As other major sports start to plan a way to start or restart their seasons, so does the NHL. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet the league and Player’ Association have been working on a plan that would feature a 24-team, conference-based format.
What would such a plan look like?
The top four seeds from each conference, not division, will be based on the point percentages from their records before the season hiatus. The top four teams from each conference would then receive a bye for the first round of the playoffs. The rest of the 16 eligible teams would face off in a best-of-five series play-in round. The winners of each series would then move on to the normal format of a 16-team Stanley Cup playoff bracket which would be a best-of-seven series. Unfortunately this means that the Kings would not make it in this year due to their 29-35 record.
According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, while those series to make it into the playoff bracket are being played, the eight teams who would receive a bye would participate in a three-game tournament. However, no news if those games would affect the seeding at all has been announced.
Taking all the in, this is what this plan would look like:
Penguins (5) vs. Canadiens (12)
Hurricanes (6) vs. Rangers (11)
Islanders (7) vs. Panthers (10)
Maple Leafs (8) vs. Blue Jackets (9)
- Golden Knights
Oilers (5) vs. Blackhawks (12)
Predators (6) vs. Coyotes (11)
Canucks (7) vs. Wild (10)
Flames (8) vs. Jets (9)
After the play-in round is concluded, each winner would face off against the top seed teams that recently had byes. The 16-team playoff bracket would then look like this:
No. 1 seed vs. the winner between the No. 8 vs. No. 9
No. 2 seed vs. the winner between the No. 7 vs. No. 10
No. 3 seed vs. the winner between the No. 6 vs. No. 11
No. 4 seed vs. the winner between the No. 9 vs. No. 12
All games would be played in two cities with no fans in attendance. The plan is still in the works and will be discussed in an NHLPA executive committee meeting today.