Will A New OT Format Benefit The Oilers?


It sounds like the NHL is inching closer and closer to the
inclusion of 3v3 overtime into their regular season games. The AHL has been
piloting this project all year and the results have been dramatic. The number
of games decided during “regular play” vs decided in the shootout has increased
significantly. In other words, at the AHL level, less games finish in a
skills competition. For hockey fans who feel too much weight is given to the shootout,
this sounds like a major victory. All that needs to happen now is the NHLPA, the
competition committee, and the board of governors must approve it. For the
Oilers, however, this might end up being a mixed bag.

Here’s a three month old infographic that was posted on Reddit showing
the numbers through December 14th. The results are impressive. 


Now the sticking points for the NHLPA are primarily based
around the extra playing time in OT. More wear and tear on the players and so
forth. It makes sense that there might be concerns. I’m sure they would like to
know all the injury data for the 3v3 in the AHL and ask their own set of
questions. For the Board of Governors it seems like a no brainer. It’s an
extra layer of potential excitement to sell to the customer.

More Features at almost no extra cost? Yes please.

Ultimately this should pass all the necessary stops and eventually become part of the NHL game.

The Downside

But how, specifically, might this hurt the Oilers? Fans are
happy and life is jolly with the new format. 3v3 OT is supposed to be exciting hockey that has
everybody on the edge of their seat. That sounds pretty great. Hey, that sounds better than great. Nobody is sitting in their seat that cost them the equivalent of a car payment thinking “I wish this was less fun.”

Sure. Sounds like fun indeed…unless you have a really bad team
with suspect goaltending.

I don’t want to alarm anybody, but the Oilers are actually a
really bad team. Have been for years. I know. I’ll wait a minute while that
sinks in as the truth lingers like a fragrant and unwelcome expulsion of gas
from the business end of your unloved family pet.

Now that I’ve shattered your world view, notice that over
the last three years the Oilers have a record of 67-105-28. If you subscribe to the
theory that overtime losses don’t count as regular losses (that’s a post for
another day), as most people do, then the Oilers are actually 38 games below .500
over the past three seasons.

However, in the shootout over that same period the Oilers
are 11-12. They are closer to being .500 in the shootouts than in any other game
state. Now maybe that’s part of the case against the shootouts, that if the
Oilers can at least be somewhat competent at them then they must not be a good
way to determine which team wins the game.

To boil this down, the Oilers should expect to lose even
more games without the shootout bump they get. If things keep going the way they have been then the Oilers should expect to lose more games if this skills competition has less to do with determining the outcome of the game. 

The shootout gave the Oilers a coin-flip’s chance of winning the game in an era where in reality they should have been much worse.

The Upside

It’s not all bad. 3v3 is by all accounts extremely exciting.
In the Neverending Story that is this Rebuild, the team has managed to find
ways to put the E back in ELPH. The new OT format can only add to that. If the
Oilers are at all to ever come out of the basement they might even one day be
good at the new format. Justin Schultz, for example, is built to wreak havoc in
a 3v3 format. Is he a forward? Is he a defenseman? We’ll never know!

In all seriousness, the Oilers do have players who should be
able to excel with open space. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is coming into his own now
and is so smart on either side of the puck at just 21 years of age that the sky
is the limit for him. Combine that with his skating ability and the results
could be electrifying if he’s given all the open ice that comes with 3v3 hockey.

Then again, we don’t need to hope about players who COULD be
good with extra space. The Oilers have one player who is ALREADY producing at
an elite level under those conditions. They have an Ace in the lineup as it is.

If we look at players who have played at least 100 minutes
of 4v4 Hockey over the last five seasons then Taylor Hall ranks among the best at
point production. And I’m sure I don’t have to explain that picking up a point
in OT means you were involved in winning the game, but I just did anyway.

Taylor Hall’s points per 60 minutes at 4v4 hockey over the
last five years has him ranked 4th in the entire NHL for those who have
played at least those 100 minutes. He creates 4.3 Points per 60 minutes. The
only three ahead of him are Briere, Ovechkin, and Grabovski. He is an elite performer with time and space today. No need to imagine what might be. 

