I’ve been a collegiate sports performance coach for 20 years. One thing I always felt was effective was showing guys the heights and weights of players at their position in the pros.
It helped give many players the extra motivation needed to gain weight when they were able to compare themselves to guys at the next level.
So, this is essentially the same research I would share with players, but now I’m sharing it with you. I took the active rosters for the 2022-2023 NHL hockey season, over 800 players total and broke them down by position.
For this guide, I took an average of the heights and weights of the 261 defensemen across the league. In addition, just for fun, I listed the tallest, shortest, heaviest and lightest defensemen as well. Go ahead and impress someone today with your newfound random hockey knowledge.
Table of Contents
Average Height of an NHL Defenseman
The average height of an NHL Defenseman is 73.76 inches (just under 6’2″ tall)
Average Weight of an NHL Defenseman
The average weight of an NHL Defenseman is 202.84 pounds.
Who Are The Tallest Defensemen in the NHL?
There are 4 players listed at 6’7″ or taller, the tallest being Tyler Myers at 6’8″.
|Tallest Defensemen in the NHL|
|Tyler Myers||6’8″||Defense||Vancouver Canucks|
|Jamie Oleksiak||6’7″||Defense||Seattle Kraken|
|Logan Stanley||6’7″||Defense||Winnipeg Jets|
|Victor Hedman||6’7″||Defense||Tampa Bay Lightning|
Who are the Shortest Defensemen in the NHL?
There are actually 6 guys all tied at 5’9″ as the shortest defensemen in the league.
|Shortest Defensemen in the NHL|
|Jacob Bryson||5’9″||Defense||Buffalo Sabres|
|Victor Mete||5’9″||Defense||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Nick Blankensburg||5’9″||Defense||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|Brad Hunt||5’9″||Defense||Colorado Avalanche|
|Jared Spurgeon||5’9″||Defense||Minnesota Wild|
|Torey Krug||5’9″||Defense||St Louis Blues|
Who are the Heaviest Defensemen in the NHL?
There are 5 defensemen in the NHL that weigh 235 pounds or more.
|Heaviest Defensemen in the NHL|
|Jamie Oleksiak||257||Defense||Seattle Kraken|
|Nikita Zadorov||248||Defense||Calgary Flames|
|Victor Hedman||244||Defense||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Arber Xhekaj||238||Defense||Montreal Canadiens|
|David Savard||235||Defense||Montreal Canadiens|
Who are the Lightest Defensemen in the NHL?
There are only 6 guys (out of 216) who weigh less than 175 pounds.
|Lightest Defensemen in the NHL|
|Jared Spurgeon||166||Defense||Minnesota Wild|
|Samuel Girard||170||Defense||Colorado Avalanche|
|Calen Addison||173||Defense||Minnesota Wild|
|Alex Goligoski||173||Defense||Minnesota Wild|
|J.J. Moser||173||Defense||Arizona Coyotes|
|Alexandre Carrier||174||Defense||Nashville Predators|
Defensemen vs Forwards (Height & Weight)
If you’re curious to know how defensemen compare to forwards when it comes to size, you’re in luck, because I broke down all the forwards as well.
On average, there isn’t really much of a difference at all. There is less of an inch difference in average height (73.76 vs 72.9 for forwards). And, the difference in weight is only about 5 pounds (202.84 vs 197.67 for forwards).
The biggest difference I noticed when comparing the two position groups is there are more defensive guys at the upper end than forwards. For example, even though there are almost half as many defensemen as forwards in the league, there are more defensemen over 230 pounds than forwards.
On the other hand, there are just as many defensemen on the smaller side, like Jared Spurgeon (5’9″ and 166 pounds), as there are smaller forwards.
So, what did I learn?
At 6’7″ and 257 pounds, it’s hard to dispute that Jamie Oleksiak is the biggest player in the NHL. At his size, he almost looks more like an NFL Tight End than a hockey player.
I’m always fascinated by the range of body types that play the same positions. You find it in sports like football and basketball and you see it here in hockey as well. Guys that are almost a foot different in height (from 6’8″ to 5’9″) and almost 100 pounds in weight (166 to 257) are all playing the same position at the very highest level.