Apologies for stealing your title, GoPens!...or maybe it's more like borrowing without permission? Your analysis of the point system had me thinking a similar, yet different way. Instead of players, what if the NHL used a different point system for teams?
I think everyone would probably agree that the point system is somewhat flawed. In no other sport do you get points for losing while wins in the NHL simply aren't really what they should be. Much has been made about possibly tweaking and/or modifying the current one. Others say that the scoring system is fine where it is.
But what if the NHL was to use an Olympic/KHL point system - three points for a regulation win, two points for a win in overtime or a shootout, normal one point for OT/SO loss and of course, no points for a loss in regulation. If there's one thing this system accomplishes, it's inflating the number of points each year to the point where nearly every team in the league reaches triple digits.
Although it would inflate point values, it may also help the league. Regulation wins where a team proves over the course of 60 minutes that it deserves to win, should be rewarded and 3 PTS would do nicely. For teams that go to overtime or a shootout, it's clear that on that particular night, the teams are evenly matched and it'd be appropriate the difference is only one - like it is now. Obviously, losing in regulation shouldn't be worth anything.
Let's see an example.
Last year, the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference playoff race came down to the final day. Actually, the final shot. If the NHL used an Olympic point system, would that be any different?
GP WR WO LO LR PTS*
1New Jersey 82 40 7 8 27 143
2Pittsburgh 82 33 14 7 28 134
3Philadelphia 82 35 6 6 35 123
4NY Rangers 82 34 4 11 33 121
5NY Islanders 82 20 14 11 37 99
As you can see, the Division standings would look absolutely no different. The Devils still win the Atlantic, the Penguins still finish 2nd and the Flyers still prevail over the Rangers by the smallest of margins. What good is that? Instead, let's take a look at what the updated conference standings would look like.
- *Washington - 164 points
- *New Jersey - 143 points
- *Buffalo - 135 points
- Pittsburgh - 134 points
- Ottawa - 128 points
- Philadelphia - 123 points
- NY Rangers - 121 points
- Boston - 116 points
It's safe to say, that looks a bit different. The division winners all remain the same and the Penguins still meet the Senators, but Montreal would have missed the playoffs, the Rangers would be in and facing the Devils, and Boston would have the honor of playing the spoiling 8th seed.
This is simple to explain however. The Rangers won ten more games in regulation (34-24) than the Canadiens while Montreal led the Eastern Conference in wins needing overtime or a shootout to decide (with 15).
To say the absolute least, this would have significantly impacted the playoffs last year. But would it have been for the better? Is it a good idea to award more points for a regulation win over an overtime/shootout win?