It’s expected that the NHL Board of Governors will soon approve an overtime format change that will do away with the five minute four-on-four overtime period we know and love, and replace it with a single three-on-three overtime period.
The shootout, which we certainly know but do not love, will remain for now. With the new three-on-three format though, it’s expected that more games will be decided without relying on mini-games.
With that, Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock will now need to build at least a few three-man units to prepare for the new format. The four-on-four format wasn’t terribly interesting, as you would more often than not drop a winger from your top two lines and send them over the boards. In three-on-three, Babcock can get a little more creative.
You have to imagine that a lot of teams will experiment with icing three forwards as opposed to two forwards and a defender. That largely depends on if they have a defender who can skate well and quarterback an offence.
So, if you were able to suggest new OT lineups to Babcock, who would you want to see out there during a three-on-three overtime?
While he may not be a Leaf much longer, I’d start with Phil Kessel. After that, I’m calling on Nazem Kadri at centre and Morgan Rielly on the blueline. I wouldn’t mind using three forwards in an all-out attack system, but at the same time, I’m not sure that Toronto currently has a forward on the roster, outside of Kessel and Kadri, that has as much offensive creativity and can walk the blueline like Rielly.
Let me know who you’d ice in the comments below…