When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and league general managers discussed important points to change and correct in the game, the main identified issue was goal-scoring, and looking for several factors that could bring goal-scoring up.
The game has indeed gotten way quicker since the 2004-05 lockout, but since the size of goalie equipment and the standard of obstruction penalty calls have also been tweaked to help players find the back of the net more often.
At the start of the current season, there was hope that the referees being more strict about stick infractions would lead to more open ice, power plays and, as a result, goals.
The good news: at this point in this season, goal-scoring is up. Hurray! However, the man advantage doesn’t seem to be the main factor why. According to hockey-reference.com, so far the NHL is enjoying its highest-scoring season since 2006-07.
Sportsnet also pointed this out, in discussing the high scoring change:
"Teams are averaging 3.2 power-play opportunities per game this season, which is the highest since only 2013-14. Where you can really see a difference, though, is in how often teams are scoring with the man advantage. The league average power-play conversion rate is 19.57 per cent, which is the highest it’s been since 1992-93."
Interesting. Are you happy the goal-scoring is up in the league?