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Recap of rule changes and how they effect the fantasy sports pool:

No more two line passes.
  • Two-line passes will now be legal. The centre-red line will be ignored for off-side purposes.
  • The "tag-up" off-side rule returns, allowing play to continue if offensive players who preceded the puck into the zone return to the blue-line and "tag" it.

    Our Take: These rule changes shouldn't directly effect fantasy pools too much but should help keep the play clock moving and thereby might benefit teams that are in better shape.

    No more ties.
  • Following a scoreless five-minute overtime, three players from each team participate in a shootout
  • Each team takes three shots. The team with the most goals after those six shots wins.
  • If the score remains tied, the shootout will proceed to a "sudden death" format.
  • If a game is decided by a shootout, the final score will give the winning team one more goal than its opponent, based on the score at the end of overtime.

    Our Take: Goals scored in the shootout will not count towards the players official NHL stats, many fantasy league pools might just give shootout goals a small point value. Make sure you check the rules out and select as many players who are likely to get shootout time when selecting your fantasy league team.

    Restrictions on goalies
  • The dimensions of goaltender equipment will be reduced by approximately 11 per cent. In addition to a one-inch reduction (to 11 inches) in the width of legpads, the blocking glove, upper-body protector, pants and jersey also will be reduced in size.
  • Penalties for goalies using oversizing equipment are: a two-game suspension, $25,000 fine for the team and trainer gets fined $1,000.
  • Goalies may play the puck behind the goal-line only in a trapezoid-shaped area defined by lines that begin six feet from either goal post and extend diagonally to points 28 feet apart at the end boards.

    Our Take: When selecting a fantasy goalie make sure to select goalies that are fast, agile and in great shape. We feel the new rules will not benefit some of the older goalies who relied on their oversized equipment to make the saves. These rules will help increase goal scoring and goalies who can adapt quickly are the ones you want in your fantasy pool.

    Bigger Offensive Zone
  • The blue-lines will be moved closer together to create an additional four feet in each of the offensive zones. That reduces the size of the neutral zone to 50 feet from 54 feet.
  • The goal-lines will be moved two feet, to 11 feet from the end boards.
  • The width of blue-lines and centre-red line remains unchanged.

    Our Take: Bigger offensive zone means more ice to defend on the powerplay. When selecting a fantasy team keep in mind that players who play on the best powerplay lines will benefit most from this rule. The ability with the bigger offensive zone to make defensive players chase outside of their defensive area will create a lot more goals. To make a successful Fantasy league team, power play player selection is crucial for having a great year.

    Changes to icing
  • A team that ices the puck cannot make a line change prior to the ensuing face-off.
  • Touch remains in effect but linesmen will be given more discretion to wave off icing infractions if they are deemed the result of an attempted pass.

    Our Take: This rule will have an impact on the game. As a team matching up against a tired line after a icing call could be critical to the outcome of a lot of games. However we do not see a way to use these new rules to benefit the NHL fantasy pool leagues.

    Changes to instigator rule
  • A player who instigates a fight in the final five minutes of a game will receive a game misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension. The length of suspension would double for each additional incident.
  • In addition, the player's coach will be fined $10,000 US, a fine that would double for each such incident.

    Our Take: Shouldn't effect fantasy team selection in any way. We do feel however that the NHL is taking the aggression out of the game. Time will tell if this is a good move or not, but we don't think it is. Controlled aggression has always been a part of the NHL, and one that the NHL fan loves. Taking it out might be a mistake.

    Areas of emphasis for officials
  • Zero tolerance on interference, hooking and holding/obstruction.
  • Goalies who play the puck behind the goal-line but outside the designated puck-handling area will be penalized for delay of game.
  • Goaltenders will be penalized for delaying the game if they "freeze" the puck unnecessarily.
  • Any player who shoots the puck directly over the glass in his defending zone will be penalized for delay of game.

    Our Take: Obstruction calls will be enforced allowing skilled players to skate with the puck. Though the penalties will interrupt the flow of the game to start, we firmly believe that if the NHL continues to enforce the obstruction rules all season it will make for a better game. Poolies, watch out for skilled players this year. Take as many smaller faster players in your fantasy leagues as with the crack down on obstruction point production from the NHL elite players will increase. We should see a few highly talented smaller players produce like never before.

    Unsportsmanlike conduct
  • The league will review and assess fines to players who dive, embellish a fall or a reaction, or who feign injury in an attempt to draw penalties.
  • The first such incident will result in a warning letter; the second will result in a $1,000 fine; the third will result in a $2,000 fine; and the fourth incident will result in a one-game suspension.
  • Public complaints or derogatory comments toward the game also will result in fines.

    Our Take: No impact on the NHL fantasy sports leagues.

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