Why the NHL should change its scoring system

Dan Roche
·3 min read

Why the NHL should change its scoring system originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Flyers are off to a red-hot start: 7-2-1 in their first ten games, and leading the East Division in this truncated 56-game NHL season with 15 points in the standings.

They are only ahead by tiebreaker at this point. The Capitals also have 15 points in the standings, but they only have six wins.

I think it’s ridiculous that hockey teams should get any credit for losing any regular season games, even in overtime, or a shootout. Teams don’t get any credit in the postseason if they get to OT before losing.

When I’m NHL commissioner (any day now), I would revamp the standings scoring system:

• Regulation wins are 3 points in the standings.

• Overtime wins count for 2 points.

• Shootout wins are 1 point.

• You get nothing for losing.

If your team is better than the other team over the 60 minutes, most of the time the score line will bear that out. As such, your team should get more points than if you needed overtime. 

Consider this: under the current format, a team could actually score ZERO goals in a season, and finish with as many points in the standings as games played. If you get to overtime, or a shootout, and still get shutout, you get a point in the standings. Sound fair?

With this season format, many say every game is like a playoff game. Think about how tight the standings will likely be heading into the final weeks of the regular season. Every game is against a division opponent, so every game is vital. Now consider if you could get three points for a regulation win, and your division rival gets none.

Not only will every game feel like a playoff game, but every game will feel like a Game 7.

Heading into Thursday night’s action, here is what the East Division looks like:

1. Flyers: 7-2-1, 15 points

2. Capitals: 6-1-3, 15 points

3. Bruins: 6-1-2, 14 points

4. Penguins: 5-4-1, 11 points

5. Devils: 4-3-2, 10 points

6. Sabres: 4-4-2, 10 points

7. Rangers: 3-4-2, 8 points

8. Islanders: 3-4-2, 8 points

Using my proposed points system, here is what the East would look like:

1. Flyers: 5-2-0-3, 19 points (5 reg. wins, 2 OT wins, 0 SO wins, 3 losses)

2. Capitals: 4-1-1-4, 15 pts

3. Bruins: 3-1-2-3, 13 pts

4. Devils: 3-1-0-5, 11 pts

5. Islanders: 3-0-0-6, 9 pts

6. Rangers: 2-1-0-6, 8 pts

7. Sabres: 2-0-2-6, 8 pts

8. Penguins: 1-2-2-5, 8 pts

Using the “new math,” the Flyers would have a 4-point lead in the division over Washington. The Penguins, who are currently in a playoff spot, would be dead last, because only one of their five wins is in regulation.

It makes saying teams’ records out loud unwieldy, I know. But this scoring format recognizes and rewards teams that are truly better, and not those who are hanging on for dear life throughout games, to try to win in a shootout.

Subscribe to and rate Flyers Talk

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube