The NHL standings using a three point system

The NHL point system is broken.

The NHL has focused on fixing things that don’t need to be fixed (the divisions) and breaking things that definitely didn’t need to be fixed (Olympic participation). At the same time they have completely ignored what could be the biggest problem with the league: the point system.

Currently, a team who gets a win, whether it’s in regulation, overtime, or the shootout, gets two points. When a team loses in overtime or the shootout they are awarded one point, and if a team loses in regulation they do not get a point.

At first this sounds like a good points system, but if you look into it you quickly find the flaws.

First of all, simple math. A game that ends in regulation awards two points. But when the game is tied after regulation three points are awarded. So, if a game goes past regulation it is now mathematically 50% more important to the NHL. Should a skills competition be worth that much?

So, knowing now that overtime and shootout games are 50% more important, and knowing that hockey is a team game, why is it that a game becomes more important when we get to a time where only a handful of players matter?

So if we can’t use the current point system, what can we use? Well, why not use the IIHF’s point system? It’s used in many different leagues, and is better suited for a league who would rather avoid ties.

Under the IIHF system, a regulation win nets a team three points, an overtime or shootout win gets two points, and an overtime or shootout loss gets one point. A regulation loss is still worth zero points. This way no game is any more valuable than another game, and a team is rewarded for winning the game in the first sixty minutes.

So, the first question that comes to mind when you talk about this system is, what would the NHL look like if they had this system? Well, the standings would’t change much. No team outside the playoffs would sneak in. There would be a little small change in playoff seeding, as well a few changes for the teams outside of the playoffs.

The playoff match ups in the Eastern conference would be the same except Boston would have home ice advantage over Ottawa.

In the Western conference there is a bit more shuffling around with the wild card teams and the central division. The playoff match ups would look like this:

1st in central Minnesota versus 2nd wild card Calgary

2nd in central Chicago versus 3rd in central St.Louis

1st in pacific Anaheim versus 1st wild card Nashville

2nd in pacific Edmonton versus 3rd in pacific San Jose

Take a look at what the standings would look like for yourself:

(info from: https://www.sportingcharts.com/nhl/stats/team-win-loss-record-by-type-regulation-overtime-and-shootout/2016/)

Metropolitan Division
Team W OTW OTL L PTS PTS (Current) Position change
Washington 45 10 8 19 163 118 NC
Pittsburgh 40 10 11 21 151 111 NC
Columbus 39 11 8 24 147 108 NC
Atlantic
Team W OTW OTL L PTS PTS (current) Position change
Montreal 33 14 9 26 136 103 NC
Boston 38 6 7 31 133 95 1
Ottawa 34 10 10 28 132 98 -1
Eastern Conference Wild Card
Team W OTW OTL L PTS PTS (current) Position change
New York R 40 8 6 28 142 102 NC
Toronto 33 7 15 27 128 95 NC
New York I 33 8 12 29 127 94 NC
Tampa Bay 32 10 10 30 126 94 NC
Carolina 28 8 15 31 115 87 1
Philadelphia 25 14 10 33 113 88 -1
Florida 23 12 11 36 104 81 NC
Buffalo 25 8 12 37 103 78 1
Detroit 17 16 13 36 96 79 -1
New Jersey 18 10 14 40 88 70 NC
Pacific
Team W OTW OTL L PTS PTS (current) Position change
Anaheim 40 6 13 23 145 105 NC
Edmonton 37 10 9 26 140 103 NC
San Jose 38 8 7 29 134 99 NC
Central
Team W OTW OTL L PTS PTS (current) Position change
Minnesota 42 7 8 25 148 106 1
Chicago 37 13 9 23 146 109 -1
St. Louis 38 8 7 29 137 99 NC
Western Conference Wild Card
Team W OTW OTL L PTS PTS (current) Position change
Nashville 35 6 12 29 129 94 NC
Calgary 32 13 4 33 126 94 NC
Winnipeg 33 7 7 35 120 87 NC
Los Angeles 25 14 8 35 111 86 NC
Dallas 28 6 11 37 107 79 NC
Arizona 20 10 10 42 90 70 NC
Vancouver 19 11 9 43 88 69 NC
Colorado 14 8 4 56 62 48
W: Regulation wins
OTW: Overtime/shootout wins
OTL: Overtime/shootout loses
PTS: Points using 3 point system
PTS (current): Points using NHL’s current point system
Position change: Changes in a team position within their respective division

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