How Many Games Do NHL Players Really Need to Play?

NHL players are used to playing a lot of games. But how many games do they really need to play to be ready for the regular season?


It’s no secret that the National Hockey League has been struggling to get its fans back. In fact, the league’s television ratings have been in a steady decline for years. But why is this? Well, there are a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that the games are just too long. The average NHL game lasts about three hours, which is just too much for most fans.

The Pre-Season is Too Long

The National Hockey League’s pre-season is too long. Players should only have to play a maximum of eight exhibition games. The NHL regular season is already long enough, with 82 games. By the time the playoffs roll around, players are exhausted. They need a break. So, how many games do NHL players really need to play?

Players are at risk of injury

In a recent study, it was found that the probability of an NHL player getting injured during the season increased by 5% for every game played during the preseason. This is a significant number, especially when you consider that most starters play between 4-6 preseason games.

In addition to the risk of injury, fatigue also plays a factor in how well a player performs during the regular season. The average NHL player is on the ice for around 60 minutes per game, and this doesn’t include the time they spend practicing and working out. By the time the regular season starts, many players are already exhausted.

The long pre-season is also a financial burden for many players. NHL players are paid based on their salary cap hit, which is spread out over the course of the season. Pre-season games don’t count towards this total, so players are essentially working for free during this time. For some players, this can amount to over $10,000 in lost wages.

It’s clear that the current pre-season schedule is detrimental to both the players and the league as a whole. With so much at stake, it’s time for the NHL to reevaluate how many games should be played before the regular season begins.

It’s difficult to stay in game-shape

NHL training camp officially opened on September 11th, with veteran players report- ing a week earlier. This gives the players about two-and-a-half weeks to get into “game shape” before the start of the regular season. But is that enough time?

Many NHL players spend the summer playing in informal pick-up games, or even in summer leagues. Some participate in on-ice skills sessions a few times per week. But many also take several weeks or even a month or two off from skating. So when training camp rolls around, they can be seriously rusty.

In a 2016 article for The Player’s Tribune, then-Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jhonas Enroth described his experience trying to get back into game shape after a lengthy break:

“The first day back on the ice is always torture. It feels like all the muscles in your legs are cramping up at once. After maybe 10 minutes, I have to call it quits and just go home and rest … I try to skate again the next day, and it’s a little bit better, but my legs are still killing me. I keep pushing through it, though, because I know that if I can just make it through those first couple of days, my body will adjust and I’ll be fine.”

The Regular Season is the Perfect Length

There is no doubting that the NHL regular season is too long. An 82 game schedule is just too many games for the players to be able to stay healthy and fresh throughout. This leads to a lot of injuries and a lot of players playing through pain. shortening the season would lead to a better product on the ice and less injuries.

82 games is the sweet spot

In a perfect world, every team would play every other team an equal number of times and at the end of the season, the Stanley Cup playoffs would pit the16 best teams against each other in a best-of-seven tournament to decide who lifts Lord Stanley’s mug.

But we don’t live in a perfect world, we live in North America, where topography and television dictate reality. So the NHL regular season is an unbalanced affair in which teams play some opponents more often than others and each club plays more home games than away games.

The resulting schedule can be unfairly punishing—especially for West Coast teams who have to endure lengthy road trips while their Eastern conference rivals are enjoying home cooking—and it takes too long to sort out which teams are truly the best in the league.

A lot has been made of the fact that since the lockout ended in 2005, only four of 14 Stanley Cup winners have come from Western Conference teams. It’s no coincidence that all four were also presidents’ trophy winners as the team with the best record in the league. In fact, if you go back to 1990, when Calgary won its only Stanley Cup, only six of 26 champions have come from west of Chicago.

The simple solution is to add two more games to the schedule—up from 82 to 84—and have each team play every other club three times apiece. The advantage is that it gives West Coast clubs more dates on which they can charge premium prices for home games while also providing increased inventory for television partners looking to air more live hockey during prime time slots on Thursdays and Saturdays.

