Hockey Points Vs Goals -What Matters More?

Benjamin Kenyon

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hockey points vs goals

In the dynamic world of ice hockey, the statistics of points and goals stand as essential metrics for evaluating a player’s performance and contribution to their team’s success.

These statistics serve as a tangible measure of a player’s offensive prowess, but they do so in distinct ways, each shedding light on different facets of a player’s role on the ice.

Points encompass both goals scored and assists earned, emphasizing a player’s ability to both finish plays and create scoring opportunities for teammates.

Conversely, goals represent a more singular accomplishment, focusing solely on a player’s ability to put the puck in the opposing net. 

This exploration delves into the nuances and significance of these metrics, highlighting their divergent roles in the exhilarating world of hockey.

hockey points vs goals

Key Differences Between Hockey Points and Goals

In hockey, “points” and “goals” are two distinct statistics used to measure a player’s performance. Here are the key differences between them:


  • Hockey Points: Hockey points represent a player’s cumulative offensive contribution, calculated by adding the total number of goals scored and assists earned during a season in sports like ice hockey. 
    Points highlight a player’s versatility and playmaking ability, recognizing both their goal-scoring prowess and their role in setting up teammates to score.
  • Goals: In contrast, goals in hockey signify the instances when a player successfully shoots the puck into the opposing team’s net, directly adding to their team’s score. Goals are a fundamental statistic, often associated with a player’s goal-scoring ability and offensive impact.

Scoring Importance

  • Hockey Points: Hockey points hold significant importance in evaluating a player’s overall offensive contribution to their team. They are a comprehensive statistic that combines both goals and assists. 
    Points reflect a player’s versatility on the ice, demonstrating their ability to not only score goals but also create scoring opportunities for teammates.
  • Goals: Goals, on the other hand, specifically measure a player’s ability to score. They are undoubtedly crucial in hockey, as the primary objective of the game is to put the puck in the opposing team’s net. Scoring goals directly contributes to a team’s score and can often be a game-changer.

Awarded Trophy

  • Hockey Points: The most prestigious individual award for offensive excellence in the National Hockey League (NHL) is the Art Ross Trophy. This award is presented to the player who accumulates the most points during the regular season. 
    It recognizes the player who has made the most significant offensive impact by combining both goal-scoring and playmaking contributions.
  • Goals: In contrast, there is no specific trophy awarded for leading the league in goals scored during the regular season. 
    While goal-scoring is highly regarded and celebrated, the absence of a dedicated trophy means that players who excel in this category do not receive the same level of individual recognition as those who lead in points.

Contribution to Team

  • Hockey Points: Points play a crucial role in a player’s contribution to their team’s success. Players who accumulate points are often key drivers of their team’s offensive production. They are responsible for both scoring goals and setting up their teammates to score, making them valuable assets on the ice.
  • Goals: Goals contribute directly to a team’s score, making them a fundamental element of team success. Players who score goals are often the heroes of a game, as their ability to find the back of the net can lead to victory. 
    Goal scorers are relied upon to provide the offensive firepower needed to win games, especially in critical moments.


  • Hockey Points: To illustrate the concept of hockey points, consider a player who accumulates 60 points during a season. This player might have scored 20 goals and recorded 40 assists. 
    These 60 points represent their combined offensive output, showcasing their ability to both put the puck in the net and create opportunities for teammates to do the same.
  • Goals: In contrast, let’s take a player who scores 20 goals in a season. These 20 goals are a direct measure of their goal-scoring ability. They have successfully found the back of the net 20 times, contributing 20 points to their team’s overall score. 
    While goals are a vital statistic, they do not account for the player’s role in setting up goals for others.

Assists Requirement

  • Hockey Points: In the context of hockey points, assists are a vital component. To earn an assist, a player must directly contribute to a goal being scored by a teammate. This typically involves making a pass or play that leads to the goal. Assists recognize a player’s playmaking ability and their role in setting up scoring opportunities for others.
  • Goals: Goals do not require assists. A player can score a goal independently by successfully shooting the puck into the opposing team’s net. While assists can be associated with goals, they are not a prerequisite for scoring.

