Use your edges, agility, and body position to protect the puck!
Every forward lives to make a fancy toe drag or lag the puck behind them and then pull it through their legs as the defenseman helplessly makes an ill-timed poke check, only to realize the player's body (and now the puck) is already past them. It's the stuff of legend. The plays make fans jump out of their seats and say, "Oh my god, did you just see that!?!?"
Players like Boston Bruin David Pastrnak, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Columbus Blue Jacket forward Johnny Gaudreau, aka "Johnny Hockey," make these highlight reel type of plays almost every game. However, these deft puck tricks are rarely achievable for the rest of the mortals in the NHL and amateur hockey players. Thank goodness to be successful in hockey, you do not need to be a puck wizard like the aforementioned players, and you don't have to be able to "stick handle in a phone booth," as they used to say when I was a kid; however, you do need to learn how to protect and shield the puck from defenders.
In my opinion, there are two main ways to be really good at puck possession: power or agility. Players such as the Bruins' Charlie Coyle use their large frames to protect the puck from opposing players with power, whereas more agile players like Brad Marchand use their agility (edge work and skating) to protect the puck. While both are different approaches, they are both very effective.
In the image below, we take a look at Boston Bruin center Charlie Coyle and how he utilizes his size and body positioning to protect the puck. Note how Coyle does nothing fancy but places his body between the defender and the puck, making it virtually impossible for the