A popular adage in hockey is that it take a defensemen 200 to 300 games to really learn how to play the position. “You know as well as I do that a player becomes a real player, a pro, with 300 games,” former defenseman Denis Potvin said in January 2007. “Pavel Kubina said it took him about 300 games to finally understand how to play defense in the NHL” was cited in December 2007. “There’s an axiom among some hockey experts that it takes at least 300 NHL games for a defenseman to make his biggest impact and experience almost every situation on the ice” was cited in 2012.
American ice hockey coach John Tortorella and retired professional ice hockey defenseman Denis Potvin have both used the saying, but the exact authorship is unknown.
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
Globe and Mail Update
Published Friday, Jan. 05, 2007 2:30PM EST
Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2009 9:46PM EDT
“Yes, but they’re also five or six years away from being at their best,” argued (Denis—ed.) Potvin. “By then, they’ll have played over 300 games in the NHL - and you know as well as I do that a player becomes a real player, a pro, with 300 games. That’s when he’s really got a handle on everything and as soon as he gets to that level, he becomes totally unrestricted. That’s tough.”
St. Petersburg (FL) Times
Young defense has a lot to learn
With veteran Dan Boyle injured, the Lightning’s defense is struggling with a lack of experience on the ice.
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
Published December 15, 2007
TAMPA - Pavel Kubina said it took him about 300 games to finally understand how to play defense in the NHL.
“You’ve got to get that experience,” said the former Lightning blue-liner, who now plays for the Maple Leafs.
“When you’re young, you think you’re ready to play, but sometimes you just don’t get it. It takes some time. It’s pretty much a learning process.”
the Official Site of the Chicago Blackhawks
Leddy’s play has been well ahead of his age
Monday, 04.23.2012 / 9:07 AM CT / Features
By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent
There’s an axiom among some hockey experts that it takes at least 300 NHL games for a defenseman to make his biggest impact and experience almost every situation on the ice.
They say you don’t know what you have with a defenseman until he plays 200 NHL games. So Larsson’s halfway there. #NJDevils
3:41 PM - 23 Apr 2013
@tbo41fan @SportsbuzzChi The benchmark for “fully developed/experienced” NHL defenseman is 300 games. Leddy had played just 176 I believe
2:29 PM - 26 Jun 2013
11-09-2013, 03:27 PM
Originally Posted by jakethesnake23 View Post
The game threshold for evaluating defnesemen is 200 games is it not? 3 complete 82 game seasons isnt enough time (that would be 246 games)?? Please… It was a number concieved by some former star who im not certain of now, but im sure its 200 games.... either way its arbitrary, just sounds like we have conveniently extended it by another season to accommodate Guddys slow development!
Nope its 300 games. Denis Potvin said it years ago when he did that one day training session with our defense when Keenan was coach. And then Dale Tallon has said the same thing in the last few yrs (people forget that Tallon was a regarded NHL d-man too himself). It has nothing to do with Guds development and just something that’s prevailed for yrs.
Tampa Bay (FL) Times
Lightning’s Hedman developing on schedule
Joe SmithJoe Smith, Times Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 10:17pm
Veteran defenseman Eric Brewer (34 and in his 15th NHL season) thinks it takes at least 200 games to “really understand what’s going on,” considering the game is constantly changing.
Official Tampa Bay Lightning Tumblr Blog
January 6, 2014
Best Defenseman: Victor Hedman. Another one of Torts’ (former Lightning Head Coach John Tortorella—ed.) famous comments is this: “It takes a defenseman 300 NHL games.” He meant that most defensemen need 300 games to really learn how to play in the NHL. In other words, at 300 NHL games, you begin to know what you’ve got.
@modman97 And the maturity goal for a defenseman is 300 NHL games. Looooong way to go.
6:28 PM - 2 Apr 2014
WEEI 93.7FM (Brighton, MA)
Dougie Hamilton on path to stardom
by: DJ Bean on Mon, 09/29/2014 - 1:24am
Dougie Hamilton is entering his third NHL season. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)When Dougie Hamilton gets into the thick of his career, he will be one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Between his pedigree, his encouraging sophomore season and a 6-foot-5 frame that he is continuing to fill out, there is little reason to think otherwise.
That’s what he will be. Right now, he is a still growing, still developing 21-year-old who seems primed for a breakout season, but how long does it take for a defenseman to cement what he’ll be night-in, night-out in the NHL?
Three hundred games.
That’s Hall of Fame defenseman and three-time Norris-winner Denis Potvin’s tried-and-true theory, anyway. Though Potvin already had one Norris to his name before he got to game No. 300, he feels the 300-game rule can be applied to blueliners across the league and hold up.
This Is 20: The Next Generation of Defensemen Arrives Early
December 19, 2014 by Sam Hitchcock
There is a hockey axiom that defensemen take longer to develop than forwards. An 18-year-old forward can be drafted and see carefully monitored NHL action, but defensemen take longer to marinate. The natural sequence is a year or two of college or juniors, possibly some AHL action, and then conscientious usage as a defenseman gets used to the NHL game. Supposedly, it takes 300 games to get a good gauge on a defenseman’s potential.
The Hockey Writers
Spotlight on Three Lightning Players
AUGUST 6TH, 2015 DAN HERREJON
There is an old adage in the NHL that a defensemen really doesn’t begin to learn how to play in this league until they have at least 300 games under their belt.
Interesting idea from Boudreau’s book that people should keep in mind regarding Tinordi It takes 300 games for a dman to find his game #habs
12:28 PM - 6 Aug 2015