Now that it appears that the Blues' roster, for all intents and purposes, is set for the season barring upstart young guys, I figured it was appropriate to take a look at the NHL's new 3-on-3 overtime idea and who exactly the Blues need to send out there.
Three-on-three will more than likely lead to the gradual elimination of the shootout, much as praise for a puppy going potty outside eventually eliminates crapping on the floor. This shift in bonus hockey ideology makes the loss of T.J. Oshie palatable for some, because of Oshie's notable skill in shootouts. With fewer shootouts, you limit the need for specialists. You just need guys who can move the puck, score, and hopefully factor a lot of wide open ice into their gameplan.
If there was a time for Ken Hitchcock to encourage reckless hockey, perhaps 3-on-3 is it, because defense first will be near impossible.
1. Teams play an additional overtime period of not more than five (5) minutes with the team scoring first declared the winner and being awarded an additional point.
2. The overtime period will be played with each team at 3-on-3 manpower (plus goaltender) for the full five-minute period.
3. Manpowers during overtime will be adjusted to reflect the situation in the game, but at no time will a team have fewer than three (3) skaters on the ice during the overtime period. For example, if a team enters the overtime period on a power play, manpower would be adjusted from 5 on 4 at the end of regulation to 4 on 3 at the start of overtime. If a minor penalty is assessed during overtime, the teams will play 4 on 3. If a second minor penalty is assessed to the same team during overtime, the teams will play 5 on 3.
4. If the game remains tied at the end of the five (5) minute overtime period, the teams will proceed to a three-round shootout. After each team has taken three shots, if the score remains tied, the shootout will proceed to a "sudden death" format.
5. Clubs who pull their goaltender for an extra attacker during the overtime period (other than on a delayed penalty) will be subject to the potential forfeiture of their one (1) point earned for the tie at the end of regulation in the event the opposing team scores into the empty net.
6. At the end of regulation, the entire ice surface will be shoveled and the goalies will change ends. There will be no further ice surface maintenance during the balance of overtime period. Following the overtime period and before the shootout, the ice surface will be shoveled again, and the goalies will change ends.
Looking at the roster, it's easy to say who to put out there. "The top six!" of course. Well, as of right now, no one has a bit of a clue who or what the top six will look like. And to be honest, do you want three forwards out there?
My suggestion for the possible trios:
Jaden Schwartz - Paul Stastny - Kevin Shattenkirk
Vladimir Tarasenko - Jori Lehtera - Alex Pietrangelo
The offensive defensemen are a no brainer, as are the team's top two goal scorers. The centers are the two who took the most and third most face offs on the team, respectively. While David Backes' winning percentage is higher than Jori Lehtera, I'll assume scoring chemistry here would be favored. Face-offs are key in 3-on-3, because that set-up necessitates possession above everything else. Do you want to not have the puck with that much open ice?
Feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments, and offer up your own suggestions for who you would like to see in extra time this season.