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 are 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, we are 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

A component of ice hockey has always been points. The European/British method of allocating points is the foundation of the point system currently in use by the NHL. The reason for this is that when ice hockey was first played, the British had colonized Canada, the NHL’s birthplace.

In the early years, there were three outcomes a team could have for every game; a win, tie, or defeat, and this continued until the 2004–05 NHL season. Back then, each team received one point for a tie, two points for a win, and zero points for a loss. In addition, a club that lost in overtime received a point for advancing to overtime due to a rule that was in place throughout the 1999–2000 season.

Shootouts were added to serve as the final tiebreaker following the 2004–05 NHL lockout, which resulted in ties being eliminated from game results. Since then, the scoring system has awarded two points for a victory (in regulation, overtime, or a shootout), one point for a defeat in overtime or shootout, and zero points for a defeat during regulation time.

A more recent system of awarding points is used in international competitions and European leagues that follow IIHF rules. However, this differs from the point rationing system used by the NHL. In these leagues, a win in regulation earns three points, a win in overtime or a shootout earns two points, a defeat in overtime or shootout earns one point, and a loss in regulation time earns zero points.

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
    There are two methods for a player to get points: by scoring goals or providing assists. Each goal or assist a player contributes results in a point. Whenever a player scores a goal, that goal counts as one point toward that player’s overall point total for the game, season, or career. The same holds true for assists.
  • 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?

In ice hockey, individuals and teams are awarded a number of trophies, but the Art Ross trophy stands out. Only players who finish the regular season with the most points overall in the league receive the Art Ross trophy.

It was given out for the first time in the 1947–1948 season, and it has since grown to be one of the NHL’s most prestigious awards. Several of the biggest players in the game, including Crosby, Ovechkin, and Connor McDavid (to name a few), as well as legends like Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, and Gordie Howe, have won the award.

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 NHL player with the most points in a career is “The Great One”, Wayne Gretzky. Throughout the course of his 20-season NHL career, Gretzky accrued a total of 2857 points.

Throughout the course of his 20-year career, Gretzky won the Art Ross trophy seven times in a row and finished first in the league in points ten times. Gretzky stands first among NHL players for both career goals and assists in addition to points scored. His 894 goals and 1487 assists are the most in history.

American NHL Player With The Most Career Points 

With 1391 points in 1269 NHL games, Brett Hull holds the record for the NHL player of American descent with the most career points. Despite being the American player with the most points, he is ranked no. 25 on the list of all-time NHL point leaders. The Phoenix Coyotes were Brutt’s final NHL team after playing for five different ones.

NHL Defenseman With The Most Career Points

Ray Bourque is the NHL defender with the most career points with 1579 in 1612 games in the NHL. Also, with 410 goals and 1169 assists during his career, he is ranked No. 11 on the NHL’s all-time career points list. During his career in the NHL, Ray Bourque participated for the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche.

Which NHL Player Has The Highest Points In A Season?

At the age of 24, in the 1958–86 season, Wayne Gretzky set the NHL record for most points in a season with 215 points. In addition, Gretzky occupies eight of the top ten rankings for players with the most points in an NHL season, leaving Mario Lemieux in positions 5 and 8 alone.

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

In ice hockey, a position can also be referred to as a point. A player’s position while he is in the offensive zone, close to the blue line, is referred to as a point when playing hockey.

When a player is called a point, it indicates that a player is in the offensive zone but near the blue line, which marks the boundary between the offensive zone and the neutral zone.

Note: When a player playing as a point is not in the defensive zone or neutral zone. Rather, he is in the offensive zone but just positioned close to the offensive line.

In ice hockey, any player may occupy a point position. Moreover, in certain scenarios, defensemen men are more likely to play point.

The word “point” comes from the ice hockey defensive positions: “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
    The capacity to quickly intercept shots that the opposing player attempts to make into the neutral zone is possible when a player occupies the point for defensive play. A player who occupies the point position can also return the puck into the neutral 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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