I have an idea that might make the points system in the NHL much fairer.
Clearly one of the annoying things about the current way of awarding points in the NHL for team standings is the 3-point games. It is impossible to predict what it will take to get into the playoffs; that depends on the number of regulation ties. So how about this as a solution?
5 points are awarded for every game. No matter what. In a zero-sum distribution.
If a team wins in regulation, it gets all 5 points.
If a team wins in OT, it gets 4 points, the losing team 1 point.
If a team wins in a shootout, it gets 3 points, the other team 2.
This eliminates a team's "gentleman's agreement" to play the last 5 minutes of a game between the blue lines to ensure that each will get at least a point. It will make teams, even if they are good at shootouts, try as hard as they can to win in OT to get the extra point.
People will say that it will be difficult to get used to the new number of points. But since 3-point games cheapen the difficulty of reaching the 100 point plateau, we have already pretty much had to get used to a new yardstick.
I am linking last year's standings, reshuffled to reflect this scoring system. In the East the same 8 teams are in, but as you can see the Rangers are 7th and Buffalo 8th. And the Caps, who had fewer regulation wins, fall to third behind the Flyers and Bruins (which probably more accurately reflects where they belonged). And in the West LA falls from 7th place to out of the playoffs, and Dallas is in, and Phoenix and Nashville swap places. What do you think?
Michael Cohen This is the point spreadsheet