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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Guide To Making Your Bracket

The NHL playoffs are just around the corner. People around the hockey world have already jumped to making their own brackets, trying to predict who will win Lord Stanley this year. So, before the games start this Wednesday, April 12th, and before you go and enter your buddies playoff bracket challenge, you need to take a look at this guide to making your bracket.

Many people wonder what to look for when choosing their bracket, and there are so many stats that it’s hard to narrow it down. My personal favorite is a team’s points percentage since the trade deadline. It shows how hot a team has been before the playoffs start, which I believe is a very important predictor of a team’s success in the playoffs. Anecdotally, last year’s Pittsburgh Penguins, who weren’t in a playoff spot at one point in the 2015-16 season, got hot at the right time and went on to win the Cup.

My first round picks:

Washington v Toronto

Winner: Washington

This Capitals team won the presidents trophy for a reason. They are arguably the league’s best team. A young Maple Leafs team even winning a game should be something to be proud of. The Capitals score more and give up fewer goals. The Capitals also had an incredible +81 goal differential in the regular season.

 

Pittsburgh v Columbus:

Winner: Pittsburgh

An underrated story line in the second half of the regular season is that the Blue Jackets didn’t play great. They had just a 56.8 point percentage, which isn’t terrible, but heading into the post season you would want to play a little better. A big knock on the Penguins going into the playoffs is they are banged up pretty bad, but they have been dealing with a number of injuries for a while and that didn’t stop them from winning games.

 

Montreal v New York Rangers:

Winner: Montreal

Assuming both teams go into this series playing their best hockey, this will be a close one that could easily go either way. However, the Rangers haven’t been playing their best hockey lately. They have just a 50 point percentage since the trade deadline. Montreal, on the other hand, hold a 71.1 point percentage since the trade deadline. The Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins started to challenge Montreal for top spot in the Atlantic division and Montreal responded by playing their best hockey all year after picking up Claude Julien.

 

Ottawa v Boston:

Winner: Boston

This one sounds tight, but looking at the stats it appears otherwise. The Bruins have the edge on Ottawa on almost any stat you look at, from GF%, to SF% and the shot differentials are completely in Boston’s favor. The Bruins are not a great team by any means, but they have the edge on Ottawa in every category necessary.

 

Chicago v Nashville

Winner: Chicago

These teams are very close when looking at stats. Chicago has the slight edge in goal scoring while Nashville has an even slighter edge in shooting and shot differential. They have both been playing pretty successfully, with Chicago playing a little better. The thing that makes me pick Chicago is their playoff experience. While all these fancy stats are nice, I think something can be said about a team who has had success in the playoffs before.

 

Minnesota v St. Louis

Winner: Minnesota

I’ve said a lot about a teams points percentage since the trade deadline in this article, and given that you would think I picked the Blues to win this series. They have a strong 76.2% since the deadline. However, while Minnesota did struggle for a long period of time, I believe they’ve gotten over it in the last couple weeks of the season after winning four straight to end the year. And given that, I think the Minnesota Wild are a better team than the Blues all around. Minnesota has a much better GF%.

 

Anaheim v Calgary:

Winner: Anaheim

The Ducks have had a 81.6% points percentage since the trade deadline, and they finished the season with a four game winning streak. The Ducks have a 53.1% GF%. Both better than the Flames. Calgary should be proud to be back in the playoffs after missing out last season, but much like the Maple Leafs I don’t think they have much of a chance against the Ducks in the first round. I believe Anaheim is a real cup contender this year and no one seems to notice them.

 

Edmonton v San Jose:

Winner: Edmonton

If the season only started at the trade deadline the Sharks wouldn’t be in the playoffs. They have a 47.6 points percentage since the trade deadline. If they didn’t start the season strong they would have been in big trouble this year. Overall the numbers between these teams are close, but I don’t think San Jose can turn their game around in time to make a serious run in the playoffs.

