The NHL point system is highly flawed
- A win in regulation: 2 points
- A win in overtime: 2 points
- A win in the shootout: 2 points
Do the three types on wins above appear to be of the same value? Is a win in the shootout equally as impressive as a 5-2 win in regulation? No, so why are they treated as equals?
Then we have the loser point. A guaranteed point granted to any team that loses in either overtime or the shootout. What we often see happen is teams shut it down and play for overtime. With about 10 minutes left in the third period of a tie game, coaches play conservatively trying to get the game to overtime. For you see, in regulation, the winning team receives 2 points while the loser receives 0 points. If the coach can get the game to overtime, they have the guaranteed point. If they win the game, they still get the two points. However, now they receive one point for a loss.
There is no incentive to play for the win in regulation.
What’s the Solution?
The Loser Point
First, the NHL must banish the loser point and pretend it never existed. No team should make a positive impact in the standings by losing.
I propose that all loses are worth zero. A loss in regulation, a loss in overtime, and a loss in the shootout are all worth zero points in the standings. This would hopefully help prevent teams shutting it down and playing for overtime and the guaranteed point.
Most new point methods I have seen use 3-2-1. In those models, a regulation win is 3 points, an overtime/shootout win is worth 2 points, and an overtime/shootout loss is worth one point.
With my method, I removed the loser point. So what do I use the 3-2-1 for?
- A regulation win: 3 points
- An overtime win: 2 points
- A shootout win: 1 point
The thought process is that a regulation win is more impressive than an overtime win, which in turn is more impressive than a win in the shootout.
I also hope this would make the final minutes of the third period more exciting. Will teams get more aggressive going for the three points with nothing to lose? Will the final minutes of overtime being even more insane as teams try to snatch two points out of the air while they still can?
I would hope that besides rewarding the different types of wins more properly, that this would also improve watching the game.
So how would things change under the new method.
Let’s look at the current standing via points per game. (I like using points per game as many teams have played a different number of games. Looking at just points can be misleading when one team has played 45 games vs another team only playing 39 for instance)
According to the standings, Columbus, Washington, and Pittsburgh are the top teams in the NHL.
Now, the standings under the new 3-2-1-no loser point system.
Columbus and Washington are still on top, but Minnesota and New York leap-frog Pittsburgh.
It’s somewhat tough to see the differences between the two standings, so here is the team movement below.
Tampa Bay had the greatest increase in the standings. The Lightning went from 28th in the NHL to 18th. Calgary, Winnipeg, Boston, and Dallas were all high risers.
The Flyers dropped from 15th to 23rd in the standings This was a result of correcting their 5 OT wins, 5 shootout wins, and 6 loser points. Vancouver and Detroit also dropped in the standings under the new method.
Finally, I’d like to share all the data for you to see.
This way you can see which teams have certain types of wins and losses or anything you would like to know.
- Red: The movement in the standing from old method to new method
- Blue: The old method points, points per game, and standings rank
- Gold: The new method points, points per game, and standings rank
- Green: The different types of outcomes (points award for each in parentheses)