European leagues and international games made under the regulations of the IIHF have a newer point allocation. These leagues allocate three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime or shootout win, one point for a regulation or shootout loss, and zero points for a regulation loss. 

How To Get Points In Ice Hockey

The way players earn points in ice hockey is different from teams in the sport. Players and teams can not lose points in ice hockey. Points earned are not taken back from teams or players. 

Players' Points In Ice Hockey
  • Players’ Points In Ice Hockey
    As a player, there are two ways to acquire points; through goals or assists. For every goal or assist a player makes they are awarded a point.

    If a player scores a goal, earns a point in under Goals in his stats and this counts towards his overall point for that game, season, or career. The same also goes for assists. If a player has an assist, he earns a point under Assists in his player stat and it also counts towards his overall game point.

    When it comes to ice hockey, the point awarded to a player does not reduce even though he earns a primary or secondary assist. To know more about assists in ice hockey as well as primary and secondary assists, read Assists In Ice Hockey Explained: Types & Examples.
  • Team Points In Ice Hockey
    Teams in ice hockey can earn points through wins and overtime or shootout losses. The amount of points they earn depends on the league they are in. North Americans have the same allocation as the NHL while European and other leagues under the IIHF follow the newer allocation system.

What Award Is Given To NHL Player With The Most Points?

There are several trophies given to players and teams in ice hockey but one peculiar trophy is the Art Ross trophy. The Art Ross trophy is a trophy given to the player that leads the leagues in total points at the end of a regular season. 

It was first awarded during the 1947-48 season and it has become one of the most prestigious trophies in the NHL. The trophy has been won by many of the biggest players in the league from legends like Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, and Gordie Howe, to newer stars like Crosby, Ovechkin, and Connor McDavid to mention a few. 

Art Ross Trophy Winners In The NHL

The table below shows the winners of the Art Ross trophy for most points in an NHL season for the past 10 seasons. The point leader of the 2022-23 season is Connor McDavid

SeasonArt Ross Trophy WinnersPoints 
2022-23Connor McDavid153
2021-22Connor McDavid123
2020-21Connor McDavid105
2019-20Leon Draisaitl110
2018-19Nikita Kucherov128
2017-18Connor McDavid108
2016-17Connor McDavid100
2015-16Patrick Kane106
2014-15Jamie Benn87
2013-14Sidney Crosby104
Data from nhl.com

NHL Points Leaderboard 

NHL Points Leaderboard 

The NHL point leaderboard shows the players who have the highest number of points in a game, season, or in their NHL career. Here are some of the top point leaders for different sets of players. 

Who Is The NHL Player With The Most Career Points?

The Great One, Wayne Gretzky is the NHL player with the most career points in the NHL. During his career, Gretzky earned a total of 2857 points over the span of his 20-season career length in the NHL.

During his 20-season-long career, Gretzky topped the league in points ten times winning the Art Ross trophy for seven consecutive seasons. In addition to being the NHL player with the most points, Gretzky also ranks as the NHL player with the most career goals and assists. He holds the record with 894 goals and 1487 assists.

American NHL Player With The Most Career Points 

Brett Hull stands as the American-born NHL player with the most career points recording 1391 points in 1269 NHL games. Even though he stands as the top American player in points, he ranks no.25 on the NHL career point leaderboard. Brutt played in five NHL teams, with his last team being the Phoenix Coyotes. 

NHL Defenseman With The Most Career Points

With 1579 points in 1612 NHL games, Ray Bourque stands as the NHL defenseman with the most career point. In addition, he ranks no.11 on the NHL all-time career points board with 410 goals and 1169 assists in his career. Ray Bourque played for the Colorado Avalanche and Boston Bruins during his time in the NHL.  

Which NHL Player Has The Highest Points In A Season?

Wayne Gretzky has the NHL record for most points in a season recording 215 points at the age of 24 during the 1958-86 season. In addition, of the top ten positions for players with the most point in an NHL season, Gretzky takes up eight spots leaving only Mario Lemieux at no.5 and 8. 

1Wayne Gretzky215
2Wayne Gretzky212
3Wayne Gretzky208
4Wayne Gretzky205
5Mario Lemieux199
6Wayne Gretzky196
7Wayne Gretzky183
8Mario Lemieux168
9Wayne Gretzky168
10Wayne Gretzky164
Data from quanthockey.com

NHL Player With The Most Points In The 2021-22 Season

Ranking number one in the NHL point leaderboard for the 2021-22 season is Connor McDavid with 123 points. The centerman of the Edmonton Oilers topped the league with 44 goals and 79 assists to win the Art Ross trophy. 

1Connor McDavid123
2Johnny Gaudreau115
3Jonathan Huberdeau115
4Leon Draisaitl110
5Kirill Kaprizov108
6Auston Matthews106
7Steven Stamkos106
8Matthew Tkachuk104
9J.T. Miller99
10Mitchell Marner97
Data from quanthockey.com

NHL Player With The Most Point In The 2022-23 Season

NHL Player With The Most Point In The 2022-23 Season

During the 2022-23 regular season, McDavid repeated his dominance in the league by topping the leagues with a higher point margin. McDavid earned 153 points, having 25 more points than second-place, Leon Draisaitl. Finishing first in the 2022-23 regular season earned him his fifth Art Ross trophy in the NHL.

Ranking PlayersPoints
1Connor McDavid153
2Leon Draisaitl128
3David Pastrnak113
4Nikita Kucherov113
5Nathan MacKinnon111
6Jason Robertson109
7Matthew Tkachuk109
8Mikko Rantanen105
9Ryan Nugent-Hopkins104
10Elias Pettersson102
Data from quanthockey.com

Point As A Position In Ice Hockey

A point in ice hockey can also refer to a position. When we refer to a point in ice hockey as a position, it is a name given to a player’s position when he is near the blue line in the offensive zone (attacking zone). 

This means that a player is in the offensive zone but close to the blue line which serves as an indicator between the neutral zone and the offensive zone. Moreover, when a player is said to be playing a point in ice hockey, he is not in the neutral zone or defensive zone. 

Any player can take up a point position in ice hockey. However, in some instances, it is more likely for defensemen men to play point. 

Point as a position takes its name from an ice hockey defensive position, point, and cover point. 

Advantage Of A Point In An Hockey Game

Advantage Of A Point In An Hockey Game

These are some of the advantages of the point position in an ice hockey game.

  • Allows For Quick Defense
    When a player takes up the space of defense he has the ability to make quick interceptions of shots that are made into the neutral zone by the opposing player. The point position also gives a player the ability to clear the puck shot into the neutral zone and send it back into the offensive zone.  
  • Strengthens Offense
    Clearing the puck and sending it back into the offensive zone gives room for a rebound or deflection from a forward close to the net. In addition, since forwards do not need to chase the puck into the neutral zone, they can maintain a tight level of attack on the opposing team.

    Also, a player that takes up the point position can score goals from his position. Although this is not very common, a player who is excellent at slap shots can make one from the point if he sees a clear shot. 
  • Makes For An Efficient Power Play
    During a powerplay, a point can be a good way to make the best of a powerplay. From his position close to the blue line of the offensive zone, he can serve as an extra wheel, passing the puck around the offensive zone. 


There you have it, the two instances in which the word “point” could be used to refer to. Points in ice hockey can refer to a position or stat. As a hockey stat, it tells us about the number of games won or lost, as in a team’s stat, and for players the number of goals and assists. 

Thanks for reading. 

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