Most NHL Players Peak by 29

Bad news for most NHLers—you have a very short time to make your mark.

A new study out of UBC, set to be published in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis of Sports, has found that performance peaks for forwards between twenty-seven and twenty-eight, defensemen peak between twenty-eight and twenty-nine, and goaltenders performance doesn’t vary much by age.

How’d they figure this out? It’s a simple but tedious matter of measuring the performance of each player (goals, assists, zone starts, goal prevention, shooting percentage, all that good stuff), plotting it by age, and then averaging each player’s peak.

According to James Brander, the study’s lead author, “While confirming conventional wisdom that players peak in their late 20s, the study proves it is wishful thinking for managers to expect a player in his mid-20s to continue improving significantly.”

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