According to a report In Goal Magazine, which is an absolute wealth of information when it comes to goaltending in the NHL, AHL, CHL and beyond, NHL goaltenders are currently experimenting with proposed equipment changes for the upcoming season.
In particular NHL goaltenders will be sporting smaller chest and arm protectors in the upcoming season. For a sneak peek, take a look at this comparison from New Jersey Devils goaltender Ken Appleby:
The difference between Ken Appleby’s Bauer 1S chest protector from last season with the New Jersey Devils (right) and the re-sized, NHL-approved XL Bauer chest protector he tested in July (left) is evident. Specifically, the shoulder floaters are 1.5 inches narrower and designed to taper over top of the shoulder so they don’t stick up, and the elbow floater is one inch narrower, and the arms are narrower and taper at the bicep and forearm.
The difference may not be immediately apparent, but look closely at the shoulders, they’re a lot more tapered and don’t extend as tall as older models.
Here’s a closer look at the new chest protector with Winnipeg Jets backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit:
New Winnipeg Jets backup Laurent Brossoit was wearing his new NHL-approved Bauer chest protector at the NET360 Goalie Camp in Kelowna on August 8. Brian’s and Bauer were the first to deliver the new chest protectors, but CcM models were being shipped to goalies after final approval by Whitmore last week, and Vaughn was expected to ship the first of its three models to Whitmore as well.
Again, the difference is negligible, but if you look closely at the shoulders, they do look different.
So, what do the goalies think? Appleby is actually a fan.
I actually like it. It’s weird because it’s really light. It’s a lot lighter than the old ones. I think it’s going to bring some honesty to the position, I think it will be good. There are some guys who used to get away with wearing a big chest protector, but now they are going to have to adjust. You’ll have to be more athletic, more of a goalie.
Interesting, especially considering goalies are such creatures of habit. It’ll be particularly interesting to see whether these changes have any impact on goal scoring in the NHL. If nothing else, these new changes show that the league is at least trying to correct a problem that they’ve done nothing to address since the early 1990s.