Wednesday, February 07, 2007

NHL 3 point System

In the past, I’ve complained about the unequal point distribution between NHL games which has come into play with the new OT and shootout point being awarded to the loser. Instead of rehashing that point, I’m going to display a quick little study on a new format that I suggested, that being three points being allocated to winners of NHL games in regulation (and 2 points to winners in overtime or a shootout and 1 point to the loser of the overtime or shootout game). As of today, here are the standings with the current NHL point system.

1. Buffalo * 2776
2. New Jersey * 2872
3. Atlanta * 2667
4. Montreal 2764
5. Pittsburgh 2963
6. Ottawa 2863
7. Tampa Bay 2762
8. Carolina 2661
9. Toronto 2860
10. NY Islanders 2957
11. NY Rangers 2855
12. Boston 3052
13. Washington 2752
14. Florida 2751
15. Philadelphia 3033
1. Nashville * 2777
2. Anaheim * 2874
3. Calgary * 2965
4. Detroit 2874
5. San Jose 2869
6. Dallas 2866
7. Vancouver 2864
8. Minnesota 2762
9. Colorado 2956
10. Edmonton 2856
11. Phoenix 2852
12. St. Louis 2850
13. Chicago 2947
14. Columbus 2847
15. Los Angeles 2644

In the East there is a huge logjam in positions 4 through 9 and the New York teams have to leapfrog a couple of others to gain a playoff spot.

With the NHL system as it is, in the West, Colorado and Edmonton have a huge 6 point deficit to make up on Minnesota and Phoenix is starting to make summer plans.

Basically, the East is jockeying for position with a slight race. To correctly display how difficult it is to make up points in this system, I have followed Toronto, who has won 5 straight. Before their streak began, Toronto sat 2 points out of the playoffs (they were tied with the Rangers for 9th, but the Rangers had a game in hand). They won 5 straight games and now still sit in 9th, trailing by a point. Five straight wins and only 1 point made up in the standings.

Going further back, in their past 10 games the Leafs are 8-2-0-0. Ten games ago (standings as of January 9th), the Leafs were sitting tied with Tampa Bay for 9th in the Conference, one point out of a playoff spot. Leafs win 8 out of their next 10 games and are still sitting in 9th, one point out of a playoff spot (they do have games in hand on the teams in front of them, but I think the point is that it’s hard to make up ground these days, especially when the teams you're trailing also keep winning or getting overtime losses points, I'm looking at you Penguins)

So I compiled a new system, with 3 points being given to a team that wins games in regulation time (with the current NHL overtime and shootout point systems in place) in order to balance the weight of games. With this came a new stat, Point Percentage. This stat is similar to winning percentage in other sports, as it shows how many of the total available points a team has obtained (available points = games played * 3 points). Needless to say this stat can only be created with all games being worth the same amount.

Here’s how it works; if the Leafs win 3 out of 6 games (2 regulation wins, 1 win coming in overtime and losing 3 in regulation) their point percentage under the 3 point system would be as follows.

(2 Regulation wins * 3 points) + (1 overtime win*2 points) = 8 points

Total points (6 games*3points) =18.

Point % =8/18 = 0.444

Now say the Senators win 2 out of 6 games but win both of their games in a shootout and lose 3 of their games in overtime (and lose their last game in regulation time) it would work like this;

(2 wins *2 points)+ (3 OT loss*1 point) = 7 points

Point %= 7/18 = 0.389

Toronto would have won more games, have more points and a better point percentage than Ottawa. Here lies, what I feel, is the flaw in the current NHL system.

In the current NHL system with (both teams performing the same as stated above), the Leafs would have obtained 6 points in those 6 games (3 wins) and the Senators would have obtained 7 points (2 wins and 3 overtime losses).

What is the goal, to win a game or to lose as late as possible? Under the current system, losing as late as possible is the way to go.

Here are the current NHL standings with the 3 point system in place.

1. Buffalo * 271000.606
2. New Jersey * 28960.593
3. Atlanta * 26860.512
4. Ottawa28900.556
5. Montreal27870.527
6. Carolina26850.506
7. Pittsburgh29840.528
8. Toronto28830.512
9. Tampa Bay27820.497
10. NY Islanders 29770.484
11. NY Rangers 28730.451
12. Florida27710.430
13. Washington 27700.424
14. Boston30660.423
15. Philadelphia 30450.288

1. Nashville * 271080.655
2. Anaheim * 281030.636
3. Calgary * 29930.585
4. Detroit 281050.648
5. San Jose 281020.630
6. Dallas 28900.556
7. Vancouver 28840.519
8. Edmonton 28800.494
9. Colorado 29770.484
10. Minnesota 27770.467
11. Phoenix 28710.438
12. St. Louis 28650.401
13. Columbus 28640.395
14. Chicago 29620.390
15. Los Angeles 26590.351

The biggest leaps from the current system to the new one come from Carolina and Edmonton. Colorado (with a game in hand) could conceivably tie Edmonton for 8th if they won their next game in regulation.

I hope this goes to show how flawed I feel that the current system is by rewarding overtime and shootout performance more than wins.


rogersroyals said...

If the current system of points is so great as the NHL claims then why don't they use it in the playoffs??!! Imagine this:
The Wild lose the first three games to the Ducks all in OT and now trail 6-3 in the points system. They rally and win games 4,5 and 6 in regulation and now lead the Ducks 9-6 with one game left in a best of seven series. The Ducks win game 7 10-0 but lose the series 9 points to 8, even though they won 4 of 7 games. Wild moves on to Round 2. Serves the Ducks right as they only had the third best winning percentage in their division and were still crowned division champs. Maybe this is why we are seeing 6 or 7 seeds going to the Stanley Cup Finals?!

Anonymous said...

Best Solution:

Regulation or OT Win = 2 points

Shootout Win = 1 point

Loss = 0 points

Overtime should be 5 on 5 for at least 10 minutes, preferably 20 minutes.

Anonymous said...

wow... you did all that analysis for a hypothetical playoff series based on the 3 point system?

um... slight problem... maybe you should think about that for a minute