One area that is often a hot discussion is the NHL points system, specifically the awarding of a "loser" point for losing a game in overtime or shootout. Only in the NHL can you get rewarded for losing and too often a team with less wins than another will have more points. Teams should be playing to win but often they play not lose, get at least one point and then hope luck goes their way for the extra point (particularly in games settled by shootout). Many suggestions get thrown about with the most common one being the 3-2-1 system (3 points for regulation win, 2 points for OT/SO win and 1 point for OT/SO loss). However my problem with this is you still reward the loser and you'll probably still see too many games go to shootout rather than get settled in regulation or OT (in addition to the loser points, the shootout is another issue that makes a lot of fans cringe).
I want the loser to stop being rewarded and I want to see less shootouts - I'm not a huge fan but I do like a winner in every game as opposed to the dreaded tie. So the points system I would propose is 2 points for regulation or OT win and only 1 point for a shootout win. Loser would never get any points. The 2 points for regulation or OT win with no points for loser would be just like it always was until they changed the OT format (1999-2000 season) so it wouldn't be that radical to go back to that. The Shootout winner point replaces the tie while recognizing the shootout win should not equal a regulation or OT win since it's not earned while playing the game in its true format (and is merely a skills competition based mostly on luck). Since the NHL already recognizes that shootout wins aren't equal by virtue of discounting shootout wins when determining tie-breakers, this idea also wouldn't be that radical of a change.
Now I applied my proposed format to the final standings of this past season and here are the results:
(or try: https://p.twimg.com/ArLy5pECQAEzb81.jpg
Yellow highlights represents seed changes for playoff teams while orange is for non-playoff teams. The last 3 columns are the ones you’re mainly looking at. The first column shows how team was actually ranked and 2nd column shows how they would be ranked under the proposed system
As you can see the major differences in the East are that Florida would be out of the playoffs, Tampa Bay in and Washington in the 3rd seed. Other seeding changes would be to the non-playoff teams.
In the West, LA would be out and Dallas in 7th, while ST. Louis and Vancouver exchange the 1 and 2 seeds and San Jose would be 8th. Non-playoff team seeds are also impacted but not significantly.
Now obviously there are things this doesn't take into consideration....for example a team may change the way they play a 3rd period if operating under the proposed points system...rather than hang back and play for the guaranteed point, some teams may choose to go for it in regulation and who knows what the outcome of such games would be and how they would have impacted the overall standings. When I look at this though, I do wonder how different the activity at trade deadline would have been...for example, Tampa may have been a buyer rather than a seller....any change in trade deadline activity could also have had a material impact on how the final standings would have looked.
One thing I do see though that should make the NHL comfortable - it appears we would still have parity. Many skeptics feel that the NHL is ok with the loser points being dished out because of the perception of parity it creates and the playoff races we see until the very end of the season. Well, when teams pick up points (and make the playoffs) because of how they lose, that's not parity!! The points system I propose implies that we'd still have tight playoff races and I suggest that it would actually be a truer picture of parity because the points are being awarded to winners only! The NHL gets what they want in terms of parity and the fans should be happier as losers stop being rewarded. We should also expect to see less shootouts as teams needing the full 2 points will go for it in regulation or OT rather than having to take the chance in a shootout and end up with only 1 point....or none!
That's my 2 cents...what do you think?