Effective today, NHL goalies to wear new pants

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

(Photo Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports)

Starting with today’s games, all NHL goalies must now be wearing the new streamlined pants. Martin Jones, pictured above, has already been using the new gear.

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The new pants feature a defined thigh guard, which wraps in a constant curve around the leg rather than flaring out as it has in years past. Kay Whitmore, the NHL’s senior director of hockey operations said that “more sizes have been created to more closely align with the different waist sizes of today’s goaltenders.”

Whitmore also said that in years past, companies would fit players into either large, or extra large pants instead of having properly sized pants for each goaltender. 

The league was hoping to roll this out at the start of this season, but safety concerns delayed the new pant. 

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Across the league, roughly a quarter of the goaltenders have already been wearing the new pants. Martin Jones, Corey Crawford, Peter Budaj, Sergei Bobrovsky and Andrei Vasilevskiy are some that have already worn them.

For those who choose not to switch over, the fine is steep. So steep that the $25 K fine that would be implemented is only $4 833.33 less than the total $29 833.33 that has been issued in fines this season. Seven players have been fined by the league this year with the most significant coming to Brad Marchand for his Jan. 26 trip against the Red Wings’ Niklas Kronwall.

What do the goalies think?

Braeden Holtby: “If there is too tight equipment it doesn’t allow you to bend the whole way so it leaves a hole, but we looked at it through video, slowed everything down and there were no holes, so it’s fine. I didn’t find much of a difference at all.”

Corey Crawford: “Pants are probably one of the easiest pieces of equipment to [change].”

Mike Smith: “I think to have an equipment change midseason, it’s crazy, especially in the goaltending position. It’s nuts that it can’t wait until the beginning of next season. I’ve been wearing pants like [the old ones] for my whole life, where you don’t really feel them being a part of you. I tried [the new ones] on one time and they feel like they’re really restrictive in your movements, so obviously it’s a big change.”

Martin Jones: “The first probably three or four skates, just kind of working them in, they were snug, but you play around with them a little bit and get them to fit right.”

Quotes via nhl.com

While some goalies are fans, it’s clear others are not. It should be interesting to see if this has any affect on goalies numbers, as well as how it affects goal scoring across the league – if at all.


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    • Riley Miner

      They’ve tried several times in the past, including the 2005 lockout. It resulted in at least a few injuries. Sure, you could get new materials but you also have to consider that the reason that the glove isn’t form-fitting is because having a few extra inches ontop of the fingers helps to soften impacts to prevent injury; plus they’re facing 105mph shots not to mention sticks and skates. Do your research before calling for everything to be downsized, please.

      • TD

        I played goal my whole life as it looks like you did. My first glove didn’t have a cheater and had a solid leather pocket where pucks cold slide out. I agree that protection is needed, but the gloves could be downsized. get rid of the cheater and make the webbed pocket smaller. It will still be fair as everyone will have the same restrictions. They also need to get rid of all the plus inches on pads. They are only there to close the 5 hole in the butterfly.

      • Bills Bills

        Do your research please? Give me a break, The cheater was the start of it 30+ years ago. The wrist protector is now 8.5″ wide. What does that protect? My Wrist is about 3″ wide and I don’t have small hands. How about the lip they put on it? No other purpose than to deflect the puck away. It has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with getting an advantage over the shooters. There are ways to protect the goalie without having a 19″ web. Yes a 19″ web is regulation. The blocker is 16″ X 8″. I am sure there is some room to cut down. That is just a start. Goalies now are massive. Something needs to give.

  • CMG30

    NHL keeps fiddling while Rome burns. This will result in minimal increase in goal scoring. MAYBE see a small bump in the first month or so till goalies adapt.

    Ultimately, the NHL needs to acknowledge that the game has changed. Defensive systems, better goalie training and blocked shots are the real culprits. The only viable solution is to increase the size of the nets till each side is regularly scoring 3-5 goals per game. Until this happens, you might as well throw out the record books ’cause nothing that’s happening today is comparable to the past.

    • Harry2

      I am very intrigued by the idea of larger nets. I’m sure they could try it out in the ECHL and AHL preseasons just to see what happens.

      An inch higher and 2″ wider on each side would do I think.

      • Dwayne Roloson 35

        That just doesn’t work. It changes the game too much. The net needs to stay the same size they’ve always been.

        Im totally fine with form fitting equipment, smaller pads, chest protectors, gloves and blockers as long as the goalies are protected.

