Survivor Effects: If a Player plays 82 Games this Year, how many will he play next year?

A player who plays 82 games in a single season is a very durable one, but the risk of significant injuries is so high in the NHL that we expect him to play a lot fewer games, on average, in the following season:

Nextyear82_medium

If a player is under 30, he'll play 73 games, on average, in his next season.  If he's over 30, the average is 69 games.

Of course, averages are deceptive here compared to medians.  If we look at the distribution of games missed among players 20-29, we can see that most players will play more than 73 games:

Gamesmissed82_medium

In fact, the 50th percentile is 78 games played, and 2/3 of players will play 73 games or more.  It's the 5% who missed half the season or more who drag everyone else down.  Survivorship in the NHL is actually slightly worse than what I've shown here - some players play 82 games and follow it up with zero games the following season, either because they have an incredibly serious injury (or even die) or go play in a different league.  So I've left out all of the zeros in this analysis.

Bottom line: if a player plays 82 games in a season and he's under 30, odds are he'll come very close to playing every game the following season.

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