Hockey Stats: A Gentle Introduction

Hello from your new stats wonk!  I’m going to talk to you about numbers, and probably throw in some random-looking abbreviations, too!  For those of you new to reading stats, I hope to show how these boring-looking columns of numbers can add to your appreciation of the game.  For those who have been at it a while, I hope I can find a new angle or two to keep your interest.  You can send me e-mail at any time!

I thought I’d start out with generally serial posts, sort of a “Hockey Stats 101” course to help beginners get their feet wet without having to sift through a lot of scattered, confusing, and sometimes contradictory information.  So — let’s get started!

Here are examples of the two most common sets of player stats you’ll see, taken from our favorite Captain’s page:

Basic single-game player stats

G:  Goals
A:  Assists
P:  Points (Goals + Assists)
+/-:  Plus-minus (a/k/a Goal Differential)
PIM:  Penalty minutes
PP:  Power-play goals
SH:  Short-handed goals
S:  Shots on goal
S%:  Shooting percentage (Goals / Shots * 100)
Shifts:  # of shifts skated
TOI:  Time On Ice
FO%:  % of faceoffs won

One annoyance is that different sources sometimes use different abbreviations.  Once you’re familiar with the terminology, though, the various abbreviations will usually seem pretty obvious.

Another common view is

Basic season stats

Most of the columns in this table are the same as in single-game stats.  The new ones are

GP:  Games Played
GW:  Game-winning goals

Plus, there’s a row for the player’s league rank in each category.  Looks like Captain Serious is in the top 20 of all NHL players in several categories.  We already knew how awesome he is, but here are the numbers to prove it!

Well, that covers some of the basics.  Stay tuned, because we’ll tackle some meatier topics soon!


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