GF60, GA60, GF%, SF60, SA60, SF%, FF%, CF% all in 5v5 only

stats from: http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/teamstats.php?db=201617&sit=5v5&disp=1&sortdir=DESC&sort=GFPCT

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Team GF60 GA60 GF% SF60 SA60 SF% FF% CF% DIFF PP% PK% Special teams points % since trade deadline streak Points
EAST
Washington 2.73 1.72 61.40% 29.8 27.4 52.10% 51.40% 51.80% 81 23.1 83.8 106.9 69% 1L 118
VS
Toronto 2.54 2.43 51.10% 30.6 31.6 49.20% 49.70% 50.40% 9 24.2 82.3 106.5 61.90% 1L 95
Pittsburgh 2.81 2.28 55.20% 32.8 31 51.40% 51.20% 50.10% 48 23.1 79.8 102.9 61.40% 2L 111
VS
Columbus 2.51 1.98 55.90% 30.9 29.4 51.20% 50.40% 50.30% 54 19.9 82.5 102.4 56.80% 1W 108
Montreal 2.29 1.92 54.30% 30.4 28.5 51.60% 52.40% 52.50% 26 19.6 81.1 100.7 71.10% 1W 103
VS
New York R 2.51 2.3 52.20% 28.3 29.9 48.70% 48.80% 47.90% 36 20.2 79.8 100 50% 1W 102
Ottawa 2.07 2.16 48.90% 29.4 29.3 50.10% 48.80% 48.50% -2 17 79.7 96.7 61.90% 1L 98
VS
Boston 2.2 2.28 49.10% 32.3 26.2 55.20% 55.30% 54.70% 22 21.7 85.7 107.4 62.50% 1L 95
WEST
Chicago 2.43 2.01 54.70% 29.7 30.1 49.70% 50% 50.40% 31 18 77.7 95.7 65% 1OTL 109
VS
Nashville 2.42 2.15 53% 30.9 29.2 51.40% 51% 51.40% 16 18.9 80.9 99.8 57.50% 1L 94
Minnesota 2.73 2.19 55.50% 29.9 29.4 50.50% 49.90% 49.40% 58 21 82.9 103.9 45.50% 4W 106
VS
St.Louis 2.43 2.08 52.90% 27.9 27.4 50.50% 50.50% 50.20% 17 21.3 84.8 106.1 76.20% 3W 99
Ahnaheim 2.25 1.98 53.10% 28.9 28.3 50.60% 50.10% 49.70% 23 18.7 84.7 103.4 81.60% 4W 105
VS
Calgary 2.16 2.22 49.30% 28.5 27.8 50.60% 50.10% 50.60% 5 20.2 81.6 101.8 63.20% 1L 94
Edmonton 2.48 2.09 54.30% 29.9 28.7 51% 50.90% 49.90% 35 22.9 80.7 103.6 76.30% 3W 103
VS
San Jose 2.28 2.03 53% 28.9 26.8 51.80% 52% 51.10% 20 16.7 80.7 97.4 47.60% 1W 99

Continue reading “Guide To Making Your Bracket”

Just How Good Were the Los Angeles Kings?

In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings went on an amazing run to the Stanley Cup Finals where they beat the New Jersey Devils in 6 games, as the 8th seed out of the Western Conference. Just two years later, in 2014, they won Lord Stanley’s prize again, this time after finishing 10th in the NHL.

Following their 2014 Stanley Cup win they had been deemed one of the NHL’s best teams, alongside the Chicago Blackhawks. But were they ever really that good, or did they just get hot at the right time?

During the 2012 run, LA made the playoffs by just 5 points, beating out the Calgary Flames for the 8th and final playoff spot. The team had to face the 1st place Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs. It seemed impossible for them to pull off the upset, but clearly nobody told them, as they went on to win the series in just five games. Next up was the St. Louis Blues, and once again the Kings won it with ease, this time pulling off the four game sweep. After this was the Western Conference Finals, against the, then Phoenix Coyotes. The Kings took the series in just 5 games. They went on to the Stanley Cup Finals where they beat the New Jersey Devils in 6 games. The Kings won the cup after playing just 20 playoff games.

