The NHL started talking about modifying goaltender equipment midway through the 2015-16 season.
Everything from pad specifications to pant sizes, chest-arm protection regulations, and blocker modifications were discussed, as part of the league’s attempt to increase scoring. In yet another year where scoring went down and save percentages went up, the NHL turned its attention to the attire of the league’s netminders to try and figure out how to create a goal turnaround.
Now, just a few weeks before the start of the upcoming 2016-17 campaign, it seems that the league has come to a consensus on how to start things off.
First reported by Sportsnet and then confirmed by Bob McKenzie of TSN, the NHL plans to introduce newly streamlined pants for goaltenders to wear based on a more form-fitting set of sizes for the new year. Streamlined chest/arm protective gear, on the other hand, has not finished undergoing spec testing and will not be ready for this season; the league could introduce those modifications anywhere from midway through the season to the following year.
Reactions on the equipment changes have been mixed. Goaltenders have mentioned everything from a need to keep the gear safe to a belief that equipment won’t fix scoring problems, while executives and media members have simply seemed curious about exactly how much of a change this could make. The thought that gear wasn’t going to be ready for the upcoming season had thrown the league into even more wonder; knowing that at least one of the proposed changes will be ready should give the NHL and players a chance to see what kind of magnitude the changes will make.