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The Loser Point Part 2: “Losing” Myself in 2013-14

In my last post I discussed my problem with the NHL Awarding a loser point for Overtime and Shootout Losses. Admittedly, my last post had a lot more to do with my feelings and perspective on how games played out. I decided to break down the end of the years stats and see how different situations would have played out minus the extra points awarded to each team. For a point of reference, here are last years final standings:

League Standings
Made Playoffs Didn’t Make Playoffs
Team Points Team Points
Boston 117 Washington 90
Anaheim 116 Phoenix 89
Colorado 112 Nashville 88
St. Louis 111 New Jersey 88
San Jose 111 Ottawa 88
Pittsburgh 109 Winnipeg 84
Chicago 107 Toronto 84
Tampa Bay 101 Carolina 83
Montreal 100 Vancouver 83
Los Angeles 100 NYI 79
Minnesota 98 Calgary 77
NYR 96 Edmonton 67
Philadelphia 94 Florida 66
Columbus 93 Buffalo 52
Detroit 93
Dallas 91

My biggest concern is with awarding teams for losing. So my adjustment was simple. I kept the NHL scoring the same in respect to wins; 2 points a win. I also maintained all of the leagues tie-break rules: ROW (greater number of games won), greater amount of points during the seasons series, goal differential. The following are the altered standings along with tie-breaking situations explained:

Team Name Points Notes
Boston 108 Boston wins over Anaheim based on a Goal Differential Tie Break
Anaheim 108
Colorado 104 Colorado wins out over St. Louis based on ROW
St. Louis 104
Pittsburgh 102 Pittsburgh wins out over San Jose based on ROW
San Jose 102
Chicago 92 Chicago wins out over Montreal based on Goal Differential
Montreal 92 Chicago and Montreal win over Los Angeles & Tampa Bay based on ROW
Lon Angeles 92 Los Angeles wins out over Tampa Bay based on Goal Differential
Tampa Bay 92
NYR 90
Columbus 86 Wins out over Minnesota based on ROW
Minnesota 86
Philadelphia 84
Dallas 80
Detroit 78
__________________________________________________________________________________
Nashville 76 Wins out over Toronto based on ROW
Toronto 76 Wins out over Washington based on ROW
Washington 76
Phoenix 74 Wins out over Ottawa based on ROW
Ottawa 74 Wins out over Winnipeg based on ROW
Winnipeg 74
Carolina 72 Wins out over Vancouver based on ROW
Vancouver 72
New Jersey 70 Wins out over Calgary based on ROW
Calgary 70
NYI 68
Edmonton 58 Wins out over Florida based on ROW
Florida 58
Buffalo 42

Before analyzing the results based upon the Playoffs and the Draft, I thought it would be important to note that Overtime and Shootout points account for a total of 303 of last years league points. Out of the 2767 points accrued, that accounts for 10.95% of all total points. Looking at the Playoff Teams, on average the extra points accounted for 9.06 of their points (8.79% of total points). While Draft Teams, on average extra points accounted for 11.28 of their points (14.13% of total points). Seeing these numbers, its hard to say that on a League wide basis that there is a serious problem with the extra point. 10.95% is significant, but not detrimental to the results. On the other hand, looking at the Playoff teams in comparison to the Draft teams, the percentages tend to have more impact. The conclusion that I can draw from these numbers is that the Playoff teams are much LESS reliant on the extra-point, while the Draft teams seem to be getting into Overtime and the Shootout more often. (Which could be the inspiration for another post altogether, so I won’t go down that rabbit hole right now).

 

2014 NHL Draft - Round 1
(L-R) Third overall pick Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers, first overall pick Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers and second overall pick Sam Reinhart of the Buffalo Sabres. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Draft Teams

The was a lot more shuffling in the standings when I removed the extra-point from the draft teams. The bottom 5 remained in tact, whereas the the 14-11 positions had the greatest adjustment. Otherwise, most of the teams made a move of one spot. None of these teams would have made it into the Playoffs, but the players they could have selected at the draft would have been impacted. The following is a mock up of how the draft would have looked with the adjusted results. I didn’t account for the draft lottery, these projections are based simply on final standings. I also have kept the draft order the exact same as it would have been a near impossible task assuming who teams would have taken apart from who has already been selected (I also decided not to go with any league sanctions or trades, this is purely speculative based upon projected standings):

