The AHL Board of Governors has announced a number of rule changes for 2016-17. The most sweeping of which might be the change in how accumulating fighting majors may result in game suspensions.
Rule 46 (“Fighting”)/Rule 23 (“Game Misconducts”)
Players who enter into a fight prior to, at, or immediately following the drop of the puck for a faceoff will be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to other penalties assessed.
During the regular season, any player who incurs his 10th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for one (1) game. For each subsequent fighting major up to 13, the player shall also be suspended automatically for one (1) game.
During the regular season, any player who incurs his 14th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for two (2) games. For each subsequent fighting major, the player shall also be suspended automatically for two (2) games.
In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major shall not count towards the player’s total for this rule.
Eliminating (by threat of game misconduct) “staged” fights immediately after a faceoff, should reduce the number of fights. As may the automatic suspension after 10 or more fights.
The Barracuda are not riddled with returning players that fight. Only one, Alex Gallant, accumulated double digits in fighting majors last season. I’ll just note that Gallant was at the development camp in July and working extra hard to be able to contribute more two-way play than just with his fists.
Another rule change is that after icing the offending team cannot call their timeout to rest players. On the surface, this could result in additional goals being score. Hopefully, it will not lead to more injuries from tired players.
And in a nod to the NHL and speeding up the game, there will not be a dry scrap (with Zambonis) before overtime. (Just the ice crew with shovels.) I never had a problem with the clock adding the dry scrape before OT; I felt it provided a better ice surface, free of snow.
So, all in all, these rule changes should not impact the Barracuda negatively this coming season. But hopefully will result in more offense after icings.