NHL Starting Lineups

NHL Starting Lineups

NHL starting lineups are the initial groupings of players that take the ice at the beginning of a hockey game. Each team typically deploys four lines consisting of three forwards and two defensemen, along with a starting goaltender. These line combinations are carefully selected by coaches based on various factors, including player skills, chemistry, and strategic considerations. The starting lineup sets the tone for the game and plays a crucial role in determining the team’s performance. As the game progresses, coaches may make adjustments to the line combinations based on situational factors, such as power plays or penalty kills. The composition of the starting lineup can greatly impact a team’s chances of success in a game, as it determines the players who will carry out key roles and responsibilities on the ice.


When are game-day NHL line combinations released?

In the NHL, the publication of starting lines is a bit more flexible compared to other leagues. It is common for coaches to disclose the starting goalies as early as the night before a game. The full starting lineups are typically made available anywhere from four hours to just minutes before the puck drops.

What positions are on a hockey line?

In the context of ice hockey, a line refers to a group of skaters who play together as a unit during a game. Typically, a forward line consists of a left winger, center, and right winger. These forwards work in tandem with two defensemen to form a team’s even-strength line, comprising the five skaters on the ice. 

What is a Power Play line in hockey?

A Power Play line consists of five players who step onto the ice when the opposing team is penalized and must play with fewer players, known as being shorthanded. These players receive increased ice time and benefit from more scoring opportunities compared to players not on the Power Play line. In DFS hockey, it is advantageous to select players who receive more time on the ice, and Power Play lines provide precisely that – more ice time. 

How long is a Power Play in hockey?

A power play in hockey can have a varying duration, usually ranging from 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the severity of the penalty. Minor penalties result in a 2-minute power play, while major penalties, such as spearing and fighting, require players to spend 5 minutes in the penalty box. 

What is a Penalty Kill Unit in hockey?

A penalty kill unit, commonly known as the PK Unit, is a lineup of defensively-oriented players that takes the ice when a team is penalized and is down a player or two. From a fantasy point-scoring perspective, this short-handed situation may not provide many opportunities, aside from potentially earning some blocked shots. Typically, the penalty kill unit consists of skaters with a defensive focus, often comprising two defensive forwards along with one of the regular defensive pairs on the team.