Even without playing, the Toronto Maple Leafs are moving up the NHL standings.
While it is technically impossible to get points when you don’t play, the best way to monitor the NHL standings is by points percentage, and the Toronto Maple Leafs move up in these standings whenever one of their rivals loses.
For instance: recent losses by Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Washington have moved the Leafs into third place in the NHL by points-percentage.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, with a record of 21-8-2 have a .710 win percentage. That means that they have picked up 71% of the points available to them this season. It is an incredible number that would usually see them in first place overall. (nhl.com).
The NHL – possibly due to Covid, maybe just randomly – has five teams currently with points-percentages over .700. There was only one team, in each of the last two seasons of at least 70 games , with a points percentage so high.
Toronto Maple Leafs and the NHL Standings
The NHL’s top team right now is tonight’s non-opponent, the Carolina Hurricanes. They have played the same amount of games as the Leafs, but have won two more times.
The second place team is Florida, who have won four in a row, and who have played (and won) one more game than the Leafs.
The NHL’s most impressive team right now is the Pittsburgh Penguins who have rattled off eight wins in a row. Though to be fair, they aren’t exactly beating up on great teams: Seattle, Vancouver, Montreal, New Jersey, Buffalo, San Jose, Anaheim and Washington.
If the NHL season ended today, the Leafs would play the Panthers. If we went by points-percentage it would be Tampa. Either way, that’s a tough ask for a team that always loses in the first round.
Hilariously, the Atlantic Division winner would play the Boston Bruins if the playoffs were about to start. That is hilarious because despite some bad puck-luck, the Bruins are also one of the NHL’s best teams.
Statistically, there isn’t much difference between Boston, Toronto , Tampa or Florida. The NHL has four of its best teams in one division, which is why their current playoff format is so stupid. A divisional format may be good for rivalries, but it’s also really good for making the Stanley Cup more random than it has to be.
If the NHL wanted less randomness and wanted their championship to go to the league’s best team more often, it would institute a 1 vs 16 matchup with no conferences or divisions. This would not only make the playoffs less random, but it would also allow the NHL’s two best teams to potentially play for the Cup, which is impossible if they ever happen to be in different conferences.
Currently the highest ranking Western Conference team is 7th overall.