Changing The Traditional Goaltending Platoon

Bruce Bennett

Platooning goaltenders isn't a new concept. In fact the Oilers have tried this on multiple occasions throughout the 90's and 2000's. Many will argue that this is bad idea as goaltenders are a bunch of cry babies when they aren't the number 1 goalies. Others will argue that creating competition between goalies will improve their play because neither goalie wants to lose the starting job. Either way neither of these views is the point of this post. This post is about baseball and how a hockey team could borrow one aspect from the game of baseball to try improving a team's chances of winning.

I will be the first to admit that I know next to nothing when it comes to baseball so a lot of the information I am giving comes directly from the Internet and may be incorrect. Please correct me if I missed something or really screwed up on something.

The majority of MLB teams carry between 11 and 12 pitchers with 5 marked as starters and the remaining are relief pitchers. Most starters will not pitch an entire game and have relief pitchers that will specialize in some aspect of pitching. If a team has the right pitchers and uses them at the correct times it can improve a its chances of winning, or at least that's the idea.

This is where platooning goaltenders comes in. Today when you think about platooning goaltenders its usually in a game by game situation. We also see switch ups when a goalie is getting decimated or is having a shaky start and the backup goalie comes in to relieve him. Other than those couple situations NHL teams don't usually switch their goaltenders up that often. But, what if a team acquired two decent goaltenders with different specialties and really played them to their strengths? Below are some examples of what I'm thinking of.

Starter and a PK Specialist

In this situation Goalie A is good 5v5 but his record 4v4, 4v5 and 3v5 is below league average. Goalie B is above league average 4v4, 4v5 and 3v5. Goalie A starts the game and plays during all 5v5 situations in PK situations Goalie A is switched for Goalie B until a 5v5 whistle at which point Goalie A returns to the net.

Lefty and Righty

In this situation Goalie A & Goalie B are both league average in most situations but Goalie A is right handed and Goalie B is left handed. During the game Goalie A is used for the first 2 periods then Goalie B relieves Goalie A for the third period in an attempt to change shooters and shooting angles.

OT & SO Specialist

Instead of having a full out platooned goalie system this one focuses on special situations such as OT, 4v4 and the Shootout. Goalie A is used for the entire game and Goalie B is only used in OT, 4v4 and the shootout as a specialist.

The Three Headed Monster

On the surface this one seems rather familiar to Oilers fans but the idea is quite different. The team carries 3 goalies, 2 starters and 1 specialist. They rotate through Goalie A & Goalie B on a game to game or week to week scenario. Goalie C is the specialist and plays almost every game but only in his specialist role therefore giving all the goalies similar rest time to prepare for their next game.

Buy In

The biggest issue I see with this is buy in. Like I mentioned before goalies in general are cry baby's and implementing a system like this would require buy in from 2 or 3 goalies. The system would have to be setup in such a way that the goalie on the bench could warm up before taking to the ice as well. It would be a tough sell but once a team or two started doing something like this buy in would be a lot easier.

So what are your thoughts? Did I miss something? Am I out to lunch with this idea? Let me know.

The Copper & Blue is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Edmonton Oilers and hockey in general. These posts do not necessarily represent the views of the staff of The Copper & Blue.

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