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Breaking Down The Tallest NHL Players: Now & In Hockey History

Plus: the stories behind these hockey outliers.

Zdeno Chara and the tallest NHL players of all time
Credit-NHL/Boston Bruins/Joker Mag

Sometimes size matters! When it comes to sports, it’s the one thing you can never teach.

You can show a player – regardless of their height – how to be a good player, but no matter what you do, you can never change a player’s height.

When it comes to basketball, height is a fairly common concern, whether it be in a rec league, high school, college, or the NBA. But, when you talk about the NHL, it’s rare that you find tall players.

And let’s face it, like with most things in life, being a tall hockey player can have its advantages. Longer reach and stick length, taking up space on the ice, and covering more ice in fewer strides.

Here is our complete breakdown of the tallest players in the NHL – now and throughout league history. While other sources might vary in their reporting of exact heights, our list is based on official data provided by NHL.com.

Zdeno Chára (6’9”)

At 6'9", Zdeno Chára is the tallest player in NHL history. Chara is pictured towering over an opponent to the right side of the text.

Standing at 6 feet 9 inches (2.057 meters), Zdeno Chára is the tallest player in NHL history. In case you’re wondering, Chára would’ve stood 18 inches taller than Roy “Shrimp” Worters, the shortest player in professional hockey history.

The list of Zdeno Chára’s NHL accomplishments is nearly as long as he is tall. A Stanley Cup champion, seven-time All-Star, Norris Trophy winner, all-time games played by a defenseman, and even the NHL record for the hardest slapshot.

And we haven’t even touched his international resume. 

Selected 56th overall by the New York Islanders in the 1996 Draft, Chára spent his first two years in North America playing for the Prince George Cougars (WHL) and the Kentucky Thoroughblades (AHL). During his four seasons with the Islanders, Chára was mostly a stay-at-home defender, breaking double digits in points just once (11 points in 1999-2000).

A 2001 trade to the Ottawa Senators gave the ever-improving defenseman new life as he found himself playing more of a two-way role. He hit double digits in goals in three out of his four seasons in Canada’s capital.

The 2004-05 NHL lockout proved to be a game-changer for both the Senators and Chára as the team had to choose between keeping either the Czech defender or Wade Redden due to financial reasons.

The Senators made their regretful decision on July 1st, 2006, as Chára signed a free-agent deal with the Bruins. In Boston, he immediately became the team captain and one of the league’s elite defensemen for the next fourteen years.

Chára finished off his illustrious NHL career where it all started, returning to the Islanders for his final season in 2021.

RELATED: The Tallest Football Players in NFL History

John Scott (6’8”)

He may have only recorded eleven points during his 286-game NHL career and his career high in goals may have only been three. But John Scott can claim something that many other NHL players cannot, even though they may have a better statistical career.

That is being an official NHL All-Star and All-Star Game MVP.

Undrafted out of high school, Scott played four years of college hockey with the Michigan Tech Huskies before signing a free-agent deal with the Houston Aeros (AHL). Scott was later picked up by the Minnesota Wild in 2006.

Sadly his NHL debut was put on ice. While the Wild were scheduled to travel to Canada to play the Toronto Maple Leafs, Scott did not have a passport. 

Known as an enforcer more than a scorer, Scott had 544 penalty minutes compared to just 11 points. But he found his name thrust into the spotlight during the 2015-16 season when fans voted him into the All-Star game as captain of the Pacific Division squad.

Despite the league and the Arizona Coyotes organization doing everything they could to encourage Scott to remove himself from the mid-season classic, the fans’ voices couldn’t be silenced.

“So when someone from the NHL calls me and says, ‘Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?’ … That’s when they lost me,” Scott wrote in The Players’ Tribune.

“That was it, right there. That was the moment. Because, while I may not deserve to be an NHL All-Star, I know I deserve to be the judge of what my kids will — and won’t — be proud of me for.”

Pocketing two goals during the semi-final round of the All-Star tournament, fans voted Scott as the MVP of the weekend, much to the dismay of the league.

Tyler Myers (6’8”)

Standing three inches taller than his maternal half-brother New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes, maybe Tyler Myers could have tried his hand at the NBA instead of the NHL.

Entering the NHL as the 12th overall selection in the 2008 Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, Myers played his fourth and final season with the Kelowna Rockets (WHL). The 6’8″ D-man helped the team win the 2009 Ed Chynoweth Cup while being named the WHL Playoff MVP.

Myers spent six years with the Sabres, where scored a career-high 48 points as a rookie.

A 2014 trade saw the big Texan return to Canada, where he spent the next five seasons with the Winnipeg Jets.

Later becoming a mainstay on the Vancouver Canucks blueline, Myers earned the nickname “Chaos Giraffe” by the Vancouver fans. Unfortunately, it’s not so much in an affectionate way but more as a description of his lack of graceful skating ability and knack for taking untimely penalties as smaller offensive players zip by him.

RELATED: The Shortest NHL Players of All-Time – Now & In History

Andrej Sustr (6’8”)

As they are to most people, the beaches in Florida and California were appealing to Andrej Sustr, who made multiple appearances with both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Anaheim Ducks during his NHL tenure.

After moving from his hometown of Plzen, Czechoslovakia to Alaska to follow his hockey dreams, the 6’8” teenage defenseman eventually caught the eye of the University of Nebraska Omaha coaching staff.

While he went undrafted during his three-year run with the Mavericks, Sustr had opportunities to participate in several NHL development camps – one of them being for the Lightning. Just eight days after signing his NHL contract, Sustr made his professional debut.