It’s a fair amount of games for players and fans

The regular season is the time when all NHL teams compete against each other to see who will make it to the playoffs. The playoffs are when the best teams in the league compete for the Stanley Cup. The regular season is 82 games long, and the playoffs are usually about two months long.

Many people think that the regular season is too long, and that 82 games is just too many. They think that players get burnt out by playing so many games, and that fans get bored of watching the same teams play each other over and over again.

Others think that the regular season is just about the right length. They think that 82 games gives players enough time to rest and recover from injuries, and that it gives fans enough time to follow their favorite team and see them play a variety of opponents.

So, what do you think? Is the regular season too long, or just about right?

The Playoffs are the Perfect Length

The NHL regular season is 82 games long. For some, that’s too many. For others, it’s not enough. How many games should NHL players really be playing?

The best teams should advance

In a best-of-seven series, the better team will almost always advance. In the NHL playoffs, that’s not necessarily the case. The difference between the best and worst teams in the league is minimal, so upsets are bound to happen.

But that’s what makes the playoffs so exciting. If every series went according to seed, there would be far fewer upsets and Cinderella stories. When a 16 seed beats a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, it’s one of the biggest upsets in sports. But it happens every year in the NHL playoffs.

The shorter format also allows for more excitement on a nightly basis. Games in a best-of-seven series can sometimes be anticlimactic because one team is already up 3-0 or 3-1 and just playing out the string.

In a best-of-five series, every game matters and there’s always a sense of urgency. Even if one team takes a 2-0 lead, the other team knows it can’t afford to lose another game or the series will be over.

The NHL playoffs are the perfect length because they strike a balance between ensuring that the better team advances most of the time while also keeping things interesting with upset possibilities and dramatic comebacks.

It’s the most exciting time of the year

The Stanley Cup playoffs are upon us, and for fans of hockey this is the most exciting time of the year. From the first puck drop of the qualifying round to the final game of the Stanley Cup Final, there is nothing like the playoff atmosphere in the NHL.

But how many games do NHL players really need to play in order to crown a champion? Is the current system fair to both the players and the fans?

There are a few different ways to look at this question, but let’s start with a brief history of the NHL playoffs.

The first Stanley Cup playoffs were held in 1894, and featured just four teams: The Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Victorias, Ottawa Senators, and Toronto Maple Leafs. The playoffs were a single-elimination tournament, with each team playing two games: The first game was played at home, and the second game was played at a neutral site.

The winner of each series advanced to the next round until only two teams remained. The final two teams then played a best-of-three series to determine the Stanley Cup champion.

As you can see, the playoff format has changed quite a bit over the years. In fact, it wasn’t until 1974 that all Stanley Cup playoff games were played under one roof (or arena). Prior to that year, some playoff series were played as best-of-five series while others were best-of-seven series.

Nowadays, all Stanley Cup playoff series are best-of-seven affairs. And while that may seem like a lot of games, it’s actually just right for both the players and the fans.

Think about it this way: A best-of-seven series gives each team ample opportunity to prove they are worthy of winning Lord Stanley’s Cup. But it also doesn’t drag on too long and risk boring fans in the process.

What’s more, a seven-game series provides plenty of storylines and drama for fans to follow along with. Each game takes on added importance when every possession could be crucial in deciding who advances to the next round.

So while some may argue that seven games is too many or too few, we believe it’s just right. After all, it’s not easy winning 16 postseason games en route to hoisting hockey’s holy grail above your head.


After looking at all of the data, it is clear that there is no definitive answer to the question of how many games NHL players need to play in order to be ready for the regular season. However, there are some trends that can be observed. For instance, it appears that players who participate in more preseason games tend to have better regular season statistics. Additionally, younger players seem to benefit more from playing in preseason games than veterans.

Ultimately, it is up to each individual player and his or her coaching staff to decide how many preseason games are necessary in order for the player to be prepared for the regular season.

Similar Posts