NHL coaches need to throw the playbook on goaltending out the window, says a Simon Fraser University professor.
Using algorithms to simulate NHL games statistician Tim Swartz discovered the optimal time to pull the goalie for an extra attacker on the ice is with about four minutes remaining in the game. Most coaches pull the goalie with about a minute left in regulation time.
“The point is you’re going to lose anyway if you don’t score so you might as well push the envelope a little bit and increase your scoring rate,” Swartz explained.
Swartz acknowledged the chances of the opposing team scoring on an empty net increase but not to the same rate as having a sixth man on the ice.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault has yet to look over the technical paper written by Swartz but a colleague did fire off an email to retired NHL netminder and current minor hockey coach Patrick Roy.
“As more teams discover something the advantage cease to exist,” Swartz said. “People are always searching for advantages.”