When we consider his style of play (the break-neck speed and
offensive creativity) along with his relative age, the 3v3 format could be the
Oiler winger’s playground for the next decade. If he is able to produce as he
already does 4v4, then the added room and chaos of 3v3 might prove to be a
strength for the Oilers as long as they can get Hall on the ice. 

So I’m not going to jump for joy as the shootout gets placed on the back-burner since it has helped the Oilers out quite a bit over the last several seasons, but I will try to keep my glass half-full and hope to see #4 flying down the open ice with the game on his stick in the years to come.

  • Spoils

    The reality is the oilers were better than .500 in shoot outs prior to this year, then they stopped scraping ice prior to shootout to give play makers the ability to make moves on good ice. This year they are going deeper into shoot outs where less skilled players are having to take a shot and most of the time missing. I think the NHL’s reason for removing scrape “takes too much time” back fired, shootouts now take more time because no one can score.
    Shootout was good for first couple of years. Let’s move onto next experiment.

    • Spoils

      Basically a shoot-out IS a tie. with the bonus of a skills competition and the chance to feel the glow of victory. WAY BETTER than a tie IMO.

      Totally into 3-3 to minimize the SO. It will make it special again.

      My vote is they add a deal where at the end of the SO the opposing goalie and the winning goalie charge at each other. The first goalie to hit the ice wins. The only way for the losing team to get that last point is for their goalie to win that battle. No extra point for a loss in OT.

      Because – I want to be entertained.

    • Mike Krushelnyski

      Ties frighten and enrage Americans. The old NASL had hockey-style, breakaways from half shootouts at the end of a tie soccer game. It was hilarious.

    • Spoils


      I remember this discussion as well. In the last five seasons, the Oilers total record in 4 on 4 overtime is 12 wins, 22 losses. Why should they do any better 3 on 3?

      The Oilers are currently 27/30 in the NHL in total goals scored. Last season they were 27/30. The Oilers have many players who would get lit up like a Christmas tree if they had to play 3 on 3.

      The Oilers are basically a terrible team from top to bottom. Rule changes will not help them.

    • A new management team is the only thing that would be of benefit to this once great franchise. If they go into next year with the same clowns in charge I will have to find something else to do. This joke has been a running gag for about a decade, but the joke isn’t funny anymore.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    How would a penalty work in 3v3? If you haul someone down blatantly (but not on a breakaway)does the player simply go to the box and then can be replaced by another player? or is it 3v2 in the case of overtime?

  • The Soup Fascist

    At this point I think the 3-on-3 hurts the Oilers because this is a relatively slow team. I had to laugh when Aaron Ward was on 1260 yesterday telling Jaimeson that it would help the Oilers, because of their speed. Another East coast guy who obviously not been watching. Being young does not necessarily mean fast. The Oilers have one true speed merchant and with every leg injury he seems to be slowing down.

    3-on-3 is all about “who has the puck” and finding the open man. It stands to reason that a faster team will be able to get open more and have more opportunities. Not the Oilers strong suit.

    It will hurt the Oilers, but will be fun to watch. D-men like Erik Karlsson. Kris Letang, Doughty, Subban, etc will absolutely eat this stuff up. Obviously the Oilers have no one close to that level, which is reason #2 why it will hurt the Oilers …

  • Spoils

    I’ve always thought players like Ebs give us a huge advantage in the SO, and players like Hall give us a huge advantage in 3-3. Our small skilled guys should benefit from room…

    That hasn’t proved the case this year (Ebs is like 1-10 or something in the SO), but I remain hopeful.

  • S cottV

    Meh, I like the 7 minute format. I’m not sure about how much more ‘excitement’ it is going to add to the game, but it will be nice to end the whining of coaches who complain about a game being decided by a skills competition.

  • Yakupov hot hands are helping out the homeless in Edmonton, good to hear that he has a kind heart.

    He will score 40-50 goals a season one day, for those written him off shame on you. That’s why hockey players don’t want to sign with Edmonton. They are always in a microscope, getting ride out of town year in and year out.

    Please don’t win any more games because Arizona is not winning any games either. Stay at 29th for 2nd pick at least.

    Next season will be awesome!

    • ubermiguel

      Finishing second does not guarantee second overall pick. In fact I think it’s less than a fifty fifty chance. If the Oilers don’t finish dead last, then there’s little chance they get one of the two top centres.

