How would the NHL standings look under different points systems?

David Amber, Nick Kypreos and Chris Johnston talk about everything from day three of the NHL GM meetings, including the possibility of the cap going up by 2.5-3 million next season.

The NHL general managers’ meetings concluded this week in Boca Raton, Fla. While no major rule changes were recommended, the points system was mulled over, which is promising news for fans unhappy with the status quo.

The current system allows for greater parity in the league—for tighter races down the stretch—but it has faced criticism for valuing regulation wins and overtime/shootout wins equally, and for rewarding teams that fall in overtime with a so-called “loser point.”

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello was emphatic about his distaste for the loser point in particular.

“I’m not in favour of getting a point if you don’t win,” Lamoriello said. “I’d rather see the game just be two [for a win] and zero [for a loss], or end up in a tie one and one.”

If Lamoriello had his way, the NHL would revert back to the old system, which means no more overtime. Another proposed alternative to the current format is the so-called “3-2-1.” In that system, teams would earn three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime win, and one point for an overtime loss.

How would these changes affect the race for the Stanley Cup? Take a look at the tables below to see how the current NHL standings (as of today) would be affected. Select the points system of your choice—the current system, the “3-2-1,” or Lamoriello’s “No OT” option”—to see how the rankings would change. (To generate point totals in a league without overtime, we assumed all games that went to overtime would have ended in a tie.)

Eastern Conference

  Now 3–2–1 No OT
Washington Capitals 95 131 87
Pittsburgh Penguins 90 123 82
Columbus Blue Jackets 90 122 80
New York Rangers 88 123 80
Montréal Canadiens 84 111 73
Ottawa Senators 80 110 73
Boston Bruins 76 105 70
New York Islanders 73 100 69
Toronto Maple Leafs 72 95 66
Philadelphia Flyers 70 89 58
Florida Panthers 69 87 58
Tampa Bay Lightning 69 92 62
Buffalo Sabres 66 86 59
Carolina Hurricanes 62 82 56
New Jersey Devils 62 79 54
Detroit Red Wings 61 75 50

How do the rankings differ using these points-system alternatives? In some cases, the changes are subtle. While the Atlantic Division standings remain unchanged across all three systems, the “3-2-1” points system would see the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets swap places in the Metropolitan Division. That means Columbus would be the wild-card team and New York would take the third spot, by that system, if the season ended today.

Over in the West, both alternative points systems would see the Anaheim Ducks ahead of the Edmonton Oilers. The reason is simple: the Ducks have more regulation wins.

Both proposed systems would have the biggest impact on the wild-card races.

The Leafs, currently one point back of the second wild-card spot, would sit three points back in Lamoriello’s system, and five points back in the “3-2-1” system.

The team currently in the playoff picture that would suffer the most from the “3-2-1” system is the Florida Panthers, who sit four points back of the second wild-card as of today but would sit 13 points back under those proposed changes.

Western Conference

  Now 3–2–1 No OT
Minnesota Wild 90 125 83
Chicago Blackhawks 89 120 78
San Jose Sharks 85 117 78
Edmonton Oilers 78 104 69
Anaheim Ducks 78 107 73
Calgary Flames 76 101 65
Nashville Predators 74 102 70
St. Louis Blues 71 97 64
Los Angeles Kings 68 87 56
Winnipeg Jets 66 91 61
Vancouver Canucks 64 82 54
Dallas Stars 64 88 61
Arizona Coyotes 53 67 44
Colorado Avalanche 39 51 33


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