Colorado Avalanche Overtime: 3 on 3 Rule Change


Colorado Avalanche overtime periods will look different next year. The NHL Board of Governors approved the 3-on-3 format for overtime.

The 3-on-3 format of overtime has long been in place at the AHL level. However, it’s only been proposed for the NHL as a way to increases scoring in OT and reduce instances of the shootout. Such open ice increases turnovers and odd man rushes, creating more scoring chances.

The 3-on-3 format has only been seen in the NHL when both teams have a player in the penalty box, as in this game between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames:

Pretty exciting, no? Imagine the Avalanche with all that open ice.

Rule Change for Overtime

Several proposals for this change have been floating around for awhile. Last year the NHL was talking about a seven-minute overtime, with three minutes going the traditional 4-on-4 followed by an additional four minutes of 3-on-3. However, the NHLPA expressed concern about extending the minutes in overtime. NHLPA executive Mathieu Schneider told USA Today:

"“My real concern is that top guys are going to be put in these situations, and there will be more wear and tear on them. We’ve seen over the years that rules that are implemented in leagues below and they don’t always have the intended effect when we bring them to the NHL because the players are more consistent and more talented.”"

Ottawa Senators offensive defenseman Erik Karlsson acknowledged that after the NHL Awards (during which he won the Norris Trophy):

"“It’s one of those things that yes, I do think it’s going to end more games in [overtime], but at the same time it’s going to put a lot more pressure on some people that log a lot of minutes and it’s going to be hard on your body playing 3-on-3.”"

At the same awards show, even more offensive defenseman Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks called the rule change “exciting.”

Center Matt Duchene, who does a lot of the heavy lifting during Colorado Avalanche overtime periods, has always been a fan of adopting the 3-on-3 rule. He’s convinced 3-on-3 overtime will cut back on shootouts:

"“There’s no way games would go to a shootout. As much as shootouts are fun to watch, I’m not a big fan of them, because it stinks to finish a game on a non-hockey play.”"

Here’s another example of 3-on-3 in overtime between the New Jersey Devils and LA Kings:

Not quite as exciting as neither team is known for being fast. The 3-on-3 rule change definitely favors quick-skating teams.

Colorado Avalanche Overtime and 3-on-3 Rule

Since the rule change even started being proposed, Avalanche fans have been dreaming about proposed lines. With 3-on-3 play, there’s so much ice, and the situation becomes fast-paced. That seems a dream for the Avalanche style of hockey.

The most discussed line combination for the 3-on-3 is Matt Duchene with fellow center Nathan MacKinnon and offensive defenseman Tyson Barrie. I agree that’s a dream of an offense-minded line. However, what happens when the other team gets the puck? Those are some smallish guys whose main strength is not defense. (I know Barrie’s a defenseman, but actually shutting opponents down is not his main role.)

I think a better line combination replaces one of the small speedsters with either a big speedster or a power forward. If the Avalanche manage to keep Ryan O’Reilly, putting him on a line with Duchene and Barrie means the team has a puck possessor on the ice.

Conversely, replace Barrie with two-way defenseman Erik Johnson playing with Duchene and MacKinnon. That’s three speedsters, one of whom is big and strong enough to disrupt the play if the opponent gets the puck.

How about the Colorado Avalanche’s wingers? Jarome Iginla can take a mean faceoff, so he’d be fine with… Alex Tanguay and Barrie? Where to put captain Gabriel Landeskog, though? We’re talking potentially five minutes of overtime and we do not want to see the top players risking injury with too much added playing time.

John Mitchell is a sometimes underrated center who’s got good two-way skills. He’s be a good center for Landeskog and… O’Reilly? Or Landeskog and O’Reilly’s replacement if he gets traded?

So, the proposed lines can look something like this:



Landeskog-Mitchell-O’Reilly/O’Reilly’s replacement

Of course, we’ve got to wonder if forward Joey Hishon is finally going to make the team permanently. How about Jamie McGinn? He’s expected to report for training camp, but coach Roy expressed concern about his having missed most of last season and being able to get back into his groove.

Do any of the role players such as Cody McLeod, Jesse Winchester (who also missed all of last season but is expected to return) or Zach Redmond have a role in the Colorado Avalanche overtime 3-on-3 format?

Or should we just go back to dreaming about our beloved speedsters stealing the puck and indulging in lighting-quick odd man rushes?

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