A player not willing to do hard work or "dirty" work, such as forechecking, backchecking, going in corners and battling for the puck. In a sense, a floater is the opposite of a grinder.
Floaters are most often highly talented and skilled players who rely on their natural abilities only and do not combine them with hard work. Floaters, who are usually forwards, play a finesse game, looking to deke out opponents and make nice plays instead of driving the net and scoring "ugly" goals (off rebounds or loose pucks). Floaters are players that are hard to coach because they have above-average talent and can be very useful in many attacking situations, but they are not willing to work hard and do the little things that coaches look for. Floaters who do not change their working habits are many times traded or seen their ice time reduced.
The term "floater" is also used to describe a weak and slow shot taken towards the net by a player. It is named that way because the puck appears to be floating towards the net.