Special Teams: Part 4 – Experience Vs Skill

When I first started this series I had planned to do just the 3 articles. It was after reading a comment on the 2nd one (Penalty Kill) that really inspired this; you could say part 4 is more of an explanation than a new technique.

The comment in question raised the point that I had been innacurate when I had talked about experienced players. I wanted to explain that a little more as experienced players are not always the best guys to use, as I had previously stated.

What I should have said was “all things equal, experienced players are better”. In other words, if you had 10 players all of equal OR and Qualities, the experienced player is always the better option to go with on your special teams. This is never the case however, and many of us have superstar rookies who have killer skills and great qualities but have very little experience. In this case, the best option by far is to play the inexperienced rookie. Doing so will give your special team a boost in skill, and will also give your player more experience.


Juggling the experience vs skill situation can be challenging, especially as your team becomes more developed. You may end up with loads of players all of whom could play on the special teams but are only able to select a handful of them. That’s part of the great part of this game… it’s not as easy as just throwing together 5 guys with good skills. Obviously, your PP and PK units want to have high OR, so they have a higher combined line strength. But, you also want to make sure your best players are getting the ice time, and there will be times that your best players are lower OR rookies with great average qualities.

As a general rule, trust your instinct. Make sure your guys are playing on their preferred side, have great attributes and where possible, have experience. As i mentioned in the previous articles, if you find your special teams have problems, don’t be afraid to pull them apart and try new things.

Good luck out there!

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