NHL Rule Change Headed in the Right Direction

There will be an NHL rule change to shrink goalie pant size, which is a step in the right direction

A few days ago, Renaud Lavoie reported that there will be an NHL rule change next season requiring goalies to wear adjusted pants.

I am a fan of this decision, and definitely think it is a step in the right direction. Some may disagree, but I have previously stated my position on the topic.

To state briefly, goal scoring keeps going down, and save percentages keep going up and up. As legendary goalie Ken Dryden has stated, “So to a goalie, anything new that he adds to his equipment is arguably for protection…goalies have gone from Gumbylike stick figures to net-protecting objects as big as a house. The principle that the purpose of equipment is to protect the body, not the net, has been forgotten.”

The same patterns in development of goal scoring and save percentage also held this season. The same chart of save percentage still applies.

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There will be whiners. There always are. But the fundamental, undeniable truths are that goalie pads are bigger than ever, save percentages are higher than ever, and goalies almost never get hurt by the puck. And even if goalies weren’t bigger than ever, there’s nothing wrong with making a tweak to improve the game and its entertainment value. Every sports does it, as they should.

This goalie pants change isn’t going to be that dramatic. The process to revise upper body equipment is still ongoing, and it just scratches the surface of what former NHL goalie Corey Hirsch suggested on TV.

There is no magic number for what save percentages in the NHL are supposed to be. Smaller equipment however, can lead to a more exciting game, and will create more separation between truly outstanding goalies and dime-a-dozen shot blockers taking up the crease.

For me, it’s a no brainer.