Thanks to an infographic released by the AHL, it looks like Ken Holland’s overtime brainchild may be closer to coming to life. For years now, the AHL has been the testing ground for potential NHL rules. From thicker bluelines to the introduction of the trapezoid, before a rule is made a rule in the big leagues, it gets a look in the AHL. This season’s big change has been the introduction of a seven-minute overtime that changes from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3 in the frame’s final three minutes.
What’s most remarkable about the data, aside from the wonderful layout, is the vast difference from year to year. The league is on pace to see more than twice as many games decided in the extra frame than the shootout than they did in 2013-14. While the new format isn’t necessarily adding up to more games decided in regulation, it is showing a positive change in games decided by more than just a shooter-on-goalie competition. There has yet to be firm word on whether or not the overtime format will make its way to the NHL, but 2014-15’s numbers look oddly similar to those of last AHL season. In 453 games played as of Monday, 114 have gone to an extra frame, or roughly 25 percent. Of those, 65 (57 percent) were solved in shootout, with the remaining 49 (43 percent) solved during regular overtime action. That makes for a grand total of nearly 14.5 percent of NHL contests decided by the shootout. When it comes to goal breakdown, the AHL’s spread of overtime winners is very similar of that of the NHL. However, unlike the AHL, which sees most of its game-winning overtime goals come in the final minute of 3-on-3 action, the NHL is seeing most of its winners in the middle of the extra frame. The NHL’s breakdown, by minute, is six goals in the first minute, nine in the second, 13 in the third, nine in the fourth, and 12 in the final sixty seconds. It’s become increasingly evident that the changed overtime format does indeed work for the AHL. If the NHL adopts the rule change, you can be assured there would be similar results.