In an effort to increase goalscoring, the NHL has changed the rules governing pad height for goaltenders heading into the 2013-14 season. The new rule affects the amount of pad allowed above the knee, with many goaltenders losing around 2 inches. Theoretically, this should make the five-hole four inches bigger.
Not all goaltenders will be affected the same way, however, as the measurement is dependent on the length of the goaltenders legs. Also, not all goaltenders took full advantage of the previous allowance and were already wearing shorter pads.
One of the goaltenders least affected by the rule change is Roberto Luongo, who told In Goal Magazine that he will only be losing half an inch from each pad. Will this give him an advantage over some other goaltenders this season?
Both Craig Anderson and Henrik Lundqvist have sent out pictures of their new pads in comparison with their old ones via Twitter and Instagram, respectively. They appear to be losing a little over an inch each off the top of their pads:
2012 vs 2013 – just some slight changes (per league rules). pic.twitter.com/VH1ahmegdW
— Craig Anderson (@CraigAnderson41) August 22, 2013
Other goaltenders will face a larger reduction, however, as Corey Crawford, Marc-Andre Fleury, J-S Giguere, and Jonathan Bernier all reported around a a two-inch reduction to the height of their pads at the Reebok-CCM Goalie Summit last week.
One goalie who apparently did not want to be named even reported a reduction of three inches.
While goaltenders will surely adjust to the smaller pads, it will still take some time. At the start of the season, this could mean more goals going through the five-hole, which will theoretically be two to six inches wider.
For Luongo, however, this rule change will require minimal adjustment. His five hole will theoretically be an inch wider, but it will be a smaller change than many other goaltenders will be facing.
This is especially important for Luongo considering that he has historically struggled in the month of October as he gets into the rhythm of the season. With a good start being of paramount importance for Olympic team selection and to help quiet the controversy of the last year, having to make fewer adjustments due to equipment changes will hopefully help.
Meanwhile, other goaltenders may struggle out of the gate as they make adjustments to their butterfly to close up the five hole. Even if they are successful in doing so, it will theoretically leave a little more room on the outside of their butterfly for shots to get through. For someone like Crawford, who will need a good start in order to have any hope of making Team Canada for the Olympics, this small change may make a big difference.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that this rule change is too slight to truly impact goalscoring and that it will have a minimal effect on the goaltenders most affected. At the very least, it’s clear evidence that Luongo was not dependent on overly large goalie pads for his performance in the past.Tags: Roberto Luongo