NHL 11-12 Standings Using a 3-Point System

For the past few of years I have made a post showing what the NHL standings for that season would have looked like using a true 3-point system.  For those of you who don’t know this system involves every game awarding 3 points, rather than just games that go to overtime.  This means that wins are worth 3 points, overtime/shootout wins are worth 2 and overtime/shootout losses are worth 1.  I personally think that awarding 3 games in some games rather than others is completely ridiculous and goes against the integrity and fairness of the sport.  The 3-point system is an easy and obvious alternative.

I’ve gone into more detail about why the 3-point system is an obvious choice for the NHL so I won’t get into all of the reasons again.  Instead you can click here to read that post.

Basically the just of it is that the NHL is rewarding teams for going to overtime.  This creates teams playing for a tie in regulation and sitting back with 5 minutes left to go in order to guarantee a point, especially against out of Conference teams.  This ends up resulting in lower scoring games because just looking at simple math a team that plays in lower scoring games will end up with more regulation ties than a team who plays a higher scoring style (if a team averages 2 goals for and 2 against a game they will be in more ties than a team that averages 3 goals for and against).  Basically the current system goes against everything that the GM’s say they want in the game (more scoring and competitiveness) just because they want the standings to “appear” to be tighter so that fans get the impression their team is better than they are.  A GM or coach can say their team is a .500 club when they are 20-20-15, when in reality they are a horrible team at that record.  The NHL seriously needs to look at this and keep the competitiveness and fairness in the game so that the best teams make the playoffs.

Luckily this year the 3-point system wouldn’t have had too much of an affect on which teams made the playoffs, but the seedings would have been slightly different and a different team would have won the president’s trophy.  Let’s take a look.

Eastern Conference

Regular Standings vs 3-point System Standings

Eastern Conference Standings 11-12

Regulation Wins OT/SO Wins OT/SO Losses Losses Total Points
1 NY Rangers 39 12 7 24 148
2 Boston 38 11 4 29 140
3 Florida 31 7 18 26 125
4 Pittsburgh 40 11 6 25 148
5 Philadelphia 37 10 9 26 140
6 New Jersey 32 16 6 28 134
7 Washington 31 11 8 32 123
8 Ottawa 30 11 10 31 122
9 Buffalo 27 12 11 32 116
10 Winnipeg 27 10 10 35 111
11 Carolina 29 4 16 33 111
12 Tampa Bay 25 13 8 36 109
13 Toronto 26 9 10 37 106
14 NY Islanders 24 10 11 37 103
15 Montreal 24 7 16 35 102

As you can see the only change in the Eastern Conference would have been the Tamp Bay Lightning dropping 2 places to 12th in the East, which would have bumped the Jets and Hurricanes each up one spot.  This is primarily because of the number of Lightning overtime/shootout wins in the regular season.  The Playoff match-ups would have remained the same in the East which is quite rare.

Western Conference

Regular Standings vs 3-point System Standings

NHL Western Conference Standings 11-12

Regulation Wins OT/SO Wins OT/SO Losses Losses Total Points
1 St Louis 42 7 11 22 151
2 Vancouver 36 15 9 22 147
3 Phoenix 35 9 13 27 136
4 Nashville 40 8 8 26 144
5 Detroit 36 12 6 28 138
6 Chicago 34 11 11 26 135
7 San Jose 31 12 10 29 127
8 Los Angeles 31 9 15 27 126
9 Calgary 32 5 16 29 122
10 Dallas 31 11 5 35 120
11 Colorado 25 16 6 35 113
12 Anaheim 29 5 12 36 109
13 Minnesota 22 13 11 36 103
14 Edmonton 25 7 10 40 99
15 Columbus 23 6 7 46 88

In the Western Conference there was one change in the playoff positionings and it would have turned out to be quite a significant change because the St Louis Blues would have moved to first place in the Western Conference and in the league, which would have won the Blues the President’s Trophy and a different first round matchup. Who knows if the Blues would have been able to handle the Kings or if the Canucks would have had an easier time with the Sharks.

The only other change was Anaheim moving ahead of Minnesota by a significant margin due to the vast number of overtime/shootout wins by the Wild.

This year the changes in the standings weren’t drastic, but other years they have determined whether a team makes or misses the playoffs.  The NHL really needs to take a look at this 3-point system and give it serious consideration.

Written by: Niko de Jonge

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