The NHL has been exploring potential changes to enhance the excitement of the game, particularly in the 3-on-3 overtime format. NHL insider Elliotte Friedman shared a proposed rule change for 3-on-3 overtime, highlighting a compelling case study from the BCHL. The study showed a significant decrease in games proceeding to shootouts, from 41% to just 14%, after switching to a 10-minute 3-on-3 overtime period.
The proposed change involves extending the 3-on-3 overtime period to 10 minutes to reduce reliance on shootouts and provide a more exhaustive showcase of teams’ depth. The longer duration prevents teams from shortening their benches too quickly, ensuring a deeper rotation of players and potentially more dynamic and unpredictable gameplay.
NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations, Colin Campbell, acknowledged continued discussions regarding potential upgrades to 3-on-3 overtime during a general managers meeting. Various ideas were considered, including eliminating the ability to pull the puck out of the attacking zone after crossing the blue line and introducing a shot clock to encourage more aggressive play.
The data-driven conversations around overtime changes will continue when the NHL general managers reconvene in March, with the objective of enhancing the game’s excitement while preserving the integrity and spontaneity that fans love about 3-on-3 overtime.