# Adjusting standings for loser point

1. It is well known that the loser point (first introduced in 1999-00 season) inflates the point total. Nowadays, the playoffs cut is usually well above 90 points, and multiple teams per season routinely get more than 100 points. The purpose of this post is to quantify the effect of loser point in order to compare team achievements from different seasons and eras.

There are two ways of quantifying the loser point – "team-by-team" and "global" (uniform adjustment of the whole table).

Team-by-team

A team record can be adjusted by calculating the share of points the team won:

Points taken / (Points taken + Points surrendered)

Points taken: 2 for any win + 1 for every OT/SO loss,
Points surrendered: 2 for any loss + 1 for every OT/SO win.

Example: currently, the Islanders are on pace to 82 × 42 / 29 = 119 points; in 29 games they took 42 points (20 wins, 2 OT/SO losses) and surrendered 25 points (9 losses, 7 OT/SO wins); their adjusted point total is on pace to 103 points.

Global

Total amount of points available:

Number of games per team × Number of teams + Total amount of loser points

Total amount of loser points varies from season to season: 131 points on average from 1999-00 to 2003-04 and 289 points on average (not counting lockout-shortened 2012-13 season) since introduction of shootouts and elimination of ties.

Number of games per team × Number of teams / Total amount of points available

Last season there were 271 loser points; hence, the coefficient is 82 × 31 / (82 × 31 + 271) = 0.904.

Example: the historical 2018-19 Tampa Bay season produced 128 points; adjusting it for the loser point gives 116 points.

On average, the loser point inflates the point total by 5.4% for 1999-2004 and by 11.7% since 2005.

While team-by-team approach is more fair, the global one is easier to calculate and it also does not alter the order of standings. Below are the best and worst seasons adjusted for the loser point globally and normalized to 82 games (points rounded to the nearest whole number).

5 best seasons of all time:

 Season Team Points Real Points Adjusted 1929-30 Boston Bruins 77 144 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens 83 136 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens 132 135 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens 129 131 1944-45 Montreal Canadiens 80 131
5 worst seasons of all time:

 Season Team Points Real Points Adjusted 1929-30 Pittsburgh Pirates 13 24 1992-93 Ottawa Senators 24 23 1992-93 San Jose Sharks 24 23 1930-31 Philadelphia Quakers 12 22 1974-75 Washington Capitals 21 22
5 best seasons since 2005:

 Season Team Points Real Points Adjusted 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks 77 118 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning 128 116 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings 124 111 2012-13 Pittsburgh Penguins 72 111 2015-16 Washington Capitals 120 108
5 worst seasons since 2005:

 Season Team Points Real Points Adjusted 2006-07 Philadelphia Flyers 56 50 2014-15 Arizona Coyotes 56 50 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres 54 48 2013-14 Buffalo Sabres 52 46 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche 48 43
Detroit is currently on pace for the worst season since 2005.

Of course, the exercise above is purely academic – there were a lot of different things across seasons and eras, even the rules were different. However, it gives one some perspective about claims of historicity, "best season ever", etc.