      As for Yak doing that homeless thing, that kid is a class act all the way. I remember the first thing he did after getting drafted was move his whole family here.

      Glad they finally got him a coach and a centre that can work with him instead of against him.

    • Dwayne Roloson 35

      The unfortunate thing is that finishing 29th guarantees us… absolutely nothing. Well. It guarantees us 3rd pick I guess. But the chances aren’t even that good.

      If we finish 2nd, our chances are:

      1st pick – 13.5%
      2nd pick – 20.0% (we only STAY second if buffalo wins the lottery)
      3rd pick – 66.5%

      So… can we please stop talking about tanking? It just doesn’t seem worth it. Win some damn games. For the coach we want rehired, for the sake of the 20+ players already on the team, for my sanity (and probably yours). Just play exciting hockey and win.

  • T.J.F.M.

    Instead of us Drafting and Developing a competitive team, like most sports franchises, we have to look forward to new NHL rule changes that make the game easier for clown show we have on the ice.

    It keeps getting harder and harder to cheer for this team, when they give us so little to cheer for.

  • YFC Prez

    this may sound crazy.. BUT how about 3 points for a regulation win, 2 for an extra time win and a loser point for taking the game past regulation. Thus making the actual game worth more and not worrying so much about the gimmic known as extra time. That is all

  • YFC Prez

    3 vs 3

    Brings back memories of that hockey game for the original NES. Cant remember the name of it.

    1 tall skinny dude 1 medium sized guy and 1 short fat guy and a goalie. That was it.

    It was fun, and by that account it would be fun in real life.

  • Keg on Legs

    Play a 5 minute OT with 3 on 3. If the score is still tied, give each team one point. Loser points are similar to WINNING a PARTICIPATION RIBBON in an elementary to highschool track meet. Get rid of LOSER points.

  • ubermiguel

    Too much like arcade mode in a video game for my liking, but then the shootout really grew on me. It’s entertainment after all, as long as it’s exciting go for it. Except in the playoffs, that is serious business and not to be messed with.

  • YFC Prez

    3 on 3 is as big of a joke as the shootout. They need to get rid of these gimmicks and being back a tie. At least one point for a tie made more sense than rewarding the losers.

    • Dwayne Roloson 35

      May as well. Or why not a foot race or hotdog eating competition? Have fans vote on which team’s goalie has the hottest wife? They don’t want to use hockey to resolve hockey games so who cares really what they choose?

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    This whole thing is stupid. If you can’t win a game in an hour and five minutes then you’ve missed the chance. The system that existed before the introduction of the shootout was good and most importantly gimmick free. That being said if the league is hellbent against bringing back the tie, awarding 3 points for a regulation win and 2 for an overtime or shootout win would cut down on the number of games going to overtime. 3 on 3, 2 on 2- you aren’t playing hockey anymore. May as well decide it with a fight or an arm wrestle.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    For OT, I say 5 on 5 for 10 minutes and if it ends in a tie it ends in a tie. Each team gets 1 point. If a team wins in OT they get 2 and the other team gets 0. You lose, you get NOTHING.

  • Rdubb

    Should the NHL, the NHLPA, the competition committee & the board of governors all agree to change to OT format, it is the opinion of this fan that it’d greatly improve the Oilers W-L record, why? I feel like the Oilers are in top 1/3 of the NHL @ this point for having fast skilled forwards who currently occupy the top 6, and that’s all that would play in OT, along with perhaps a D or perhaps two…
    How would these lines look compared to others in the NHL @ the current moment;
    Hall-Eberle with Schultz/Klefbom/Nurse next yr
    RNH-Poulliot with the same as above
    Roy-Yak with the last from above & perhaps MM

    Don’t forget that the lines could also look something like this;
    Roy & a combination of the above…

    And, how different could it look if Edmonton manages to get either one of the top 2 picks, along with adding Nurse, and whatever MacT can pull off for a top D with his draft picks?

    In my opinion, you could easily stack the above line-ups against almost anyone else in the NHL as the Oilers lines have skill, speed, vision combined with confidence (which the all have @ the moment other then Hall who has been out of the line-up), and hunger…