What made this run so unbelievable was that they barely made the Playoffs and didn’t exactly put up great numbers during the regular season. That year the LA Kings averaged just 1.84 goals per game in 5v5 situations, second last in the NHL. They had a shooting percentage of just 6.03% in 5v5 situations, last in the NHL. They couldn’t score any goals. Their leading goal scorer was Anze Kopitar with 25 goals on the year.

vR2_K9cH.jpg-large.jpgTnnw68bT.jpg-large.jpgAfter winning the Cup in 2012, despite having trouble scoring any goals, the Kings were labeled a team to look out for entering the 2014 Playoffs. This time around they faced the San Jose Sharks in the first round, and after a hard fought series that went 7 games, the Kings were victorious.

In the second round they played the Anaheim Ducks, and once again the Kings won the series after playing 7 games.  Then came the Western Conference Finals against the previous victors, the Chicago Blackhawks. For the third straight series, it went to 7 games, but despite playing their 21st playoff game in game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, the Kings managed to pull off the win, booking their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the Finals, the Kings would meet the New York Rangers, who had also played a lot of games in the playoffs that year (20 games for the Rangers.) Many expected a long series after both of these teams had played so many games in the playoffs, but this series wouldn’t last long as the LA Kings won the series in 5 games, winning their second Cup in three years.

This time around the Kings were expected to be more dominant, and in the regular season they finished with 5 more points than they did two seasons prior. But did they manage to figure out their scoring woes? They did improve their goals per game at 5v5 from 1.84 to 2.03, but still sat 5th last in the league in the category. They also improved their 5v5 shooting percentage from 6.03% to 6.51%, but remained 2nd last in the league in that category. They did, however, get a much better individual scoring performance from Anze Kopitar, who had a shooting percentage of 14.5% and had 29 goals, but 10 of those goals came on the power play. Other than Kopitar there was only one 20+ goal scorer on the team, Jeff Carter. So in the two years following the 2012 Stanley Cup run they were still having trouble putting the puck in the net, and because of that, they still weren’t a dominant regular season club.

yPfxkPn3.jpg-large.jpgw_fAoFYJ.jpg-large.jpgThe LA Kings were one of the first NHL teams to really buy into the Corsi trend that swept the NHL around the time they won their first Cup. They have been one of the best possession teams over the last several years. They also rely heavily on the goaltending of Jonathan Quick, who has been arguably one of the best goaltenders in the NHL since the Kings Cup run of 2012. While having a good possession numbers and solid goaltending may be important, at the end of the day you’re going to have trouble winning if you can’t score goals, and the current LA Kings are a great example of that.

It seems as though, until a new management core takes over in LA, which I don’t believe is entirely necessary yet, the Kings will be a team that just always has the puck and will shoot a fair bit, but will have difficulty getting it past the goalie. Dating back prior to the 2011-12 season the Kings have been having trouble scoring, so one would think they would go out and find a decent goal scorer. To their credit, they did pick up the 5v5 goal scoring for a few years during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, but their offensive production has plummeted this season.

yjBH-PkL.jpg-large.jpgWhen the trade deadline came around this season, the Kings knew what their problem was: goal scoring. While there wasn’t a lot available in terms of goal scorers, there were players available that could have given the team a little boost. However, instead of finding that little boost in an attempt to make the playoffs, they went out and picked up goalie Ben Bishop. This move made little to no sense as they had Quick returning from injury and Peter Budaj playing pretty well, so they didn’t need a goalie, but for some unknown reason, they made the trade. What was stoping them from calling Arizona and asking the price for Radim Vrbata? A lot was made about the Vrbata contract that sees him getting a $1,000,000 dollar salary and another million in bonuses, with additional playoff bonuses that would ensure he gets paid $312,500 for every series his team wins. Should his team win the Cup he would cost a team 3.25 million dollars, of which the Coyotes could retain up to 50%. According to Capfriendly.com, the Kings have just under $500,000 in cap space. Assuming you avoided the Ben Bishop trade, and made getting a goal scorer your priority, you would then have roughly 4.16 million dollars of cap space to work with. Vrbata would be worth spending your cap space on if you need a goal scorer, he has 15 5v5 goals on the 29th place Arizona Coyotes this season.

The LA Kings weere known as one of the NHL’s best since 2012, however they have had difficulty scoring goals, and only play like an above average team in the regular season. Now the lack of goal scoring, and management refusing to address the problem, have caught up to them and that is the main reason they are not going to make the playoffs this season.