Does Size Matter?

Vincent Pugliese

Recent discussions about player height got me curious, what exactly is the average player height, and in that regard which of our players are considered undersized and which are actually large?

There are plenty of platitudes that are meant to demonstrate that size limitations do not hinder ones ability to perform. "It's not the size that counts, it's how you use it" or perhaps "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog." So yes, there are certainly examples of players that would be considered undersized that have still managed to not only survive but even excel in the NHL. But when it comes to draft time, what we hear is "That player has good NHL size already" or other comparisons that suggests the NHL is like Kennywood, you must be this tall to ride this ride.

So that got me thinking, what exactly is the average height in the NHL? And while we're at it, what about average weight? Which of our Pittsburgh Penguins players are considered to be a "good NHL size" and which are either above or below? So I looked back at every single players that hit the ice at some point last season and calculated the averages. One thing that jumps out is that there is a slight difference dependent upon position, so we will take a look at the breakdown that way. I used the officially listed NHL height and weight, which I know for at least some of our prospects is currently out of date, but it is what the league considers to be accurate.

Goaltenders

There were 97 unique goaltenders in the league last season, ranging in height from Jhonas Enroth at 5'10" through Ben Bishop at 6'8". The median height was 6'2", while the mean rounded to the nearest inch was 6'2" with a standard deviation of 2". So the range of average sizes then would be larger than 6'0" but smaller than 6'4".

Of the 97 unique goaltenders last season, their weight ranged from Jhonas Enroth at 166lbs through Jason LaBarbera at 232lbs. The median weight was 198lbs, while the mean rounded to the nearest pound was 199lbs with a standard deviation of 14lbs. So the range of average sizes then would be larger than 184lbs but smaller than 213lbs.

Player Height Weight
Hartzell 6'4" 205lbs
Murray 6'4" 166lbs
Maguire 6'2" 202lbs
Fleury 6'2" 180lbs
Zatkoff 6'2" 179lbs
Greiss 6'1" 220lbs
Jarry 6'1" 183lbs

Defensemen

There were 303 unique D in the league last season, ranging in height from Francis Bouillon at 5'8" through Zdeno Chara at 6'9". The median height was 6'2", while the mean rounded to the nearest inch was 6'2" with a standard deviation of 2". So the range of average sizes would be 6'0" and up through less than 6'4".

Of the 303 unique D last season, their weight ranged from Jared Spurgeon at 168lbs through Zdeno Chara at 255lbs. The median weight was 206lbs, while the mean rounded to the nearest pound was 206lbs with a standard deviation of 15lbs. So the range of average sizes would be larger than 190lbs but smaller than 221lbs.

Player Height Weight
Dumoulin 6'4" 219lbs
Bortuzzo 6'4" 215lbs
Despres 6'4" 214lbs
McNeill 6'4" 204lbs
Ruopp 6'3" 205lbs
Birks 6'3" 190lbs
Harrington 6'2" 210lbs
Maatta 6'2" 206lbs
D`Agostino 6'2" 197lbs
Ehrhoff 6'2" 196lbs
Samuelsson 6'2" 194lbs
Scuderi 6'1" 212lbs
Martin 6'1" 200lbs
Segalla 6'1" 190lbs
Chorney 6'1" 189lbs
Letang 6'0" 201lbs
Taylor 6'0" 180lbs
Pouliot 5'11" 195lbs

Forwards

There were 583 unique forwards in the league last season, ranging in height from Nathan Gerbe at 5'5" through John Scott at 6'8". The median height was 6'1", while the mean rounded to the nearest inch was 6'1" with a standard deviation of 2". So the range of average sizes would be 5'11" and up through less than 6'3".

Of the 583 unique forwards, their weight ranged from John Gaudreau at 150lbs through Dustin Byfuglien at 265lbs. The median weight was 200lbs, while the mean rounded to the nearest pound was 201lbs with a standard deviation of 16lbs. So the range of average sizes would be 185lbs and through and including 216lbs.

Player Height Weight
Angello 6'4" 190lbs
Payerl 6'3" 218lbs
Malkin 6'3" 195lbs
Sutter 6'3" 190lbs
Sundqvist 6'3" 182lbs
Bennett 6'2" 195lbs
Kuhnhackl 6'2" 172lbs
Letourneau-Leblond 6'1" 214lbs
Dupuis 6'1" 205lbs
Comeau 6'1" 202lbs
Spaling 6'1" 201lbs
Lindo 6'1" 201lbs
Uher 6'1" 199lbs
Goc 6'1" 197lbs
Megna 6'1" 195lbs
Lafferty 6'1" 187lbs
Blueger 6'1" 183lbs
Sill 6'0" 202lbs
Adams 6'0" 200lbs
Marcantuoni 6'0" 197lbs
Kunitz 6'0" 195lbs
Drazenovic 6'0" 192lbs
Rust 6'0" 191lbs
Kapanen 6'0" 181lbs
Dea 6'0" 155lbs
Crosby 5'11" 200lbs
Downie 5'11" 191lbs
Hornqvist 5'11" 189lbs
Zlobin 5'11" 189lbs
Wilson 5'11" 184lbs
Josephs 5'11" 176lbs
Byron 5'11" 163lbs
Farnham 5'10" 188lbs
Archibald 5'10" 181lbs
Guentzel 5'10" 157lbs
Ebbett 5'9" 174lbs
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