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#FancyStats Friday: The 5v5 Standings vs NHL Standings

Everyone has an opinion about the NHL standings. With the loser point, and ROW tie breakers, it can be complicated. Let's simplify things and take a look at the teams' 5v5 standings instead.

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Mostly when I write about hockey stats, I pull data for 5v5.  It isn't that situations with the man advantage (or shorthanded depending on the perspective) are not important.  I pull 5v5 data because I need to keep the data consistent for comparative purposes.  So I use events that occur only during 5v5 play.  So what if we used 5v5 goals to determine the winner of each game?

I pulled all the 5v5 game data from War on Ice from the beginning of the season through the end of 12/16/2015.  For each game a team played if they had more goals for at 5v5 than goals against, they received two points.  If their 5v5 goals for equaled their goals against they received 1 point.  If they had more 5v5 goals against than for, then they received zero points.  No loser point in this scheme.  Very straightforward and easy to understand.  I then ranked each team by the points they received for both their division and their conference.  Then I pulled the standings from the NHL as of the end of the day 12/16/2015.  I combined the two datasets and put together the parallel coordinate chart you see below.

Essentially what you are looking at is a comparison for each team of where they sit in the NHL standings versus where they sit in the 5v5 standings.  The lines connect the same team between the two standings categories and the color of the line shows the points earned under each scheme.  Obviously the colors do not necessarily match per place in the standing since the 5v5 doesn't include the "loser point" so there are not as many points awarded in that scheme.

As you can see, St. Louis Blues only drop one place in the conference standings between the NHL points scheme and the 5v5 scheme.  In the division standings, the Blues also only drop one place in the standings between the two.  Not bad for a team that is slumping right now.  The big shocker to me was the Chicago Blackhawks.  In the conference standings Chicago drops from 5th in the NHL standings to 12th in the 5v5 standings.  Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference, the Blue Jackets jump from last place in the NHL standings to 9th place in the 5v5 standings.

This is just a fun thought exercise.  But I think it does show the difference special teams and the loser point can make on where a team sits in the standings.