Overtime in the AHL is getting an overhaul in 2014-15. In an effort to reduce the amount of shootouts, the AHL is extending their overtime period to seven minutes. The other major change is that 4-on-4 hockey will shift to 3-on-3 hockey following the first whistle after three minutes have been played in the extra period. In essence, 3-on-3 play will be played for four minutes before a shootout is used to decide the contest.
Interesting. The exact language of the changes, via Yahoo! Sports, spells the new rule out in its entirety.
During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.Teams will change ends at the start of overtime. Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period. If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.
Will the NHL adopt similar rule changes in the future? It’s possible. We’ve seen several other changes (hybrid icing) tested out in the AHL before making their way to the NHL. Rumors have suggested the NHL may be considering expanding the overtime period, but so far that idea hasn’t gained much momentum.