7 Biggest NHL Players in Today’s Game

*This archive was updated in March 2024

In today’s NHL, speed dominates. No longer can teams roster slow, hulking defensemen capable of obstructing opponents into submission. But, if a player has speed and size, they can be lethal.

Today, the average NHLer stands just over 6-foot-1 and weighs 198 pounds. When compared to the average NHL player of the 1944-45 season – 5-foot-10, 174 pounds – it appears that NHL teams have been giving their players the Captain America Super-Soldier Serum.

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Physically imposing players like Auston Matthews and the Tkachuk brothers dominate the league. They are not the largest NHL players, though. Let’s take a look at the seven of the biggest players in the NHL today based on body mass index (BMI), which surprisingly doesn’t include Jamie Oleksiak, the NHL’s heaviest player.

Anders Lee (29.37)

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 235 pounds

Since joining the New York Islanders, Andres Lee has made a living as a net-front presence. Opposing defensemen have difficulty moving him, and goalies have trouble seeing around him.

Anders Lee New York Islanders
Anders Lee with the New York Islanders. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

This is especially the case on the power play. Lee creates screens in front, while Mathew Barzal, Noah Dobson, and Brock Nelson work their magic for the Islanders. New York’s captain isn’t a big scoring threat these days, but does play a big role in team success.

Juraj Slafkovsky (29.74)

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 238 pounds

The first-overall pick from the 2022 NHL Draft, Juraj Slafkovsky is the sixth-largest NHL player based on BMI. And after a rough rookie season, he’s rounding into an impact forward for the Montreal Canadiens.

Once Slafkovsky learns how to use his size effectively at the NHL level, the Canadiens will have an elite power forward on their hands. Combined with two-way center Nick Suzuki and diminutive scorer Cole Caulfield, Montreal could have an outstanding top line for years to come.

Alex Ovechkin (29.75)

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 238 pounds

A true power forward, Alex Ovechkin has taken the NHL by storm since first appearing as a 20-year-old in 2005. With nine Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophies to his name, Ovechkin has already topped 800 goals and 1,500 points in his career.

Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin skating with the Washington Capitals. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Today, Ovechkin is the seventh-heaviest player in the game and technically qualifies as “overweight” on the BMI scale. That said, he’s still an elite scorer and could end up with the record for most goals all-time by the time he hangs up his skates.

Pat Maroon (29.75)

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 234 pounds

Known as “Big Rig” around the rink, Pat Maroon has long used his size to his advantage. After winning the Stanley Cup with his hometown St. Louis Blues, Maroon signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning for another shot at the Cup (and won).

Now with the Boston Bruins, Maroon could add to his collection of Stanley Cup rings as a role player and locker room presence.

Jack Johnson (29.95)

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 227 pounds

Now in his 18th NHL season, Jack Johnson ranks has the third-largest player in terms of BMI. The former third-overall pick from the 2005 draft still defends the blue line well for the Colorado Avalanche.

Johnson has one Stanley Cup to his name – the 2022 Avalanche that ended Maroon’s three-year championship run.

Vladimir Tarasenko (30.08)

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 228 pounds

A pound heavier than Johnson, Vladimir Tarasenko crosses over the 30-threshold on the BMI scale. I wouldn’t call him a power forward, per se, but he still has a lethal release in his 30s.

Like Maroon, the 32-year-old won the 2019 Stanley Cup as a member of the St. Louis Blues.

David Savard (31.00)

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 235 pounds

Patrolling the blue line for the Montreal Canadiens, David Savard is a stocky NHLer who has a high BMI due to his above-average weight and somewhat shorter stature. He frequently boxes out forwards with his large frame and can be counted on in his own end.

David Savard Montreal Canadiens
Teams always have interest in players like David Savard for postseason battles. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Savard was a critical deadline add for the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2020-21 season. His defensive prowess helped the Lightning win their second championship in a row.

Data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.