This past week NHL General Managers met in Boca Raton, Florida and the topic of 3-on-3 overtime arose. The GM’s followed their meetings with presenting and discussing their idea to the Players Association that the NHL should perhaps use, in some way, a 3-on-3 overtime format.
The AHL has used 3-on-3 OT for the first time this season. The overtime period doesn’t start in the 3-on-3 setting; the extra period starts with seven minutes on the clock in the traditional 4-on-4 setting. Then, the first time the whistle is blown after the four-minute mark, teams pull one skater off the ice. From that point onward the extra frame is played three against three.
In any case, as long as NHLPA doesn't veto it, there will be some form of 3 on 3 OT in the NHL next season.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 17, 2015
If the NHL does adopt the 3-on-3 play they can tweak the rules accordingly and differentiate them from the AHL, but it makes a bit more sense to have the NHL and AHL rules and format as similar as possible if the 3-on-3 overtime is adopted.
With this, there would be far less shootouts which some fans and teams would love while other fans would be devastated that perhaps the most exciting few minutes in the hockey wouldn’t be seen nearly as much.
With the ideas and rumors floating around about the 3-on-3 overtime period, we can take a look at who each team may ice in the situation.
Gabriel Landeskog – Matt Duchene – Tyson Barrie
This could be one of the fastest 3-0n-3 lines in the NHL. With Landeskog and Duchene serving as the aggressive set of forwards and Barrie jumping into the rush as an offensive blueliner, this line could end games very quickly. Barrie forcing a turnover and giving the puck up to Duchene to either out skate the opposition into position or finding Landeskog, this sure would be a fun scenario to watch.
Patrick Kane – Jonathan Toews – Duncan Keith
This trio comes as no surprise to anyone, but how could you not ice these three players with all of the open ice to skate on. Each time Kane touches the puck something exceptional happens, Toews hardly ever turns the puck over and forces the opposition into mistakes with 31 giveaways along with 42 takeaways, and with Keith on the back-end, this set of two forwards and a d-man is as good as hockey gets.
Tyler Seguin – Jason Spezza – Jamie Benn
The Stars have the luxury to throw three forwards on a line together if the overtime period made it to the 3-on-3 scenario. Benn controls play as good as anyone in the NHL and leads the Stars in takeaways with 63. Spezza serves as a forward that can score, but he also is a top faceoff winner for Dallas. And Seguin is the superstar of the line that could end things in seconds.
Zach Parise – Mikko Koivu – Ryan Suter
Deciding on the ‘dream line’ for the Wild in a 3-on-3 situation is a bit more difficult than any other Central Division team. Minnesota is a balanced team from top to bottom, but Parise, Koivu, and Suter make the first trio that should be seen in the extra frame. Koivu and Parise both control the puck well and they both force turnovers as they lead their team in takeaways on the year. Suter stands as that strong defenseman that can stop virtually any forward in the NHL.
James Neal – Mike Fisher – Filip Forsberg
A sniper, a great two-way forward, and a young 20-year-old that can make things happen. Neal has six game winning goals this season for the Predators while Forsberg has five, the two most on the team. Forsberg has the most giveaways on the team with 48, but it would be quite odd not to see him with a wide open sheet of ice in 3-on-3. Fisher serves as the two-way skater that can light the lamp along with carry the puck into the zone rarely turning the puck over.
St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko – David Backes – Alex Pietrangelo
The Blues are loaded with talented forwards and blue liners. T.J. Oshie would be a great option along with Alexander Steen as well, but Tarasenko, Backes, and Pietrangelo act as a more than solid group of skaters. Pietrangelo can control play out on the ice along with Backes. The two have a combined 65 takeaways this season and would try to find the hands of Tarasenko who is one of the flashiest playmakers and goal scorers in the league.
Andrew Ladd – Bryan Little – Dustin Byfuglien
Ladd serves as the point scorer of the bunch, but all three can find the back of the net. Byfuglien has played both forward and defenseman in his career. The big number thirty-three stands as a two-way forward and could be extremely effective manning the blue line loading up his slapper. Little is one of the better face off winners in Winnipeg at 49.5%. Little also has given the puck away just 22 times.
Each team around the NHL has the skaters to put together deadly 3-on-3 lines if that is what the overtime format becomes. One thing is for certain, if it does happen, watching the players mentioned above and others with that much open ice with the game on the line and 2-on-1 situations happening left and right, the NHL will be even more exciting.