From time to time I read something from NHL fans or hockey media types claiming that expansion will ruin the game because of parity or dilution of talent. I get pretty dismissive about their “arguments” as very few of these claims are based on facts or data. I decided to investigate it on my own. This will be the 1st post in a 3 part series that talks about why the league is ready for expansion. As with most of my posts, I tell the story with data.
Margin of Victory
Regular season games are getting tighter. Excluding ties, the margin of victory has declined since 97.
The standings are also getting tighter.
Some of the expansion efforts in the 90s contributed to the teams with less than 50 points in a season however if you look at the teams with 51 to 60 points between 1990 to 1997, they were well established teams (Leafs, Oilers, Islanders, Jets, Nords). Now it should also be pointed out that OT, Shootout rules and the rise of the 3 point game is also a contributing factor here.
Compared to other leagues, the NHL has produced the most unique champions over the last 15 years.