High Slot

When attacking the opponents’ zone, we have the habit of crashing the net, but there are a lot of reasons to have one forward positioned in the high slot.

First, what is the high slot?

The high slot is not right in front of the net – that’s the low slot (in purple above). The high slot is between the face off circles, from around the top of those circles to the hash marks (in red above).

Our normal attack pattern is in a “V” pattern, opposite of the way ducks fly. F1 goes to the net; F2 provides a slot-line passing opportunity, and F3 lingers in the high slot.

High Slot Advantages

There are many reasons why we want to have someone in the high slot:

  • Rebounds – there are tons of loose pucks that can’t be seen by players who are right up against the goalie – one step and F3 can get a great garbage goal.
  • Bumper – like the power play, this is a great place to send a puck to turn defense heads where they aren’t looking, particularly if we have the puck deep.
  • Playmaking – defense is usually positioned close to the goal, so if they have to look at our player in the high slot, they aren’t easily seeing our player at the side of the net. The high slot is a good place to set up one-timers.
  • Stopping Transitions – if the puck is turned over, the player in the high slot is usually in a better position to immediately apply pressure to our opponent.
  • Backchecking – you’re closer to our net to be more effective on the backcheck.

Rotating to the High Slot

On attack, we move around a lot, but we should try to always have someone rotating into the high slot. Forwards should be aware of their linemates’ locations. As a rule of thumb, F3 (the player that’s not closest to the puck) should move there if nobody is there currently.

Cycling

On common method of rotating through the high slot is to cycle the puck once it’s deep. Let’s say we are organized as follows:

Our forward who has the puck can’t pass to his linemates, and our D is well covered. So he decides to carry the puck up the boards.

Once he moves up the boards (and not before), that’s F2’s cue to go to the corner to be in a good support position for a rim pass or a give and go pass.

As soon as F2 moves from in front of the net, that’s F3’s cue to move to the net.

If F1 does a drop pass to F2 along the boards, then nobody is paying attention to him, and he should move to the high slot.

This process can repeat if necessary as many times as we want until a shooting opportunity presents itself, such as the following:

The puck carrier along the boards can find a seam to our guy in front (the pink pass and shot).

He can also pass to our guy in the high slot (the green pass and shot).

Of course, he can also pass to our D.