There are six positions in ice hockey; left wing, center, right wing, forwards, left defenseman, and right defenseman on defense, and finally, the goaltender, whose job is to keep the net clear of pucks. Now, which of these positions is the easiest to play and why?
The easiest position in ice hockey is the wing on the offensive line, whether left or right. Generally, no position is easy in ice hockey, yet considering the difficulty of goalie, center, and defensive positions, the easiest position left is the wing position.
Let’s go over why it’s easiest to play either winger on the ice hockey team rather than any other position.
First, the main objective of left and right wingers is to score goals with the center as a hockey line. Wingers are usually the fastest players on the team with the most powerful shots and beautiful stick-handling skills. They play close to the boards and try to get past the offensive team’s defense by passing the puck among each other, skating very fast, and shooting with power.
Now, when the team isn’t on fierce offense, the responsibilities from the wingers fall mostly to other players such as center, defencemen, and goalie. Still, the wingers will need to apply pressure so the opposite team will lose the puck, and your team can make a counterattack.
Often, the wingers will tackle hard, block shots with their bodies, and on offense, set screens to block the view of defensemen and goalie if the defencemen are about to shoot.
You might recognize famous names with amazing skills, such as Patrick Kane, Patrik Laine, Alex Ovechkin, and the legend Jaromir Jagr. They all play or played the position of a winger.
The power play is also an important aspect of hockey, where wingers have a great responsibility. When your team is on a power play, one or two players from the other team have gained penalties, meaning you have more players on the field. This gives a great advantage where the best wingers are put on ice to maximize the chances of making a goal. I like the winger’s position as I’m a forwards player and always will be. Let’s talk more about related topics.
Related: How Many Players On NHL Roster?
Where Does the Worst Player Play In Hockey?
The easiest position doesen’t necessarily mean that the least skilled player will play that position. However, it can definitely mean that, so next, I’ll go over what is the case with hockey.
The weakest player in a hockey team should play left wing. The wing is the easiest to play, and of the two options, the left is easier. More attacks go to the right side, it’s easier to score from the left side as most players are lefties, and lines are often built with the stronger players on the right.
This can vary between teams and matches, yet when looking at the statistics, the left wing is usually easier. It might be a surprise that 60-70% of NHL players are lefties, and it’s easier to play the left side as a leftie and the right side as a rightie.
If you have a player to coach or a teammate that is from the weaker end of the team, there are a few things I recommend you do to fix the problem.
First, you should train the weaker player with all skill levels, not just those with the same skill set. By practicing with better players, one’s skills will improve.
You should avoid playing the weaker player in the starting position. In ice hockey, it’s crucial to apply the most pressure at the start of the game, so the opposite team will be blown away and won’t gain a mental advantage, which they would if a weaker player were positioned at the starting line.
The left wing is a good position to play when you don’t necessarily have the same skillset as other teams do, also because you will have support from the center, the best player on the team, and the left defenseman, who should possess great skills as well.
What Is the Hardest Position In Hockey?
Moving on from left and right-wing are the easiest positions in hockey; it’s time to determine which is the hardest. There are still four positions left to talk about; a center which is a forward player, two defencemen left and right, and the goalkeeper. Which of these ice hockey positions is the most difficult?
The goalie is the hardest position in ice hockey and one of the most difficult sports. Keeping the goal free from a small puck that can travel +100mph, dealing with screening, and the extreme speed of the game is hard. Failing leads to the opponents’ victory, so the pressure and responsibility are high.
If the goalie won’t perform well, it is very likely that the whole team will lose because the opposing team will score more goals than your team. It isn’t easy to be a goalie.
Most times, the view is extremely limited as the opposing team will try to obstruct your view, the puck comes fast and is small, the players are extremely accurate, the puck handling skills are unpredictable, and you are wearing a ton of heavy and clumsy equipment, so yes, goalkeeping is the hardest position in hockey.
Some of the most important skills a goalie needs to have are mental toughness, game intelligence, and physical performance, including many things.
Being a goalie isn’t something I could easily do because when you fail, you will be hated by the fans, pitied by the team, and miserably by yourself. However, when you perform averagely well, you hardly get praise, and if you do perform miracles, yes, you will feel very good.
Game IQ is a vital part of being a goalie too, which isn’t easy. The ability to predict and understand how the opposite team will advance will make you be in the right place a the right time. Fail in-game IQ, and you will let many goals.
When it comes to physical performance, reaction time, peak fitness, endurance, and flexibility are necessities to perform well as a goalie.
If you have doubts that goalkeeping is one of the most difficult positions in all sports, check out the video below.
What Is the Most Important Position In Hockey?
As I said earlier, the easiest position doesn’t always mean that the worst player will play there, although it can. The same goes for the hardest position, which isn’t necessarily the most important. Again, it can be, so let’s go over the most important position in ice hockey.
The goalkeeper is the most important position in ice hockey because he keeps the goal clear from pucks. The number of pucks shot to the goal will determine the winner and loser, which is why the position of goalie is by far the most important in any hockey team.
Imagine two instances; a team with a bad goalie and a team with a good goalie.
A bad goalie will lead the team to ruin even when the hockey line and defensemen are skilled, even more so than with the opposite team. A goalie with low skills will let the puck pass on the net from slow shots and weak offenses, which causes the team to lose.
In contrast, a good goalie can lead the team to victory, even when the players on his team aren’t as skilled as the opposing team. Imagine the difference.
Now, if both teams have similar players, the goalie will make a drastic difference in the match’s outcome, so it’s clear that the goalie is the most important position in the team.
When considering the player positions, the center is the most important. That’s because, as the name suggests, the center will be at the center of the game, he is in charge of winning face-offs, and he plays offense but is in a crucial role on defense too.
What Hockey Position Scores the Most?
All this talk about the easiest, hardest, and most important positions in ice hockey, one of the most important questions is still left unanswered. Which position makes the most goals as that alongside keeping the own goal clear from pucks are the variables that will bring you to victory.
The right-wing scores the most goals out of all hockey positions, while the center is a close second and the left-wing the close third. According to playedonice, the average right-wing scores 17 goals in an 82-game season, center 15.5 goals, and left-wing 15.3 goals.
In contrast, the average defensemen scored 5.4 goals per season. The data was gathered from all NHL season games from 2018-2019, so it will give you a general answer to the question, yet a definitive one varies between teams and games.
Still, the right-wing is the position scoring most goals, on average, although the difference isn’t big compared to other forward positions.
The talk about hockey positions is always fascinating. I hope this article gave you the information you were looking for, from the easiest to the most difficult positions.