How the Standings Would Look With the 3-Point System
There have been recent musings in the Twitter-verse suggesting the possibility of the NHL implementing the 3-point system in the near future. The system, which would grant three points for a regulation win and two points for an overtime win, has slowly been gaining traction over the last couple years. The issue many hope to solve is the abundance of 3-point games and teams who desire merely to make it to overtime rather than strive for that winning goal in the dying minutes. Doling out three points for a regulation victory was a suggestion among many others, though lately the league has been warming up to the European system and all but ignoring the other ideas. The system would almost surely see teams working extra hard to end that tie and avoid overtime. The entire dynamic of the third period changes, as teams would sacrifice their defensive traps and focus more diligently on the three points looming ahead of them. Adjusting a point system is a major change for a league to undergo, but one that seams to make a glaring amount of sense from a lot of angles.
As an example, here’s how the standings would shift were the system to be introduced this year. The two columns on the left are the standings using the current system. Eastern conference is on top, and Western on the bottom:
In both conferences the team in first place is usurped. The Blackhawks move to second place because of a goals-scored tiebreaker with San Jose. Boston suffers from the biggest plummet in the league, going from first to fourth, losing out on a top three spot due to another tiebreaker between division opponent Montreal. The Canadiens grab first place in the division and look to seize control of the coveted position. Suddenly the Jets drop a spot and the Sabres look poised to jump up to seventh with a regulation win. The Maple Leafs maintain eighth place and could attempt a steal of sixth, a possibility otherwise unachievable in the 2-point system. Back in the West, The Canucks find themselves in a three-way tie for first in the Northwest division, with the Wild and Avalanche gaining a significant amount of points for their regulation wins. Edmonton matches Boston’s fall of three spots in the standings, but are much worse for wear since they now sit on the outside of the top eight looking in.
The closer you look, the more exciting a 3-point system seems, as the larger reward allows for larger swings in the standings and makes the race more exciting. No longer will teams feel safe and content with their overtime/shootout losses. Teams will do everything in their power to avoid overtime altogether. Positions won’t be secured by the all-star break, because a string of regulation victories from a bottom feeding team would change things quickly. Four straight victories becomes 12 huge points, and could mean the difference between tenth and sixth place. Teams like New Jersey and Nashville suffer because they play themselves into overtimes quite often.
There may be arguments against this system, but if there are any solid enough to abolish it altogether, then I’ve yet to hear it. It seems clear to me and many other journalists the implementation of the 3-point system is inevitable in the foreseeable future. Maybe not for another few seasons, but it will be worth the wait when it finally arrives. The game will benefit from an increase in speed, action and goals scored. That’s something the NHL can’t deny its’ fans desire.
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