We’re a week into training camp and while players are trying to get back into game shape, soon goalies will have new equipment to get used to. This has been a long time coming and the hope is, this will help increase scoring.
The last significant equipment change was at the beginning of the 2013-14 season. The ruling was that a goalie’s leg pads could not go higher than 9 inches above his knee. The idea was to target the five-hole area as there would be less coverage, but it’s hard to say if it truly gave goalies a difficult time. Scoring saw a marginal increase as goals per game rose from 2.72 to 2.74. Goals-against average also rose from 2.54 to 2.56 and save percentage followed suit from .912 to .914. The next change would come in 2017.
In the middle of the 2016-17 season, goalies were forced to change to new form-fitting goalie pants. Opinions varied because it was in the middle of the season and we know how players can get sensitive about their equipment. Goals per game increased from 2.71, while goals-against average went up from 2.51 to 2.59. Save percentage dropped from .915 to .913, but I highly doubt it’s because of the pants. Three-on-three overtime was introduced a season ago so it’s possible that it helped bump the numbers up a bit.
Starting this season, chest and arm pads are being streamlined. The pads will be more fitted towards each goalie and that might take a little bit of time getting used to. The league has been trying to increase scoring for a number of years and it finally took off last season. Goals per game went from 2.77 to 2.97 and goals-against average rose from 2.59 to 2.78. Save percentage decreased by 0.1 to .912 overall.
Training camp is underway and goalies don’t have the equipment yet. I don’t know why this wasn’t approved earlier. I’m sure most goalies aren’t happy about not having their gear for the full length of training camp. We’ll have to see how fast they adjust to the pads, but this move points us in the right direction for more scoring. Will shooters notice the difference? It probably won’t look like a big difference, but some of the goals they saved last year might be going in this time around.