Today’s focus has been on the league’s plans to force goalies to wear “form fitting”/proportional pads next season. I touched on the rule change on a general level here and then got into the deeper details of just why it’s different (and confusing) in another post.
It blows my mind a bit that the larger goalies (and maybe even a few normal-sized ones with abnormally long legs) might actually get to wear longer pads, but it might be more interesting to make some educated guesses regarding which ones will suffer. As The Goalie Guild pointed out on Twitter today, every goalie is built differently, so it’s possible that some of these sprite-sized goalies might not face a negative impact. That being said, I think there’s a good chance these goalies might feel the brunt of the alterations, even if the changes won’t be particularly significant.
Each goalie will have his height listed, although it’s important to note that sports teams are often a bit “generous” when listing player heights. Anyway, let’s get to it.
Jaroslav Halak (5-foot-11) As if following up a scorching hot playoff run wasn’t tough enough, the relatively short goalie might see a reduction in his pads. He seemed to be strong positionally (as in, not outrageously athletic), so the difference could hurt him more than most. (Even if, again, it will probably be subtle.)
Henrik Lundqvist (6-0) TGG claims that Lundqvist’s “massive thigh pads” might be one of the biggest reasons why the changes are being made. The Rangers lean very heavily on the Swedish goalie, so if he slips even a bit, their playoff hopes could be very bleak.
Manny Legace (5-9) and Vesa Toskala (5-10) As if those two goalies didn’t have the odds stacked against them already …
Jonathan Bernier (5-11) Bernier’s first real NHL season might be a bit tougher considering he’s already below the ideal height level for goalies.
Marty Turco (5-11) The good news is that – at least in a previous hockey life – Turco was an athletic goalie. Still, the Blackhawks new goalie is three inches shorter than their departing Cup winner Antti Niemi.
Tim Thomas (5-11) He’s not the most “orthodox” goalie, but age, injuries and the considerably taller Tuukka Rask will make things difficult for Thomas next season.
Chris Osgood (5-10) It’s hard for me to muster up much sympathy for the Leprechaun-like goalie, but you still have to give him serious points for resiliency.
While smaller pads will hurt “positional” or “passive” goalies more than the “athletic” types, most of the guys under six feet tall are likely to suffer. Again, these are educated guesses and the impact might be very subtle, but these rule changes could set an interesting precedent for shrinking equipment for netminders. Are there any other goalies – maybe less obvious examples – that could really suffer from the rule changes? Feel free to share your picks in the comments.