Quick Learn

NHL New Rules and Hockey Rule Changes 2023

By Dipak BK / 8 September 2023 07:45 AM

Source : facebook

NHL New Rules allows referees to revoke major penalties via video review. Helmets are also made mandatory during warmups for all players.

As for the 2023-24 season, several new rules are still in the discussion phase. Any official announcements regarding these are yet to be made.

The NHL has made changes and additions to the rules consistently over the years, one of the many reasons it has managed to successfully adapt, evolve, and stay relevant even after a century of its inception. 

In the meetings held between the General Managers this year, some of the topics up for discussion were the rules concerning video reviews or potentially instituting a coach's challenge to inadvertent high sticks, and Instigator rules on whether to change them or enforce them more.

The only game-related announcement so far has been the change made to the start time of the games. There will be a 30 min adjustments made to the game time for most of the teams.

The major changes the NHL made to the rules would have to be the changes made before the 2022-23 season. They amended the video review rules to allow the officials to overrule match penalties.

They even added the Fighting hand signals to the rule book for the 2020-21 season. No timeout would be permitted after a face-off violation.

NHL Rule Changes For 2023-24 Season

No new rule changes for the 2023-24 season have been announced yet. There have been several propositions made by various experts though.

Among the speculations for possible changes, we look at the proposals of NHL Network Analyst and NHL insider Mike Johnson. Johnson proposed several rules in a segment from NHL Tonight

Johnson proposed that the rules regarding hand passes, change to include players in the offensive zone as well. This could allow players to move more intuitively without having to worry about hand passes. 

Source : facebook

There were also possible changes he proposed to the rules regarding the goals. Johnson argued for allowing goals that are deflected or kicked in with a skate to be allowed with the exception of those occurring in the goaltender's crease. This is not allowed in the NHL's current rules.

This rule proposed by Johnson could result in a potential safety hazard for the players. Another rule relating to goals with potential safety hazards for players is the high-sticking rule for goals.

Johnson in regards to this rule said, "There is no high stick rules for goals," added Johnson. "People don't swing their stick at pucks, and if they do and they hit you in the head, you go to the box and you don't get to come out when they score two goals."

This rule could potentially increase the number of goals but along with the increase in goals would come the high likelihood of players hitting someone in the face when going for tips at higher heights and an increase in high-sticking penalties.

The video review rule was updated twice in the span of three seasons, it was expanded once in the 2019-20 season to allow referees to review penalties on the video to either confirm their original major penalty call or to reduce it to a minor penalty. 

Furthermore, another option of rescinding the original major penalty call was added in the 2022-23 season.

When Did NHL Overtime Rules Change?

NHL overtime rule states 5 minutes of extra time played for regular season games when the regulation time of three periods ends in a draw.

The first team to score in the overtime is declared the winner. NHL rules have been changed four times before and once after the onset of the new millennium since its introduction in 1921. There have been changes to overtime rules made over the years. 

In the case of Stanley Cup playoff games, there are separate rules for games that go into overtime. Unlike the regular season games, the OT played is 20 minutes with teams allowed fifteen minutes of break before the overtime begins.

Source : twitter

NHL overtime rules were first introduced in the 1920s. At that time the overtime was limited to 20 minutes. The NHL then changed the rule in 1927-28 to reduce the OT to 10 minutes. Furthermore, the game would be a draw if the overtime ended without a decisive winner. 

The overtime rules were discontinued in October 1942 though. This decision was made in lieu of the wartime restrictions and the OT regulation would be reintroduced only in the 1980s with the overtime now reduced to five minutes.

The rule to include the number of players in cases of overtime was introduced in the 1999-2000 season. The number of players allowed per team would be four skaters and a goalie. The number of skaters was reduced to three when the rule was amended before the 2015-16 season.

Some major overtime rules are:

  • For regular season games
    • One point is awarded per team in the regular standings in case of overtime. And an additional point awarded to the winning team.
    • Each team can have 3 skaters and 1 goaltender
    • If the game is tied after overtime, it will go to a penalty shootout
  • In the Stanley Cup playoffs
    • Teams shall take 15 minutes of break
    • Play time will be 20-minute periods, changing ends for the start of each overtime period. 