  • JackB

    I don’t think changing goalie equipment will significantly affect goal scoring.


    Johnny Hockey had his finger broken (after being slashed about 20 times earlier in the game) . . . although I’m sure Edmonton fans weren’t too concerned.

    But wait until Crosby or McDavid gets a broken finger. . . or hand . . . or wrist . . . from slashes they take . . . AND AREN’T CALLED !!!.

    Betman is an a$$hole !!

  • IRONman

    Fact is. Put the Rules and goalie equipment back to 1984

    Call lots penalties. We the Paying Fans deserve 7 goal games.

    Look at Grant Fuhr 1984. It would be fun

    • Natejax97

      Only problem is if they move goalie equipment back to 84 you might as well bring back wood sticks because otherwise goalies getting hurt will be next issue.

  • Eggs Bennett

    I have full confidence that Brian Elliott will make the adjustment just fine with the smaller sized equipment.

    But… just in case he struggles, I think the Flames should keep an eye on this guy:

  • Mark Lesser

    I think goalie equipment can shrink by a lot. I also think if goalie equipment did shrink significantly, there would be nothing wrong with wooden sticks again. Otherwise it’s not fair to the goalies.
    But the equipment companies like getting $250 for a stick.

    • deantheraven

      Yeah, and have you seen how many sticks break every game? Slap shots, ok sometimes a stick can break but slashes? Ridiculous!
      if they’re paying $250 a pop, that’s big bucks changing hands right there.
      I miss the wooden sticks, too.

  • Grayone

    Harry2 …

    The best idea in my opinion came from the Great One. He said design the goal posts so that the pucks go in when they hit the post.

    He figured that was all it would take … I like the idea.

  • frontman

    As a goalie that played stand-up and butterfly era the equipment safety factor is everything. Shots now are quicker and harder than ever. They reduced pad and glove size a few years ago.

    Pants will let a few goals in 5-hole, not as much as reducing the c/a. But the chest/arms is where serious injury can happen, taking a 100mile an hour shot in an under-protected part of your chest could cause some pretty traumatic injuries. Better to make the posts deflect in than that.

    Or, I dunno, call the penalties and let 5 on 4 increase scoring?

      • Bills Bills

        Are you old enough to remember hockey in the 80s when they were scoring at record pace? There was more clutching and grabbing in those games than you would ever see today. Guys would be just about mugged before a holding penalty was called. Penalties are down from the 80s because you don’t see the fights you used to. But goals are down because of the change in the net.

        Shots on goal and scoring chances themselves aren’t down. But shooting percentage has dropped considerably from about 12.74% to barely 9%. Is that because the players are less skilled and the sticks aren’t as good?

        The development of the butterfly style caused a revolution in goalie equipment. In 1985 if a goalie went into the butterfly his pads would be front flat on the ice. If he wore his pads as goalies now do, his knees would hit the ice.

        Do you know how many goals Gretzky scored without lifting the puck off the ice? It was ridiculous and near impossible to do today.

  • MontanaMan

    A guy like Miller looks like he’s 250 lbs in goalie equipment but he’s 165 lbs in street clothes. That should give you an idea of how much the equipment needs to be changed. The league needs to protect the tenders but technology can produce equipment half the size with twice the protection.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Martin Jones has never been shy about taking a risk or being the first of his kind. Many Sharks could probably be described as leaders or even ambassadors. In fact I can’t think of a single Shark that those words don’t apply to.

    – Drew Remenda

  • MessyEH!

    Change the goal posts. Causing the pucks, that hit the posts, to naturally deflect towards the center of the net. Picture an oval vs a circle.

    Eliminate offsides. Or have the center line be the new off side indicator. It would cause a more man on man defense structure No more trapezoid. You have eliminated the neutral zone. The game gets even faster.

  • Oilerchild77

    I guarantee the new equipment will have an effect on goalie numbers. And the goalies who wear the most outrageously sized gear are, of course, complaining the loudest. Devan Dubnyk has resisted any goalie equipment changes because he knows damn well that he could never keep up his current numbers without the help of oversized gear. I say, GOOD!! Then teams can start drafting athletic goalies again, instead of these behemoths that just take up space and play the percentages game, killing the spirit of fair play.

  • Cashmeouside

    When I hear these goalies complain I just giggle to myself like a little school girl. They start to sound like baseball pitchers. Wah Wah. I know for fact they wear oversized gear just to stop a few more pucks then usual.

    They should get a history lesson on previous goalies from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s….. even the early 90’s their gear was MINIMAL.