Role in Playmaking

  • Hockey Points: Points highlight a player’s role in playmaking. When a player accumulates points, it signifies their ability to not only score goals themselves but also create opportunities for their teammates. Assists, in particular, showcase a player’s playmaking skills, as they involve setting up goals for others.
  • Goals: Goals primarily emphasize a player’s ability to finish scoring plays. While goals are a result of teamwork and playmaking, they do not inherently represent a player’s role in setting up scoring opportunities for teammates. Goal scorers excel at capitalizing on opportunities and putting the puck in the net.

Player’s Versatility

  • Hockey Points: Points are indicative of a player’s versatility on the ice. Accumulating points means that a player can both score goals and provide assists. This versatility demonstrates a well-rounded offensive skill set and the ability to contribute to a team’s success in multiple ways.
  • Goals: Goals emphasize a player’s specialization in scoring. Players who excel in scoring goals are often referred to as goal scorers or snipers. While they may have other skills, their primary focus is on putting the puck in the net.

Puck Possession

  • Hockey Points: Points do not necessarily require puck possession. Assists can be earned by making a pass that leads to a goal, even if the player who recorded the assist does not retain puck possession throughout the entire play.
  • Goals: Scoring goals typically involves puck possession. A player must have control of the puck and successfully shoot it into the opposing team’s net to score a goal. Puck handling and shooting accuracy are crucial skills for goal scorers.

Importance for Forwards

  • Hockey Points: Points are highly important for forwards in hockey. Forwards are responsible for contributing to their team’s offense by both scoring goals and providing assists. Points reflect a forward’s ability to fulfill their offensive role effectively, whether through goal-scoring or playmaking.
  • Goals: Goal-scoring is a primary objective for forwards. It is often their main role on the team, and they are expected to lead in this category. Forwards who excel at scoring goals are highly valued for their ability to provide the offensive firepower needed to win games.

Importance for Defensemen

  • Hockey Points: Points hold varying degrees of importance for defensemen in hockey. While defensemen are primarily tasked with preventing goals and defending their own zone, those who can contribute offensively by accumulating points are highly valued. 
    Points for defensemen often come from assists, showcasing their ability to make plays and set up goals.
  • Goals: Goals scored by defensemen are less common but still valuable. Scoring goals can be a significant asset for a defenseman, especially if those goals come at critical moments in games. 
    However, goals by defensemen are often overshadowed by their primary role in preventing goals.

Impact on Power Play

  • Hockey Points: Points, particularly assists, have a notable impact on a team’s power play. Effective playmaking and passing skills are crucial for power-play success. 
    Players who accumulate points, including defensemen who contribute assists, are often key contributors to their team’s power-play unit, as they help create scoring opportunities.
  • Goals: Scoring goals is a direct contribution to the power play. A player who scores goals can make a significant impact on the power play by providing the team with an advantage in terms of putting the puck in the net. Many power-play strategies revolve around setting up goal-scoring opportunities.

Evaluation of Passing Skills

  • Hockey Points: Points serve as an indirect evaluation of a player’s passing skills. Assists, in particular, demonstrate a player’s ability to make accurate and timely passes that lead to goals. High assist totals indicate strong playmaking and passing skills, which are essential for setting up scoring opportunities.
  • Goals: Goals do not directly evaluate passing skills. Instead, they reflect a player’s ability to finish scoring plays. While passing may play a role in the lead-up to a goal, goals themselves do not provide a specific measure of a player’s passing ability.

Team Strategy

  • Hockey Points: Points are part of a team’s overall offensive strategy. Players who accumulate points are often key components of their team’s strategy, as they contribute both to goal-scoring and playmaking. Teams with players who can accumulate points are generally more well-rounded offensively.
  • Goals: Goal-scoring is a fundamental aspect of a team’s offensive strategy. Teams develop plays and strategies to create goal-scoring opportunities and rely on players, particularly forwards, who can score consistently to execute these strategies effectively.

Records and Milestones

  • Hockey Points: Points contribute to career point totals and milestones for players. Accumulating points over a player’s career is a significant achievement, and players who reach certain point milestones are celebrated for their long-term contributions to the game.
  • Goals: Goals are a critical component of career milestones, especially for goal scorers. Players who reach specific goal-scoring milestones, such as 500 career goals, are widely recognized for their scoring prowess and impact on the game.

