Musings

The Real NHL Standings

Most of you know that we basically abhor how the NHL standings work. We’ve never recognized shootouts from our very first incarnation at SCH, and when they went to 3-on-3 OT, we started disregarding those results as well. Because it’s basically just an extended shootout gimmick.

We all know why the NHL keeps the loser point and the sometimes two-, sometimes three-point system. It artificially bunches up teams in the standings so just about everyone (save the Kings) can claim to be “in it.” It also gives everyone what appears to be, at first glance, a record over .500 or close to it, which probably helps a little with ticket sales and interest in those markets.

But as we know, it makes it doubly hard to make up ground when you’re behind, and teams in the playoff spots around Thanksgiving (next week) tend to stay there through April. I believe the last number I saw was 75% of teams in those spots as of next week will make the playoffs. There isn’t a lot of drama, though that won’t stop the NHL from telling you there is.

So every so often, I want to post what the NHL standings would look like if the NHL had a straight Win-Loss-Tie after regulation system, and what it would look like if it had a 3-2-1-0 system–that is three points for a regulation win, two for an overtime or shootout win, one for an overtime or shootout loss, and zero for a regulation loss. Basically I just want to toss overtime and see who’s doing the best work in the 60 minutes.

Let’s get in up to the elbow. Here’s the standings if all overtimes are relegated to just ties, and regulation wins are the only wins. I’ve left the standings as they are to the right, so you can see any differences:

Atlantic Division GP REG WINS L T R PTS W L OL PTS
Tampa Bay Lightning 18 11 5 2 24 12 5 1 25
Toronto Maple Leafs 18 10 6 2 22 12 6 0 24
Boston Bruins 18 9 6 3 21 10 6 2 22
Buffalo Sabres 18 9 6 3 21 10 6 2 22
Montreal Canadiens 18 9 6 3 21 9 6 3 21
Detroit Red Wings 18 6 8 4 16 8 8 2 18
Florida Panthers 15 6 5 4 16 7 5 3 17
Ottawa Senators 18 6 8 4 16 7 8 3 17
Metropolitan Division GP REG WINS L T R PTS W L OL PTS
Columbus Blue Jackets 18 8 6 4 20 10 6 2 22
New York Islanders 17 8 6 3 19 9 6 2 20
New York Rangers 18 8 7 3 19 9 7 2 20
Philadelphia Flyers 18 8 8 2 18 9 8 1 19
Washington Capitals 18 7 7 4 18 8 7 3 19
Carolina Hurricanes 18 6 7 5 17 8 7 3 19
Pittsburgh Penguins 16 5 6 5 15 7 6 3 17
New Jersey Devils 16 7 8 1 15 7 8 1 15
Central Division GP REG WINS L T R PTS W L OL PTS
Nashville Predators 18 11 4 3 25 13 4 1 27
Minnesota Wild 18 9 5 4 22 11 5 2 24
Winnipeg Jets 17 10 5 2 22 11 5 1 23
Colorado Avalanche 18 9 6 3 21 9 6 3 21
Dallas Stars 18 8 7 3 19 9 7 2 20
Chicago Blackhawks 19 4 8 7 15 7 8 4 18
St. Louis Blues 16 6 7 3 15 6 7 3 15
Pacific Division GP REG WINS L T R PTS W L OL PTS
San Jose Sharks 19 7 6 6 20 10 6 3 23
Vancouver Canucks 20 7 8 5 19 10 8 2 22
Calgary Flames 18 8 7 3 19 10 7 1 21
Anaheim Ducks 20 7 9 4 18 8 9 3 19
Edmonton Oilers 18 6 8 4 16 9 8 1 19
Arizona Coyotes 17 7 8 2 16 8 8 1 17
Vegas Golden Knights 19 7 10 2 16 8 10 1 17
Los Angeles Kings 17 5 11 1 11 5 11 1 11

What we can conclude from this is…man, the Kings really, really suck.

So as you can see, the standings don’t really change at all. Some of the gaps open up a little more, but Tampa, Toronto, Nashville basically remain the class of the league.

As for the Hawks, they’d be seven points out of an automatic playoff spot, and four out of a wild card spot, instead of the current five and two.

Elsewhere, the Pacific Division would look even more pathetic, as it would only have two teams above .500. The Atlantic would still be brutal.

Now let’s check it out under the 3-2-1-0 points system:

Atlantic Division GP REG WINS OTW OL L R PTS W L PTS
Tampa Bay Lightning 18 11 1 1 5 36 12 5 25
Toronto Maple Leafs 18 10 2 0 6 34 12 6 24
Boston Bruins 18 9 1 2 6 31 10 6 22
Buffalo Sabres 18 9 1 2 6 31 10 6 22
Montreal Canadiens 18 9 0 3 6 30 9 6 21
Detroit Red Wings 18 6 2 2 8 24 8 8 18
Florida Panthers 15 6 1 3 5 23 7 5 17
Ottawa Senators 18 6 1 3 8 23 7 8 17
Metropolitan Division GP REG WINS OTW OL L R PTS W L PTS
Columbus Blue Jackets 18 8 2 2 6 30 10 6 22
New York Islanders 17 8 1 2 6 28 9 6 20
New York Rangers 18 8 1 2 7 28 9 7 20
Philadelphia Flyers 18 8 1 1 8 27 9 8 19
Washington Capitals 18 7 1 3 7 26 8 7 19
Carolina Hurricanes 18 6 2 3 7 25 8 7 19
Pittsburgh Penguins 16 5 2 3 6 22 7 6 17
New Jersey Devils 16 7 0 1 8 22 7 8 15
Central Division GP REG WINS OTW OL L R PTS W L PTS
Nashville Predators 18 11 2 1 4 38 13 4 27
Minnesota Wild 18 9 2 2 5 33 11 5 24
Winnipeg Jets 17 10 1 1 5 33 11 5 23
Colorado Avalanche 18 9 0 3 6 30 9 6 21
Dallas Stars 18 8 1 2 7 28 9 7 20
Chicago Blackhawks 19 4 3 4 8 22 7 8 18
St. Louis Blues 16 6 0 3 7 21 6 7 15
Pacific Division GP REG WINS OTW OL L R PTS W L PTS
San Jose Sharks 19 7 3 3 6 30 10 6 23
Vancouver Canucks 20 7 3 2 8 29 10 8 22
Calgary Flames 18 8 2 1 7 29 10 7 21
Anaheim Ducks 20 7 1 3 9 26 8 9 19
Edmonton Oilers 18 6 3 1 8 25 9 8 19
Arizona Coyotes 17 7 1 1 8 24 8 8 17
Vegas Golden Knights 19 7 1 1 10 24 8 10 17
Los Angeles Kings 17 5 0 1 11 16 5 11 11

Again, the standings don’t really change much, just the gaps do. The Preds, Lightning, and Leafs remain the aristocracy…and the Kings still overwhelmingly blow (can you tell I’m enjoying writing that?).

Locally, the Hawks would be 11 points out of a automatic playoff spot, and though that gap is large it would be make up-able. They would be six points out of a wild card spot, or two regulation wins, which is one more win than they currently are now.

We’ll revisit this somewhere around the halfway mark when teams have gone to OT more and games tighten up from the Chinese fire drill they’ve been so far.

 

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