We've got plenty of time on our hands as the NHL season remains in limbo amid the COVID-19 outbreak, so why don't we use this team to brainstorm some ideas on how to "fix" the league? We love hockey and (sometimes) the NHL but we can probably all agree that it's not perfect.
What changes can we make to make things a little better? I've got some ideas.
3-2-1 points system
The Problem: Under the NHL's current point system, teams get two points in the standings for a win of any kind, while an overtime loss earns a team one point and a regulation loss results in zero. This format aims for parity and, for the most part, it has seemingly done its job. With about a dozen regular season games remaining, only one team in the league has been mathematically eliminated and there are a handful of teams in each conference vying for the final two Wild Card spots. The league was poised for some really interesting races down the home stretch.
But that being said, not all parity is good parity, and the current system just doesn't properly reward teams in a way that makes sense. Why should an overtime loss count as half a regulation win? Simply keeping a game close is worth that much in the standings? Call me crazy, but a team that loses 10 straight games in overtime shouldn't get the same amount of credit as a team that goes 5-5-0 over a 10-game stretch. There's just not enough room to separate good teams that win in regulation consistently.
The Solution: It's an easy one: A 3-2-1 points system. Teams that win in regulation should earn three points, while an overtime win earns two, an overtime loss earns one and a regulation loss earns zero.
With this system, teams are actually incentivized to try and win in regulation. Currently, there's no real downside to letting a game go to OT -- teams are willing to pack it in and play conservative at the end of regulation in a tie game because they'll both be guaranteed a point if it gets to the extra frame, and they won't be docked at all if they come out on the winning side. With the threat of losing a point, you'd see teams play more aggressive towards the end of regulation and that would open up the possibility of more exciting finishes to games around the league.