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How Tall Is The Average NHL Player? A Breakdown By Position

How tall do you need to be to reach hockey’s highest level? The data might surprise you.

Breaking down the average height of NHL players by position
Credit-NHL/Dallas Stars/Joker Mag

Hockey is one of the most athletic sports in the world. You’ve got to handle the puck, evade defenders, dish out punishing hits, and score goals.

And you have to do it all on skates!

According to official data from NHL.com, out of 1,502 active players, the average height of an NHL player is 6 feet 1.09 inches (185.67 centimeters).

If you’re wondering, that’s a little more than one inch shorter than the average NFL player but nearly 4 inches taller than the average American male (5 feet 9.1 inches).

Here is a complete breakdown of the average height of each NHL position – plus a bonus for undersized players searching for inspiration.

Average Height of an NHL Goalie

At 5'11", Juuse Saros is one of the shortest goalies in the NHL.

The average height of an NHL goalie is 6 feet 2.69 inches (189.7091 centimeters).

Tasked with guarding one of the smallest nets in pro sports – 6 feet wide by 4 feet tall – a goaltender’s job is a lot harder than it sounds. In a fascinating segment for CBS, Steve Hartman said: “Not only is this job hard – it may be one of the most impossible in sports.”

This makes it all the more amazing to see goalies like Juuse Saros, who at 5’11” stands almost 4 inches shorter than the average goaltender. Yet, he’s recorded 20 shutouts at the highest level of professional hockey.

Meanwhile, 6’8″ Mads Søgaard – the tallest goalie in the league – is looking for his first.

Size isn’t everything in the NHL (but more on that later).

Average Height of an NHL Defenseman

At 5'7", Domenick Fensore is one of the shortest defensemen in NHL history.

The average height of an NHL defenseman is 6 feet and 1.54 inches (186.804 centimeters).

When you think of defensemen, towering players like 6’9″ legend Zdeno Chára probably come to mind. But while the position skews to the taller side, there are actually a total of 79 NHL defensemen listed under 6 feet tall.

5’7″ Domenick Fensore is the smallest D-man in the league, a full 13 inches shorter than the tallest at the position: 6’8″ Tyler Myers.

RELATED: Breaking Down The Tallest NHL Players of All-Time

Average Height of an NHL Forward

Standing at 5'7", Cole Caufield is more than 5 inches shorter than the average NHL forward

The average height of an NHL forward is 6 feet and 0.54 inches (184.24 centimeters). Comprised of wingers and centers, forwards are on average the shortest position in the league.

A forward’s job is to assist and score goals. Again, much harder than it sounds. Requiring speed, agility, and great puck-handling skills, forwards tend to be on the smaller side.

There are exceptions of course, like 6’9″ center Curtis Douglas. But the position boasts a total of 277 players listed under 6’0″, with notable shoutouts like 5’7″ Cole Caufield and 5’8″ Kailer Yamamoto – two of the shortest players in the NHL.

What About Smaller Hockey Players?

Our list of the Shortest NHL players includes Cole Caufield and more

If you’re a young hockey player looking to see how you measure up, it can be easy to get discouraged. But these numbers don’t paint the entire picture.

There are plenty of smaller guys who have succeeded at the NHL level.

Take Hockey Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis, for example. Passed over because of his size, the 5’8″ undrafted winger went on to become an NHL legend.

Hungry for more? Check out our list of the shortest NHL players of all time. There are plenty of underdog stories that will show you what’s possible.

Sure, height might help. But your heart is what matters most.

RELATED: How A 5’8″ Undrafted Winger Defied The Odds To Become An NHL Legend

NHL Size FAQs

What is the biggest height difference on an NHL team?

The New York Rangers have the biggest height disparity of all NHL teams. There is a 12-inch height difference between 5’7″ Bobby Trivigno and 6’7″ Matt Rempe.

Who is the heaviest player in the NHL?

That would be 6’7″ defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who is listed at 257 pounds.

Who is the lightest player in the NHL?

5’7″ center Matthew Phillips is listed at 140 pounds, making him the lightest player in the league.

What is the median height of NHL players?

The median height of all NHL players is 6’1″ (185.42 centimeters). As a reminder, the median is the middle value in a data set.

If you enjoy inspiring underdog stories, you’ll love our Underdog Newsletter 👇

Written By

Division III baseball alum (McDaniel College) and founder of Joker Mag. Sharing underdog stories to inspire the next generation.

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