If Regulation Wins Were 3 Points …

You asked for it, you got it.

Many around the league have expressed interest in a different points system, one which awards three points for regulation wins, two points for an overtime/shootout win, one point for an overtime shootout loss, and zero points for a regulation loss. This way, all games have three points available, not just games that go beyond regulation.

What would the standings look like now if this was the system in place? Would it cost someone a playoff spot?

It certainly wouldn’t change the Presidents’ Trophy recipient. The Washington Capitals are the league’s best team by miles both under the current system and the new one. Their current record of 44-11-4 is 17 points better than the next best team in the Eastern Conference. Of those 44 wins, they have 37 regulation wins. The Capitals have seven more regulation wins than the second place team, the Dallas Stars.

So what is the Capitals’ record with three-point regulation wins? Their record is 37(7)-11-4. The seven in parenthesis represents wins after regulation. The Capitals have 129 points under the new system.

Now what about the bottom of the standings? Both Edmonton and Toronto come into Thursday with 50 points.

Edmonton is 22-33-6 under the current system, and 12(10)-33-6 under the new system. Edmonton would have 62 points under the three-point regulation system.

Toronto is 20-28-10 under the current system, and 14(6)-28-10 under the new system. Toronto would have 64 points under the new system. They have also played three fewer games than the Oilers.

At least from this example, the new system would separate teams identical in points under the current system. Clearly the new system has Edmonton as the worst team based on winning just 12 regulation games this season.

Let’s now see how the three-point regulation system looks league wide. This data includes games completed up to Feb. 24. Special thanks to Sporting Charts for the data.

The New System

Alex Ovechkin, NHL All-Star, NHL, Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin’s Capitals lead the way, no matter how you score it. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Metropolitan Division

Washington 44-11-4 (92 points) — 37(7)-11-4 (129 points)

NY Rangers 34-20-6 (74 points) — 27(7)-20-6 (101 points)

NY Islanders 32-19-7 (71 points) — 26(6)-19-7 (97 points)

Pittsburgh 30-21-8 (68 points) — 24(6)-21-8 (92 points)

New Jersey 30-24-7 (67 points) — 21(9)-24-7 (88 points)

Carolina 28-23-10 (66 points) — 21(7)-23-10 (87 points)

Philadelphia 26-22-11 (63 points) — 15(11)-22-11 (78 points)

Columbus 24-29-8 (56 points) — 19(5)-29-8 (75 points)

The standings in the Metro stay exactly the same between the two points systems.

Jaromir Jagr, NHL, Florida Panthers, Milestones
Jaromir Jagr has helped the Panthers to the top of the Atlantic. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Atlantic Division

Florida 34-18-7 (75 points) — 27(7)-18-7 (102 points)

Tampa Bay 34-22-4 (72 points) — 25(9)-22-4 (97 points)

Boston 33-22-6 (72 points) — 26(7)-22-6 (98 points)

Detroit 30-20-11 (71 points) — 21(9)-20-11 (92 points)

Ottawa 29-26-6 (64 points) — 18(11)-26-6 (82 points)

Montreal 29-27-5 (63 points) — 23(6)-27-5 (86 points)

Buffalo 24-30-7 (55 points) — 21(3)-30-7 (76 points)

Toronto 20-28-10 (50 points) — 14(6)-28-10 (64 points)

In the Atlantic, Boston overtakes Tampa Bay and Montreal overtakes Ottawa under the new system. Appears this system will better separate teams in the standings, especially those tied under the current system. That said, playoff positioning and potential home-ice advantage could switch teams. In Boston’s case, to go from third to second, would give them home ice on Tampa Bay in a playoff series.

The other takeaway from this is just how close the wild-card race is. Detroit and Pittsburgh are your wildcards now and in the new system. But look at the teams chasing them. New Jersey has 88, Carolina has 87, Montreal has 86. One game could alter the standings in a way the old system can’t do. This makes for even more compelling hockey.

Western Conference

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are the current kings of the Central. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Central Division

Dallas 38-17-6 (82 points) — 30(8)-17-6 (112 points)

Chicago 38-19-5 (81 points) — 28(10)-19-5 (109 points)

St. Louis 35-18-9 (79 points) — 26(9)-18-9 (105 points)

Nashville 29-21-11 (69 points) — 25(4)-21-11 (94 points)

Colorado 32-27-4 (68 points) — 27(5)-27-4 (95 points)

Minnesota 27-23-10 (64 points) — 26(1)-23-10 (90 points)

Winnipeg 25-30-4 (59 points) — 21(4)-30-4 (75 points)

The Central is the same in the top three spots. Colorado and Nashville switch spots. The impact here is that because the Avalanche and Predators are the current wild-card teams, the switch in the standings means going to the other division (the Pacific) to start the playoffs. This might seem like a small change, but it’s a major one.

After a very slow start, Ryan Getzlaf has helped lead the Ducks back to where we all thought they’d be. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Pacific Division

Los Angeles 35-20-4 (74 points) — 24(11)-20-4 (98 points)

Anaheim 32-19-8 (72 points) — 29(3)-19-8 (101 points)

San Jose 32-21-6 (70 points) — 25(7)-21-6 (95 points)

Arizona 27-27-6 (60 points) — 21(6)-27-6 (81 points)

Vancouver 23-24-12 (58 points) — 16(7)-24-12 (74 points)

Calgary 26-30-3 (55 points) — 16(10)-30-3 (71 points)

Edmonton 22-33-6 (50 points) – 12(10)-33-6 (62 points)

Here, Anaheim would lead the Pacific, thanks to their great recent run, and winning most of their games in regulation. The rest of the standings stay as they are.

Final Takeaways

What did we learn from this? First, the three-point system will impact the playoffs, both who makes it, and where someone gets seeded. It can ultimately decide who gets home-ice advantage as well.

Second, the playoff races will have a lot of drama, as close teams will battle for the chance to take home three points in a game. You’d see teams going for it in regulation more knowing what is on the line. It makes for more compelling hockey, without eliminating close playoff races.

Third, this system will separate close teams in the current standings. Whether it is Anaheim/Los Angeles at the top, or Edmonton/Toronto at the bottom, we get a clearer idea of who is better than the other.

Hopefully it is just a matter of time before we see this system in place. The games have more on the line, and the playoff races are more compelling. Let’s hope the NHL gets this one right for the sake of everyone.