According to a report from Sportsnet analyst and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, the NHL’s Competition Committee met in New York City earlier this week and outlined new rules regarding the sizing and fit of goaltender’s chest protectors. These new sizing rules are expected to go into effect for the 2018-19 season.
The league mandated changes to goaltender’s pants last season and were expected implement similar rules for chest protectors, but equipment manufacturers were unable to make the necessary changes in time. With the new rules now in place and equipment manufacturers like Vaughn, Bauer, CCM, Brian’s and Warrior on board with the changes, expect NHL goalies to look a little slimmer in 2018-19. Friedman predicts that the new gear will look less “boxy” and feature more sloped shoulder pads.
I don’t have the specific measurements, but the new designs are sloped at the shoulders, less “boxy” overall and more contoured along the body, and have thinner elbows/forearms.
Regardless of whether or not you believe that this will have an impact on goal scoring in the NHL, it’s impossible to deny that the size of goalie equipment has gotten out of hand. Almost every goaltender in the NHL these days plays that boxy, blocking style with flat, flared leg pads and tall sharp shoulder pads. Gone are the days of smaller athletic goalies like Mike Vernon, Mike Richter and Marty Turco.
I mean… just look at this comparison of shoulder pads between Vernon and Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne:
That’s… quite a difference. Unfair comparison? Maybe, but you cannot deny the fact that chest protectors have ballooned to the point where goalies no longer resemble an actual human being.
While we don’t expect the “Goalie Union” to be supporters of these new guidelines, it’s hard to argue against them. The rules regarding pad and glove size have made a noticeable difference in the way that goaltenders play, here’s hoping the new rules regarding chest protectors have a similar cumulative effect on the game. After all, there aren’t many fans who tune into an NHL game to see a nice chest or shoulder save…