Hockey Penalty Shootout Rules

NHL shootout rules state that the home team has the first shot and they will alternate shots. The penalty takes place after a draw in overtime.

Each team will be given 3 shots unless the outcome is decided earlier in the shootout. Scoring the winning goal won't be credited to their stats.

Penalty shootout begins immediately after the shoveling of the entire ice surface which is done using the same personnel and procedures used for TV timeouts. The shootout is continued in a sudden-death format if the score is still tied at the end of their three shot attempts.

All the players are eligible to take part in the shootout unless they are injured, serving a 10-minute penalty for misconduct, have been assessed a match penalty, or a game misconduct.

Furthermore, each player can shoot only once unless there are exceptions until all their eligible team members have made a shot. 

Some additional rules for Penalty Shootout are:

  • The teams must submit their stick measurement request before the Referee blows his whistle and the shootout begins. 
  • The Referee can award a goal to the opposing team if the goaltender deliberately removes his helmet and/or face mask when the opposing team is on a breakaway.
  • The goaltender needs to occupy the goal closest to their team's bench.
  • The goaltender cannot be replaced unless they are injured.
  • The final goal recorded will be one more goal added to the score at the end of overtime for the winning team.
  • Teams can refuse to participate in a shootout and the game will be declared as that team's shootout loss.
  • If the team refuses to take a shot, it will be declared as a "no goal"
  • The penalty shot rule applies to all the shots taken during the shootout attempt.

NHL Draft Lottery rules

NHL Draft rules changed from the weighted system since the 2014-15 season. More changes were made to the Lottery rules in 2021 and 2022.

The league reduced the number of drawings before the 2021-22 season and decided to award the first two picks overall after two rounds.

Teams were allowed to move up a maximum of 10 spots in the draft order following the changes to the NHL Draft lottery rules made in 2022.

The odds of winning the draft lottery are increased for the non-playoff teams and decreased for the lowest-finishing teams in the league after the implementation of the new system.

Source : twitter

Chicago Blackhawks moved up two spots to receive the first pick and they picked Conor Bedard in the 2023 NHL draft. They won the lottery giving them first pick along with the Anaheim Ducks who won the second pick overall. 

The NHL has stated the following objectives behind the draft and has strived for it with all the changes to the draft rule it has made:

  • to reward the clubs at the bottom of the league's standing with the best shot at drafting a new wave of talents.
  • to establish a process that is equitable but not a guarantee intending to discourage teams from intentionally losing for a guarantee a certain draft pick.
  • to have a process full of drama for as many clubs as possible.

NHL Draft Process

The NHL hires an outside accounting firm to handle the draft process to ensure fairness and remove any doubts of them tipping the scale. 

The Draft process can be confusing but it is presented in the simplest possible terms here:

  • 14 ping-pong balls each labeled 1 -14 are loaded onto a lottery machine.
  • The 1001 possible four-digit combinations generated have one combination removed at random.
  • All NHL clubs are assigned a series of randomly selected 4-digit numbers as per their lottery odds
  • The numbers list is made public by the league.
  • The 1001st number that was set aside is  also made public
  • The first draw is done by matching the 4-digit lottery number given by the lottery machine with the list of numbers to find the winner.
  • The winner gets to select the No.1 pick and if the winner is one of the bottom 11 teams they get first pick.
  • The second draw is done similarly to determine the next highest available spot.

Source : twitter

The reason for selecting numbers between 1-14 with 1001 different 4-digit possible combinations is that the league needs 1,000 different possible combinations to conduct its lottery. 

The process of setting aside one combination out of 1001 is done to leave the process with even 1000 numbers.

An example of the 4-digit numbers assigned to the club according to their lottery odds would be Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks with their 18.5% chance based on their last-place finish would get 185 combinations.

Related post of Quick Learn