With so little known about the resumption or conclusion of the NHL season due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, reporters and fans have been left to their own devices when it comes to speculation regarding how (or if) the NHL season will conclude.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli added yet another option to the table, which at least has a little bit of president — the idea that the regular season could be concluded by rolling back everyone’s records to each team’s 68-game mark, the minimum amount of games each team had played when the season was paused on March 12.
.@frank_seravalli on how a 68-game rollback might be NHL's most fair standings format. MORE: https://t.co/5oeVZpdMkO pic.twitter.com/B8P8F9SRI9— TSN (@TSN_Sports) April 8, 2020
The president comes by way of the Ontario Hockey League, which rolled back its season standings to 61 games to determine its lottery order. Any games beyond the 61 threshold were wiped away.
Putting aside the fairness of disregarding games that were actually played (for some teams, up to three games), what would this mean for the standings — especially the Minnesota Wild?
The current NHL standings see the Wild two spots and a single point outside the final playoff spot. In a 68-game rollback, the Western Conference would look like this:
For Minnesota, the result is exactly where they are now and where they would be if the NHL went with a win percentage model — just out of the playoffs. But if there’s a team that doesn’t want the 68-game rollback, it’s definitely the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets were on a four-game winning streak when the season paused, and their last three wins would be stricken from the record, leaving them with 74 points and dropping them from a wild card spot to behind Minnesota and out of the playoffs.
Winnipeg’s social media team had a pretty succinct response:
April 8, 2020
But there’s another way of looking at the 68-game rollback, and Seravalli was ready for that. Instead of the first 68 games, what happens if we look at the last 68 games, when teams were playing their hardest for playoff positioning and also had the full benefit of their trade deadline acquisitions? If the NHL goes that route, the Jets and Wild would be a bit happier with the outcome:
This is definitely the method I’d like to see the NHL take. And realistically, using the final 68 games would be the more fair method, considering the assets that contending teams had to give up to get players at the trade deadline.
What do you think, Wild fans? What seems like the more fair option to you?
Assuming there’s a 2019-20 Stanley Cup Playoff, how should the NHL determine the teams?
This poll is closed
Use the current win percentages
Roll back to the first 68 games played
Roll back to the last 68 games played
Play enough additional games so each team ends with the same number of games played (71, likely)
Finish the 82-game regular season, come hell or high water