In the quest to create more offense in the NHL, there have been a variety of proposals placed on the table. Larger nets and smaller goalie equipment appear to be the two most popular concepts, but the league’s general managers are also planning to talk about allowing hand passes in the offensive zone as another method to boost scoring.
One of rule changes NHL general managers will discuss next week is allowing hand passes in the offensive zone. Could create more goals.
— Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) March 13, 2016
The idea of removing the hand pass in the offensive zone to boost scoring was one we discussed back in October, along with the ideas of allowing goals hit with sticks above the crossbar and removing the trapezoid. Changing the hand pass rule would be subtle and wouldn’t harm the overall integrity of the game, but it might help teams keep the puck in the attacking zone. Hand passes may rarely contribute directly to a goal (though it would be interesting to see someone pick up an assist on a hand pass), but they will prevent those sudden stoppages and sudden breaks in momentum for attacking teams.
While the GMs are talking about the hand pass rule, why not other changes like the removal of the trapezoid? By encouraging/allowing goalies to play the puck more, it seems like more offense could be created through goalies starting the rush earlier or through mishandling the puck and giving the puck away in their own end.
There are lots of ideas the league could adopt to boost scoring. Some are more intrusive than others, which is why a tweak to the hand pass rule (if it’s approved) likely won’t rub too many fans the wrong way.