In the NHL's ongoing attempts to try and increase scoring across the league, the league got the NHLPA to agree to a reduction in the size of goalie pads for the upcoming season. The reductions call for a reduction of 10 percent in how high the pads can go above the knee.
Hearing/reading that is one thing. It's nice to hear what they are doing but it's another to actually see it in practice to get an understanding of how much of a difference we're talking about here. Thanks to Senators goalie Craig Anderson, we now have a point of comparison.
2012 vs 2013 - just some slight changes (per league rules). pic.twitter.com/VH1ahmegdW— Craig Anderson (@CraigAnderson41) August 22, 2013
So you can notice the difference in the height of the pads but overall it does seem to be rather minimal, doesn't it?
Minimal or not, the hope is that it will open up the five hole that much more. As we constanly see, that little black puck needs only the smallest of openings to get into the net, it's rather remarkable sometimes to me how a puck gets through a goalie.
In theory, the five hole will indeed be bigger for skaters to aim for. In practice it could be another matter. There are probably more tweaks to the goalie equipment to come and part of that might be how the pads are actually positioned. With slightly smaller pads, goalies might inch the pads up their legs just a little bit to try and keep that five hole locked down and instead leave them a little more thin near the skates.
I don't envision this making a very big difference on the scoring totals across the league this season but we will see. It will be difficult to isolate the shorter pads in being a factor in more, less or stagnant goal-scoring levels but if scoring is up then the league offices will be happy no matter the cause.