The Player Roles system (not to be confused with tactical roles) allows a team’s management to communicate to the player and coaching staff what they expect a player to do within the larger context of the team. The player will attempt to meet those expectations (even if he isn’t happy with them), and the coaches will try to use him in a role-appropriate way.
Roles are broken into two classifications, Major and Supplementary. The major role expresses the player’s primary on-ice job; the Supplementary role is a little more indicative of his general status on the team.
Offensive Forward: The player is a forward who is expected to contribute offensively, but not in any specific manner.
Playmaker: The player is a forward who is expected to contribute offensively by creating scoring chances for his teammates.
Goalscorer: The player is a forward who is expected to contribute offensively by getting into position to shoot and score himself.
Power Forward: The player is a forward who is expected to contribute offensively by using his size and strength to forecheck and create space for his teammates and himself.
Offensive Defenceman: The player is a defenceman whose primary contribution is expected to be offensive in nature.
Two-Way Forward: The player is a forward who is expected to be effective at both ends of the ice.
Agitator: The player is a forward who has no particular offensive or defensive role, but is expected to antagonize his opponents into taking bad penalties.
Enforcer: The player is primarily on the ice to protect his teammates, likely by fighting.
Two-Way Defenceman The player is a defenceman who is expected to be effective at both ends of the ice.
Checking Forward: The player is a forward whose responsibilities are primarily defensive in nature.
Grinder: The player is a forward who is mainly concerned with defensive play, but with a strong tendency towards the physical side of the game.
Defensive Defenceman The player is a “stay-at-home” defenceman who is expected to be concerned primarily with safe and effective play in his own zone.
Starting Goalie: The goaltender is expected to start a large percentage of his team’s games.
Backup Goalie: The goaltender is expected to spend most games on the bench, occasionally providing the starter with rest or relief during a bad game.
Franchise: The player has more talent than anyone else on the team, and is expected to “carry” the team to an extent.
Star: While not quite a franchise player, this player is still very valuable and makes a major contribution to the team. A team may have several stars.
Leader: The player, often a captain or alternate, is expected to provide strong leadership to his teammates, inspiring them to succeed and helping guide them through any periods where they or the team are struggling.
Blue-Chip Prospect: The player is a young prospect who is expect to become one of the team’s top players in the future.
Prospect: The player is a young prospect with a less certain, but still bright, future.
Fringe Prospect: The player is a young prospect whose chances of ever making a significant contribution to the team appear to be slim.
Policeman: The player is the primary protector of his teammates. Usually, but not always, combined with the Enforcer role – a non-enforcer may also do the job, or an enforcer may defer this role to another enforcer on the same team.
Depth: The player is, at best, on the fringes of being a useful contributor to the team. Any production out of him is a pleasant surprise.