As NHL general managers gather in Boca Raton, Fla. for their annual spring meetings, one of the hot topics will be the overtime format.
A major talking point will be the difference in the number of NHL and AHL games decided by shootout this season. According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, when NHL games are tied after regulation, 56.8 percent end up being decided by a shootout, whereas the AHL figure is 23.1 percent.
The AHL plays a seven-minute overtime and switches from four-on-four to three-on-three at the first stoppage after the four-minute mark. The NHL has a five-minute overtime with four-on-four play only.
Some general managers want to see a reduction in the number of shootouts, and there appears to be growing sentiment for changing the overtime format , maybe as early as next season.
GMs could recommend a rules change that includes some three-on-three play, recommend trying three-on-three play next preseason or elect to study the format more.
In order for a rule to be changed, it would have be recommended by the GMs, and then approved by the competition committee - which includes players - and the league's board of governors.