Why NHL Shootouts Should Be Eliminated

NHL should eliminate shootout

NHL shootouts should be eliminated. There I said it. It has been around since the 2005-06 season and many feel it’s time to change the way the league handles overtime contests. At first, many thought the concept of sending a lone skater in one-on-one against the opposing goalie was exciting and it was… but that was then.

Now, the game has evolved, it’s much faster and players are more skilled.

NHL Shootouts Are Not a Good Way to Decide a Game

Ties vs Overtime

So what other options do we have other than NHL Shootouts? Ties are one thing people have suggested. However, since ties are most definitely not the best method to decide an overtime game because it really doesn’t decide it. It accomplishes absolutely nothing.

Granted ties can’t be used in the playoffs because there MUST be a winner. Ties during the regular season were initially dated back to World War II days and were justified due to modes of transportation back then. Trains were the only way out of town. And they’re not fast at all.

But things have evolved since then. Even nowadays it can’t be expected to play a double-overtime game and perhaps have to travel to another city during the regular season. Or, what about back-to-back games which seem to be occurring more and more these days?

Let’s Discuss Other Methods to Determine the Winner of an Overtime Game

The AHL tried the shootout before the NHL implemented it, so why not try different methods besides the outdated, gimmicky shootout?

“By adding a 3-on-3 element to its overtime format, the AHL had 75 percent of its games that went past regulation time in 2014-15 decided in overtime. The number was 35.3 percent in 2013-14 when they played under a 4-on-4 overtime format”.

Head coach John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets had this say to Josh Gold-Smith of thescore.com: “Get rid of the shootout (and) just play the three-on-three until a team dies,” the Columbus Blue Jackets head coach told reporters Friday.

New Point System May Work

While discussing this with my fellow writers and editors here at lastwordonhockey.com I discovered that my colleagues had a wide range of opinions on this topic. We all live, breathe and consume hockey all day, every day.

One suggestion which has been discussed is to change the point reward system.

3 points for a Regulation win.

2 points for an OT/Shootout win.

1 point for an OT/Shootout loss.

0 points for a Regulation loss.

Seems equitable and what comes to mind is how would this change the game? Will visiting teams be more aggressive to score near the end of a tie game? Will teams really want those three points for a regulation win enough so as to put out the effort near the end of a game?

How Would the New Point System Affect the Standings?

I did some research and used the Pacific Division as an example since it is a rather tight division in the standings. ** THIS IS USING CURRENT STANDINGS AS OF 3/3/2019.

Current system    New point system

CGY – 89                          134

SJS –  86                          128

VGK – 77                          121

ARZ – 69                          110

EDM – 63                           99

VAN – 63                         100

ANA – 59                           92

LAK – 56                           87

When analyzing these standings one must keep in mind that each win is worth three points.

Take for instance the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. They are tied with 63 points using the current system. Under the new system, Arizona has an 11 point and ten point lead on both of them while only holding a six-point lead on them using the current points system. There’s a glaring difference right there.

While the overall standings in the Division didn’t change their placement, it could change easily if say a team secures quite a few regulation wins good for three points each.

The Playoffs Would Have a Whole New Outlook

Taking the same scenario, let’s look at the present Western Conference standings as it relates to the playoff run.

Current system   New point system


WPG – 82                 WPG – 126

NSH –  81                 NSH – 126

STL –   74                  STL – 111


CGY – 89                   CGY – 134

SJS –  86                   SJS – 128

VGK – 77                   VGK – 121

-Wild Card

DAL – 71                   ARZ – 110

MIN – 71                   MIN – 108

ARZ – 69                   DAL – 104

COL – 68                   VAN – 100

EDM – 63                   COL –  99

CHI – 63                    EDM – 99

VAN – 63                   CHI –  93

ANA – 59                   ANA – 92

LAK – 56                    LAK – 87

While the standings for the Central and Pacific Divisions remain the same the wild-card standings take on a whole different perspective.

The Arizona Coyotes switch with the Dallas Stars and Vancouver moves up three spots. The Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton, and Chicago Blackhawks, while tied in current standings, are a little different with Chicago not tied with Edmonton and Vancouver, but trailing them by six points.

What can be surmised by this change is how a regulation win (3 points), an overtime or shootout win (2 points), an overtime or shootout loss (1 point) can make a difference in the standings.

The value of a REAL win in regulation will rise to a new level and the teams may actually NOT play to get to overtime any longer.

Does this decrease NHL shootouts?

It should.


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