# What Does Plus Minus (+/-) Mean in Hockey?

As a hockey fan, you must know a few things to enjoy a hockey game and understand what is going on. One of these things is understanding the players scoring stats. If you look closely at the stats chart, you will find the +/- (plus/minus) symbol. Ever wondered what this symbol indicates?

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**What Does Plus Minus Mean in Hockey?**

In ice hockey, the plus-minus stats reveal the number of times a player is present there on the ice when his team scored a goal or the other team scored a goal against his team.

If the sign is positive, it indicates that the player’s team has scored more goals with him on the ice, while a negative sign indicates the other team’s goals are higher.

**How is Plus-Minus Calculated in the NHL? **

The plus/minus stat has some controversies; it still has its importance in the NHL. All the players have their plus-minus ratings. The officials determine the scoring that happens with that player on the ice.

The calculation is simple. If the player’s team scores during even-strength or shorthanded with him playing on the ice, he gets a single point added to the plus/minus score. On the other hand, if the other team scores an even-strength or shorthanded goal, they get the point subtracted from their plus-minus score.

**How Important is Plus-Minus in Hockey?**

It is essential to calculate the plus/minus statistic, and it serves a purpose. It helps the players and the team know if they are good at defense. Players who cannot score well against the other team or cannot stop them from scoring do not have good plus-minus stats. But it is also important to remember that it is only a stat that depends on the game’s situation.

**What are Hockey Scenarios to Keep in Mind for this Stat?**

It is essential to know that the plus-minus stats count when the goal is at an even-strength or shorthanded. Points are not added or subtracted to the plus-minus total in the power play, shootout goals, or penalty shots. But the empty net goals add and subtract to this total.

**What are Examples Where the Stat Falls Flat?**

As mentioned above, there are some instances in which this stat does not work correctly and, therefore, has some controversy.

For example, the players serving the penalty do not have high plus/minus values, while the players on the power play may have.

Similarly, if the third- or fourth-line players of a team’s roster play against the front-line players of the opponent, their plus and minus ratings will be lower because the skill level is not in balance.

**Do Power Plays Impact a +/- Score?**

One of the frequently asked questions about the plus-minus stats; does the power plays impact this score? The answer is no. Power plays do not affect the plus-minus score, but if the opponent shorthanded team goals, it will impact their stats.

**When did the NHL Adapt the Plus-Minus Score? **

We saw the plus-minus score calculation for the first time in ice hockey history in the 1950s. The credit goes to the Montreal Canadiens since they were the first to calculate it. Other teams also started calculating these stats after them. Finally, the NHL adopted this stat officially in 1967-68.

**What’s a Good Plus-Minus Value?**

A positive plus-minus value is a plus for a player’s statistics because it shows that his team scored more goals with him being on the ice. It also means that the player has good defensive abilities and does not allow more goals to the opponent.

But according to some, a neutral ranking is also good because it means the player was able to keep the goals in check and could protect his team’s score. So, such players can also help their team in winning the game.

**Plus-Minus Leaders in History **

The top three players with the best ranking in plus-minus are the defensemen. On the other hand, three players out of the top ten are forwards. The best ones are:

- Larry Robinson from the Montreal Canadiens
- Bobby Orr from the Boston Bruins
- Ray Bourque from the Boston Bruins
- Wayne Gretzky
- Bobby Clark from the Philadelphia Flyers
- Bryan Trottier of the New York Islanders

**Comparing a +/- Stat to Other Hockey Stats**

If you want to know a player’s importance to a team in actuality, don’t rely on only one stat. Compare all the standard statistics. For example, shooting percentage and ice time are some statistics that can completely define a player’s performance on the ice compared with the plus or minus. Similarly, it is also essential to know a player’s assists, if high or low.

## The Bottom Line on What Does Plus Minus Mean in Hockey?

So, plus-minus statistics are another form of statistics that can determine if a player is defensively or offensively responsible. A high rating in these stats is good for the players because they decide how many goals were scored on the ice. But it is also helpful to compare these with other statistics to have a complete picture of performance.