Importance for Team Success

  • Hockey Points: Hockey points are crucial for team success. Players who accumulate points are often key contributors to their team’s offensive output. 
    Their ability to score goals and create scoring opportunities for teammates directly impacts a team’s ability to win games. Teams with players who consistently accumulate points are more likely to be competitive and successful in their respective leagues.
  • Goals: Goals play a significant role in team success as well. Teams rely on their goal scorers to provide the offensive firepower needed to win games. 
    Scoring goals is the ultimate objective in hockey, and players who excel in this regard are essential for a team’s competitiveness and ability to secure victories.

Longevity in the League

  • Hockey Points: Accumulating points can contribute to a player’s longevity in the league. Players who consistently produce points are often in high demand, and their offensive skills can extend their careers. Playmaking ability, in particular, can keep a player valuable to their team even as they age.
  • Goals: While goal-scoring ability can extend a player’s career, it may not be as sustainable over the long term as playmaking skills. Goal scorers may face challenges as they age, such as decreased speed or reflexes, which can impact their ability to continue scoring goals at the same rate.

Playoffs Performance

  • Hockey Points: Points are essential for success in the playoffs, where every goal and assist can make a significant difference. Players who can continue to accumulate points in the postseason are valuable assets to their teams, as playoff success often hinges on offensive production.
  • Goals: Scoring goals remains crucial in the playoffs, where the competition is fierce, and goals can be harder to come by. Players who can score clutch goals in critical playoff moments are highly regarded, as these goals often lead to postseason victories.

Statistic Tracking

  • Hockey Points: Points are tracked and recorded in player statistics. They provide a comprehensive measure of a player’s offensive contributions over a season and throughout their career. Points are used to compare players’ performances and assess their impact on their teams.
  • Goals: Goals are also tracked and recorded in player statistics. They represent a player’s ability to find the back of the net, and goal-scoring statistics are closely monitored by fans, analysts, and teams. Players are recognized for achieving goal-scoring milestones.

Game-winning Contributions

  • Hockey Points: Points often include game-winning assists, which are plays that directly lead to game-winning goals. Players who can make crucial plays in the most critical moments of a game are highly valued for their ability to contribute to game-winning efforts.
  • Goals: Scoring goals, especially game-winning goals, is a significant contribution to a team’s success. Players who can consistently score in clutch situations and secure wins are considered invaluable to their teams.

Assisting Teammates’ Goals

  • Hockey Points: Assisting teammates’ goals is a key aspect of accumulating hockey points. When a player earns an assist, it means they played a direct role in setting up a goal for a teammate. 
    Assists highlight a player’s ability to create scoring opportunities and contribute to their team’s offensive success by facilitating goals scored by others.
  • Goals: While goals reflect a player’s ability to score themselves, they do not directly assist teammates in scoring. Goals are the result of a player’s individual effort to put the puck in the net. However, they can indirectly contribute to team success by increasing the team’s overall score.

Versatility in Player Roles

  • Hockey Points: Accumulating points showcases a player’s versatility in different roles on the ice. Players who can both score goals and provide assists demonstrate a well-rounded skill set, making them valuable assets in various situations. Versatile players can adapt to different game scenarios and contribute in multiple offensive roles.
  • Goals: Goal scorers often have a more specialized role as finishers. While they excel at putting the puck in the net, their primary focus is on scoring goals. This specialization can make them highly effective in certain situations but may limit their versatility compared to players who accumulate points.

Offensive Zone Responsibility

  • Hockey Points: Players who accumulate points typically have a significant offensive zone responsibility. 
    They are often tasked with creating scoring opportunities, maintaining puck possession, and contributing to offensive plays within the offensive zone. Their playmaking and goal-scoring abilities are essential in driving offensive strategies.
  • Goals: Players focused on scoring goals also have an offensive zone responsibility, but it is often more narrowly defined. They are expected to position themselves to receive passes and take high-quality shots on goal. Their primary objective is to finish scoring plays and find the back of the net.

