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"Regular guy, likes hockey"
Grand Rapids, MI • United States • 32 Years Old • Male
At the end of every season, I like to crunch the numbers and see what the standings would look like under a number of different overtime and point allocation scenarios.

Of course, any adjustments should be taken with a grain of salt (as changing the points system would likely change the coaching strategy, altering the results). Nonetheless, I think this is a good exercise. It can help us get a clearer picture of how close together (or how far apart) teams really are, and also help us get a sense of which systems might be fairer or less fair than others.

The Master Table

This is fully teased out spreadsheet of results I worked with, breaking down each team's results in every situation (regulation, overtime, and shootout wins and losses). It's from this master table that my adjustments were run.

I also included goal differential information, which can also help us get a better sense of how teams compare with one another. A word on the "adjustments" I made: The NHL standings list GF, GA, and GDIFF with all goals scored, with shootout victories and losses also counting as goals. In my calculations, I factored out shootout wins and losses, as well as empty net goals.

Regarding rank order: First, I'm not bothering to give priority to division winners in the adjusted tables, which is why St. Louis is presented in 3rd place above. When considering what the playoff matchups would be, you can take that into account, but it's not what I'm interested in here.

Second, I'm not bothering to tease out tiebreaker scenarios, since it's unknown what kind of tiebreakers would be preferred or used under different standings computations.

The Olympic System

Under this adjustment, regulation wins are worth 3 points, wins in OT or SO are worth 2, and losses in OT/SO are worth 1.

This adjustment results in no changes to the playoff field, and in fact leaves the bottom 7 teams in the exact same order. The playoff teams do slide around a bit. L.A., Detroit, and possibly Minny improve their position (depending on the result of the Minnesota/SJ tiebreak). San Jose and St. Louis slide down. Vancouver also slides down, but would still capture the 3rd seed by winning the Northwest.

Ties with 5-minute OT

Under this adjustment, games that finish scoreless after 65 minutes end in ties, rather than going to shootouts. Games that are lost before 65 minutes result in a full loss with no charity point.

San Jose gets knocked out of the bracket here, plummeting all the way from 6th to 9th. Otherwise there's some jockeying, but not much substantial change.

Ties with no OT

Just like the olden days, under this system there is no overtime and games that are tied after 60 stand as ties.

The playoff field doesn't change, but we do see some movement from the usual suspects.


Same as ties with no OT, only this time wins are worth 3 points instead of 2.

The Dreaded Regulation Tie

The system that was in use immediately before shootouts were implemented. Games tied after 65 stand as ties, but if a team lost in overtime it still got a point.

This system was widely ridiculed at the time, but honesty I like it better than the current system, since I tend to take the view that shootout records are mostly random. It's still pretty stupid, though.

This is another scheme in which San Jose takes a nosedive out of the playoffs, again replaced by the Jackets.

The Five-Point Game

Perhaps the fairest (although most unwieldy) system. Each game is worth 5 points. Five for a RegW, 4 for an OTW, 3 for a SOW, 2 for a SOL, and 1 for an OTL.
Filed Under:   Standings   Western Conference  
April 29, 2013 5:59 PM ET | Delete
nice write-up. sadly for my Oil they would only get worse :(
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