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Tweetmail No. 70: 3-on-3, Draft Surprises & Free Agency

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let’s get to it.

What is your opinion on the possibility of 3-on-3 overtime? – Brandon W. (@bjaywhittington)

This tweet was sent to me a month or so ago, but it takes on new life after this news emerged from general manager meetings on Tuesday night: if approved by the Board of Governors, the NHL’s regular-season overtime format will be five minutes of sudden death 3-on-3 (followed by a shootout if the score is still tied).

I was in favor of 3-on-3 the moment I witnessed it in Traverse City at the annual NHL Prospects Tournament last year, and it was what you would expect – exciting, up-and-down action. Two-on-one rushes were commonplace, as shots went wide of the net one way or the puck took an odd bounce the other. Combine that with the long change, which the NHL instituted in overtime in 2014-15, and it’s likely that the game will be decided before the horn sounds.

In some ways, 3-on-3 is similar to the shootout in that the first team to connect on an odd-man rush wins the game. But, unlike the shootout, the emphasis is still on the team – and that’s what the NHL is looking to preserve.

The American Hockey League utilized a hybrid 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 overtime format in 2014-15 and had 75 percent of its games that went past regulation decided in overtime. A year prior with the 4-on-4 format, just 35.3 percent of games that went past regulation were decided in the extra frame. Compare that to 44.4 percent of those games decided in overtime in 2014-15 in the NHL.

Personally, I would have rather seen the hybrid 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 overtime format that was used in Traverse City and the AHL. With that said – and this seemed to be the stance of the general managers – 3-on-3 overtime was the desired result, and if the Players’ Association didn’t want to add any extra time to games, then straight to 3-on-3 it is.

I’m excited about the very real possibility that 3-on-3 overtime will make its way to the NHL next season, and I think it will be something the fans will enjoy greatly, as well.

Who do you see being a surprise pick in this draft? – Ben B. (@Sormy_Canes)

That’s a good question, but I’m unfortunately not enough of a draft expert to put forth an educated guess. Things are going to fall pretty consistently with rankings in the first round; there won’t be much reaching done, and rankings, more or less, are going to be somewhat comparable. It’s in the deeper rounds that analysis and projections may begin to vary more wildly.

What may surprise people most about this draft, especially early on, is what the heck is going to happen after the first two picks are made. At this point in time, it’s anyone’s best guess as to how picks three, four, five and beyond shake out. Will a team trade down? Will a team trade up? Will everyone stand pat? Does a defenseman get taken in the top five? Any number of possibilities exist currently, and everything that happens before the Hurricanes are on the clock will directly affect their pick.

The first round is certainly going to be interesting, but regardless of what happens, the Hurricanes are in a position to land an impact player. In advance of Friday, be sure to catch up on draft prospect profiles, which feature seven players we believe will be available at the fifth pick beginning alphabetically with Lawson Crouse and continuing to Pavel Zacha.

Any players the Canes are looking to sign in the offseason? – Justin D. (@justin1darling)

Of course, but I’m not privy to that sort of information, nor would I be allowed to spread such information if I was in the know.

But speaking of free agency, which opens on July 1, the “interview period” begins on Thursday, which allows teams to begin talking with pending free agents and their representation. Though deals can’t be made until July 1, the five-day interview window presents an opportunity for the feeling-out process to take place in advance of the free agency free-for-all.


Next Wednesday is July 1, also the day that free agency opens and the NHL world goes bonkers. Tweetmail No. 71 may or may not happen then – stay tuned!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you’ll be in Florida for the draft, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes (or drop an email here).

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