Draft Position Team Drafted Player Position Actually Drafted By
1 Buffalo Aaron Ekblad D Florida
2 Florida Sam Reinhart C Buffalo
3 Edmonton Leon Draisaitl C/LW Edmonton
4 NYI Sam Bennett C/LW Calgary
5 Calgary Michael Dal Colle C/LW NYI
6 New Jersey Jake Virtanen C/LW Vancouver
7 Vancouver Haydn Fleury D Carolina
8 Carolina William Nylander RW Toronto
9 Winnipeg Nikolaj Ehlers LW Winnipeg
10 Ottawa Nick Ritchie RW Anaheim from Ottawa
11 Phoenix Kevin Fiala RW Nashville
12 Washington Brendan Perlini LW Phoenix
13 Toronto Jakub Vrana C/RW Washington
14 Nashville Julius Honka D Dallas

Before I offer any other type of analysis to this, I think it is important to note that only 2 of 14 (14.2%) teams drafted the same player. That is significant and could have an impact on the rest of the league of sizeable proportions. Aaron Ekblad is scouted as an NHL ready defenseman. Although its hard to say how he will progress, projections have him as a franchise defenseman. He has been touted as “the whole package”. While it is great to see him going to Florida, hopefully aiding a team in serious need of direction, seeing him go to Buffalo would have been interesting. Would the presence of Ekblad have alleviated the pressure on Tyler Myers, allowing him to find his way again? Would the presence of Ekblad allow for Buffalo to fully shift its organizational philosophy a couple of years ahead of schedule. At the end of the day it really is left to speculation. One thing is for sure, the change in how the NHL awards its points would have had a significant impact on the Draft.

Loser Playoffs
Credit: NHL (nhl.com)

Playoff Teams

The Playoff teams really didn’t have any serious changes. The Central and Pacific Divisions finished with the exact same results with no changes to opponents or home ice advantage:

Anaheim vs. Dallas
San Jose vs Los Angeles
Colorado vs. Minnesota
St. Louis vs. Chicago

More or less it is safe to assume that the West would have played out the exact same.

The East had some changes to opponents and home ice advantage:

Original

Boston vs. Detroit
Tampa Bay vs. Montreal
Pittsburgh vs. Columbus
NYR vs. Philadelphia

Change
Boston vs. Detroit
Montreal vs. Tampa Bay -Home Ice Change
NYR vs. Columbus -Different Opponent
Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia -Different Opponent

Safe to assume that Boston still would have taken out Detroit, as well, reasonably safe to assume that Montreal could have swept the Lightning. The Rangers versus Columbus would have been an interesting series especially considering they both played similar team games last year. Pittsburgh vs Philadelphia would have been hard to handicap as well based on the last time they met in the playoffs. If nothing else, the East had potential to be represented by another team altogether. Then again if you listen to all the experts, that really wouldn’t have mattered anyways, so I guess the Kings were bound to win one way or the other…

hi-res-3c7e3f0ec9f291c838e8a233f619a663_crop_north
Credit: Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Conclusions

I’m really happy that I chose to pick apart this issue. Just before I posted this article, I was speaking with the Editor Spencer about it. It is a change in how I usually go about things. I am an analytical person, but a lot of my analysis has a lot more to do with how things make me feel as well as my reactions to events on a personal level. That is more or less what Part 1 was all about. Part 2 found me trying to make sense about how I felt. I find myself surprised, the “loser” point really didn’t affect the Playoff teams, which to me speaks volumes to the parity that the league is constantly trying to maintain. On the other hand, the results as applied to the Draft teams created a significant difference in how the Draft played out (hypothetically of course). In turn having a significant impact on the non Playoff teams. I guess the only way that I can process this is that the NHL is a development league in the sense that once teams get to a certain point, they are of a similar quality, while the Draft teams are constantly trying to break through into that group of teams. Nonetheless, researching has helped me to sort out my feelings about this issue. If I were granted an opportunity to change this I still would. It seems that the only purpose of the “loser” point is to try and give losing teams a hope that they will make the Playoffs. Why not leave the playoffs as the Promised Land for winning teams?

 

Cover Photo Credit: Getty Images

Comments

    • Brandon CookBrandon Cook

      Yeah I am aware of that. I stated in the article that I was condicting that portion of my article without league sanctions. Purely a hypothetical situation. Thanks for the input.

      Reply

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