The NHL is worrying about the impact of shootouts on the standings. The league has talked seriously about extending overtime and even moving to 3-on-3 OT, but the NHL doesn't want ties, so the shootout is never fully going away.
One way to minimize the impact of the shootout on the NHL's standings is to change the way that points are allotted. The first thing that has to be done is to eliminate the illogical oddity that is some games accounting for two points, and some for three. The easiest way to do this is to have a win count for three points, a shootout win for two, and a shootout loss for one.
This means teams no longer get a point for an overtime loss either, which should push teams to go harder after the three-point win during overtime instead of sitting back and defending.
So what would the standings look like if the points were awarded in this way? Let's check it out:
|Atlantic Division||GP||Wins||SO Wins||SO Losses||Losses||Points|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||21||11||3||0||7||39|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||21||11||2||1||7||38|
|Detroit Red Wings||22||9||0||4||9||31|
The only real change in the standings here is that Montreal hops over Detroit, and the teams outside of a playoff spot all get worse.
|Metropolitan Division||GP||Wins||SO Wins||SO Losses||Losses||Points|
|New York Rangers||21||10||0||0||11||30|
|New Jersey Devils||21||8||0||4||9||24|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||22||7||1||1||13||24|
|New York Islanders||22||5||3||2||12||23|
Philadelphia rockets up the standings from last to fifth, and New Jersey tumbles from a secure playoff spot to six points out, and two points out of the wild card spot. Mostly though, the Metropolitan division is as bad as it's name.
|Central Division||GP||Wins||SO Wins||SO Losses||Losses||Points|
|St. Louis Blues||20||12||2||1||5||42|
Chicago tumbles from first in the division to the wild card section, and Colorado is back where it's been for most of the season. Doing all its damage in regulation has paid off big time in this scenario.
|Pacific Division||GP||Wins||SO Wins||SO Losses||Losses||Points|
|San Jose Sharks||21||12||1||4||4||42|
|Los Angeles Kings||22||11||4||1||6||42|
The Pacific is almost exactly what a lot of folks predicted it would look like coming into the season, with the three Californian teams on top, a buffer of Phoenix, and the three Western Canadian teams on the bottom. Vancouver's struggles are probably the most surprising thing here.
Does this point system show which teams have been truly better this season? We don't really know at this point. Surely if this were the way the standings were calculated, certain teams would play differently with the game on the line, but it's interesting to look at things from this perspective nonetheless.