All-time Leaderboards

  • Hockey Points: Points contribute to a player’s position on all-time leaderboards for career points. Players who accumulate high career point totals are recognized for their long-term offensive contributions to the sport. Achieving milestones in career points is a significant achievement.
  • Goals: Goals contribute to a player’s position on all-time leaderboards for career goals. Players who reach and surpass goal-scoring milestones, such as 500 career goals, are celebrated for their scoring prowess and their place in the history of the game.

Team’s Offensive Strategy

  • Hockey Points: Players who accumulate points are often integral to their team’s offensive strategy. Their ability to both score and assist on goals allows coaches to build offensive plays around their skills. 
    Points reflect a player’s role in executing the team’s offensive game plan and generating scoring opportunities for the team as a whole.
  • Goals: Goal scorers play a specific role in their team’s offensive strategy. Coaches may design plays and tactics to create goal-scoring opportunities for these players, recognizing their ability to find the back of the net. 
    A team’s offensive strategy often includes maximizing the goal-scoring potential of its key goal scorers.

Hockey Points Vs Goals: Comparison Table

AspectHockey PointsGoals
DefinitionTotal goals and assistsGoals scored by a player
Scoring ImportanceReflects overall contributionDirectly adds to team’s score
Awarded TrophyArt Ross TrophyNo specific trophy for goals
Contribution to TeamIncludes assistsSolely contributes to the score
Examples60 points (20 goals, 40 assists)20 goals scored by a player
Assists RequirementInvolves setting up goalsNot related to setting up teammates
Role in PlaymakingReflects playmaking abilityIndicates goal-scoring ability
Player’s VersatilityShows a well-rounded playerFocuses on scoring aspect
Puck PossessionNot necessarily requires puckRequires puck possession and shot
Importance for ForwardsHighly important for forwardsPrimary objective for forwards
Importance for DefensemenSignificant for offensive D-menImportant but not their main role
Impact on Power PlayAssists can lead to power-playGoals can directly score on PP
Evaluation of Passing SkillsInfluential in evaluating playNot a direct measure of passing
Team StrategyPart of overall team strategyFocus on executing team’s strategy
Records and MilestonesAffects career point totalsCareer goals scored milestones
Importance for Team SuccessKey for team’s offensive powerDirectly affects team’s scoring
Longevity in the LeagueCan extend a player’s careerMay decline with age and injury
Playoffs PerformancePoints contribute in playoffsGoals remain significant in playoffs
Statistic TrackingRecorded in player statisticsClearly tracked in player stats
Game-Winning ContributionsAssists can lead to game-winnerScoring goals often game-winners
Assisting Teammates’ GoalsAids teammates’ goal scoringDoesn’t contribute to teammates’ goals
Versatility in Player RolesValued in versatile playersSpecialized goal scorers
Offensive Zone ResponsibilitySupports offensive zone playFocuses on finishing in the O-zone
All-Time LeaderboardsIncludes players with high assistsLed by players with most goals
Team’s Offensive StrategyPart of team’s offensive planTeam’s strategy includes goal-scoring

To Recap

The world of hockey revolves around the dynamic interplay of points and goals, each offering a unique perspective on a player’s contribution to the sport.

Points, with their encompassing nature, acknowledge a player’s versatility in both scoring and facilitating goals, showcasing their pivotal role in driving their team’s offense.

Goals, on the other hand, symbolize the ultimate accomplishment on the ice, celebrating a player’s goal-scoring prowess and their ability to change the course of a game in an instant.

These statistics, while distinct, intertwine to tell the rich and compelling story of a player’s journey through the world of hockey, leaving an indelible mark on the sport’s history and legacy.

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Benjamin Kenyon

With over eight years of experience in higher education, I bring a diverse skill set to the Head Men's Ice Hockey Coach role. My background spans collegiate hockey coaching, recruiting, compliance, budget management, game operations, public and media relations, marketing strategies, content development, social media management, press release distribution, broadcasting, video production, non-linear editing, sports photography, interpersonal communications, sports writing, interviewing, sports analytics, and statistics. My educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Sports Management, further enhancing my qualifications for this position. I am proficient in various software and platforms, including Adobe Creative Suite, social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn), and academic management systems (Salesforce, CAMS, Workday, Banner). My extensive experience and technical proficiency make me a well-rounded candidate for leading the men's ice hockey program.

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