The American Hockey League Board of Governors concluded their annual meeting this week, with several rule changes that will shape the upcoming season of action.
The rosters have been expanded to add an additional skater, so during the regular season, there will be 18 skaters and two goaltenders.
The GMs of the NHL requested that one-minute minors be called in overtime during the regular season, instead of two-minute minors. The request was granted, and it will surely have some impact on the strategy taken during the OT sessions.
The board also decided to make the AHL rules more "in line" with the NHL rules by instituting the following changes.
High sticking, resulting in injury either intentional or not, will be a double minor instead of a major. The referee has full discretion on making this call.
Delay of game will be called when any skater, in their defensive end, intentionally shoots the puck over the glass and out of play to stop action.
Any contact made in the pursuit of an icing call must be geared towards playing the puck, and not attempting to knock a player down to forbid him from playing the puck. Doing so could result in penalties being assessed.
If the puck hits off the goal post, frame, or crossbar, the face-off will be in the end zone where the puck went out of play.
Some of these changes are well overdue, in my opinion. The addition of the extra skater now has that "last-guy cut" making the team going out of camp. But now, the "second-to-last guy" really gets to know how close he was to making the team.
I think it's good the NHL did have some say in a couple of the changes, because it will really get the minor-league players more prepared for the jump from the AHL to the big show.