NHL Overtime Rules Set To Change To 3-On-3 OT


In the same day that the NHL salary cap went up by the lowest percentage ever, the NHL announced yet another potential change for the 2015-2016 season. After a vote by the NHL General Managers in Las Vegas, it was made public that the league’s prior 4-on-4 5 minute overtime would change to 3-on-3. This decision comes after the AHL experimented with using a 3-on-3 overtime period after their 4-on-4 overtime last season. The result was a success in that more games were settled prior to a shootout.

More from Devils News

While the NHL Board of Governors still has to approve the decision on Wednesday, I for one am very happy with the vote for the new NHL overtime rules. From the beginning I viewed the shootout as a gimmicky way to try to draw in fans who weren’t satisfied with regular season games ending in a tie. Continuous overtime periods like we see in the playoffs would never work for the regular season, but shootouts became too much of a skills competition. It took the team element out of a victory and got old pretty quickly.

With the new proposed NHL overtime rules you could make the same argument in that it is gimmicky, but you can’t deny that it opens the doors to lots of exciting possibilities. Not only does it provide for a more exciting experience for the fans due to the amount of open ice players will have, but it will inspire lots of creativity. It will be exciting, but it has also been proven that it actually works to decrease the amount of shoot-outs. Per Jason Chaimovtich who is the AHL’s Vice President of Communications, the percent of overtime games that went to shoot-outs went down from 15.6% to 5.7%.

More From Pucks & Pitchforks: Comparing Barzal Vs. Zacha

While the AHL’s overtime rules are actually a little different from the new proposed NHL overtime rues, there’s no doubt that 3-on-3 works. Via a NY Post article from March, Islanders AHL forward Colin McDonald had this to say about 3-on-3 overtime.

"“The guys are very aggressive and trying to make plays, if there is a chance that doesn’t go in, it’s an automatic 2-on-1 [or] 3-on-1 right back. So it’s very open, just chance after chance, back and forth. Those are very entertaining.”"

The other thing to consider when evaluating the potential NHL overtime rules is how ineffective 4-on-4 overtime has been since the shootout was introduced. Since the 2005-2006 season, the rate of games going to shootouts increased every year from 11.79% originally to 14.12% last season. The proposed NHL overtime rules for next season would likely result in a decreased amount of shoot-outs, which would actually make them more exciting to watch.

More From Pucks & Pitchforks: New Jersey Devils Top-10 All-Time Draft Picks

The simple fact is that shootouts have become too much of a deciding factor in the standings and the NHL is attempting to take the next step to fix that. This should be fantastic news for Devils fans as the team has not been good in shootouts over the last few seasons to put it lightly. The New Jersey Devils have an all-time shootout record of 61-74 in 135 shoot-outs and over the last 3 seasons they’ve only won 7 out of 27 shootouts.

The current NHL overtime rules are outdated and need to be revitalized for the good of the game. No team should have to deal with the shootout being such a deciding factor in their season and 3-on-3 could be the potential solution. The thought of potentially having 3 forwards on the ice vs. 3 other forwards with so much open ice is really something to look forward to. As always we’d love to hear what you all think about the proposed NHL overtime rules! Do you love them or do you hate them? How would you tweak them if you had the option to do so? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Next: New Jersey Devils News: Clemmensen To Join On As A Coach?