After six seasons with the Lightning, Sustr relocated to the West Coast, signing a free-agent deal with the Ducks. But as they say, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Sustr spent more time with the Ducks AHL club, the San Diego Gulls, than he did with the main roster. 

Following a two-year stint with the Kunlun Red Star of the KHL, life came full circle for Sustr, returning to the Lightning for the 2021-22 season. Placed on waivers before the end of the season, the Ducks picked up the familiar face.

That summer, Sustr signed a free-agent deal with the Minnesota Wild, who shipped the Czech big man down to their AHL team before trading him back to the Ducks in 2023.

Brian Boyle (6’7”)

Brian Boyle Cancer and Perseverance cover illustration. Brian Boyle raises his arm in acknowledgement of the cheering fans at the 2018 NHL All-Star Game.
Credit-USA TODAY Sports/Joker Mag Illustration

After being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings with the 26th pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, the center from Hingham, Massachusetts would become an NHL journeyman. 

Prior to making his professional debut, Boyle spent four seasons playing with the Boston College Eagles. Upon suiting up for the Kings, Boyle would make his presence felt by more than just being the tallest player on the ice as he scored his first NHL goal on the same night.

Boyle played just 36 games for the Kings over two years before spending five seasons with the New York Rangers. It was during his second season in the Big Apple that Boyle would record a career-best 35 points. 

As a free agent in 2014, Boyle signed a three-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he would play just two and a half seasons before being dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and what would be a whirlwind tour of five teams in five years.

From midway through the 2016-17 season until 2022, Boyle would make stops in New Jersey, Nashville, Florida, and Pittsburgh before eventually hanging up the skates.

He also beat cancer back in 2017 and returned to the ice a short time later.

“I’ve never cried after a goal before,” Boyle said after scoring his first goal back. “That’s a great feeling. It’s everything.”

Hal Gill (6’7”)

Throughout 1,108 NHL games, Hal Gill managed to net just 36 goals, including a career-high six goals in his first season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, scoring wasn’t Gill’s calling card as the big man from Concord, Massachusetts (what’s in the water there?) was paid to be an at-home defender.

Imagine being an offensive player trying to crowd the goalie and having to move a 6-foot 7-inch, 250-pound defender out from in front of the net.

For fifteen seasons, Gill suited up for six different teams, with his most successful tenure being with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For two straight seasons, the Penguins advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, losing in 2007-08 to the Detroit Red Wings, but gained redemption the following season. 

Jamie Oleksiak (6’7”)

Selected with the 14th pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, it took Jamie Oleksiak the better part of a decade to hit his stride as a professional hockey player.  

Nicknamed “Big Rig” for obvious reasons (in addition to his height, Oleksiak is 255 pounds) is an even more dominating presence when he slips on a pair of skates. However, Oleksiak is aware that his size cannot be his only calling card, especially when it comes to today’s game of smaller and faster players. 

“They keep saying the game’s getting smaller and faster,” Oleksiak told The Hockey News.

“Gone are the days when you’re a big guy who just finishes checks, and that’s it. You have to contribute in different ways. I try to put that work in the off-season to improve mobility and add different aspects to my game. Quick feet and lateral movement is huge.”

Along with brother Jake who played college hockey, sister Hayley who was a competitive college rower, and four-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Penny, Jamie grew up with a competitive edge but also relied on his siblings to help him achieve his NHL success.

Chris Breen (6’7”)

Although he went undrafted following five years in the OHL, Uxbridge, Ontario defenseman Chris Breen found his way into the NHL as a free agent in 2010.

After completing his junior season with the Peterborough Petes, the Calgary Flames offered Breen a spot with their AHL program.

The 6’7″ Breen spent most of his five years with the Flames playing for the Abbotsford Heat, appearing in nine games for Calgary and tallying just two assists. After his contract with the Flames ended, Breen signed a series of two-way contracts with the Boston Bruins.

As with his time in Alberta, Breen found himself suiting up for the Bruins AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins, where he spent six seasons before retiring. 

Derek Boogaard (6’7”)

The best thing about Derek Boogaard’s hockey career was his nicknames. Known as either the “Boogyman” (clearly a take-off of his surname) or “The Mountie” (his father was a Canadian Mountie). 

At 6’7” and 265 pounds, the left winger from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was primarily an enforcer and fighter throughout his time in both the minor leagues and the NHL. Of the 277 games that Boogaard played with the Minnesota Wild (five years) and the New York Rangers (one year), Boogaard amassed 589 penalty minutes, compared to just sixteen points.

While his teammates and fans loved him for the most part, Boogaard found himself battling various personal demons. Tragically, Boogaard died of an accidental drug and alcohol overdose on May 13th, 2011 while recovering from a series of concussions.

Joe Finley (6’7”)

Although his NHL career amounted to just two seasons and a total of 21 games, defenseman Joe Finley can at least say that he made the big leagues during his decade-long professional hockey career.

After being a high school star, Finley joined the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, one of the most storied NCAA hockey programs.

Although he was selected 27th overall in the 2005 draft by the Washington Capitals, the road to the NHL took a while.

Following his four collegiate seasons, it took Finely four more years and three teams which included two stints with the Hershey Bears (AHL), two years with the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL), and a run with the Rochester Americans (AHL) before finally achieving his dream of playing in the NHL.

Finley’s only NHL point would come by means of an assist while playing with the New York Islanders during the 2012-13 season.

Here are a few other hockey stories you might like:

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Written By

Life-long sports fan and avid basketball junkie in every sense of the word. The same passion I have for the Lakers translates to my extreme dislike for the Duke Blue Devils. As much as I cheer for the favorite and the dynasty, I appreciate and applaud the underdog and the grind whether you are a weekend warrior or a professional, both on and off the field.

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