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NHL Approves 3-on-3 Overtime

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Teams will play 5 minutes of 3-on-3 OT before heading to the shootout next year.

Wonder if these three have been practising their 3-on-3 tactics?
Wonder if these three have been practising their 3-on-3 tactics?
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It's official - next year's overtime will look a lot different. The NHL and NHLPA have approved a new format featuring five minutes of 3-on-3 OT, replacing this year's five minutes of 4-on-4 OT.

The AHL played a format in which OT started at 4-on-4, then changed to 3-on-3 halfway through. The NHLPA seemed concerned about introducing player fatigue through this format.

This should lead to exciting hockey next year. I was at a game between the Senators and Red Wings around Christmas in which late coinciding penalties started OT 3-on-3. It was very fast and very unpredictable.

Also approved was the addition of a coach's challenge to make offside and goaltender interference reviewable.

Still, the biggest news was the introduction of 3-on-3 OT. This got me thinking - what would be the ideal lineup for the Sens in this situation?

The most common option would probably be two forwards and a defenceman. For Ottawa, this makes a lot of sense, as Erik Karlsson is the perfect defenceman to play in this situation. His skating and puck-moving ability are ideal for a wide-open ice surface. In this situation, you'd also put out a centre, and then a fast winger. I see Turris-Stone, Zibanejad-Ryan, and Pageau-Hoffman as likely pairs in this scenario. It's a little harder to judge who should play after Karlsson on defence, but likely someone more offensively-minded like Patrick Wiercioch or even Cody Ceci would get a shot.

Some would argue that because of Karlsson's prowess, the Sens should play one forward and two defencemen, at least when Karlsson's on the ice. This could help the team to be a bit more defensively responsible.

Also seen in the AHL over the past year was teams employing three forwards. This helps to focus the team's attention towards creating offensive chances. I could see Cameron doing this when Karlsson wasn't on the ice. So for example, there could be Ryan-Zibanejad-Karlsson, followed up by MacArthur-Turris-Stone.

Which of these options would you most like to see? Let us know in the comments!