NHL, NHLPA Eye 24-Team Conference-Based Playoff Setup

NHL, NHLPA Eye 24-Team Conference-Based Playoff Setup

The NHL committee continues to test out multiple scenarios to ensure the success of the league’s season comeback. This week, NHL closely worked together with the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) to discuss the initial 24-team conference-based playoff proposal and formulate solid supporting plans around it.

Sportsnet’s senior hockey writer Chris Johnston posted the report on his official Twitter account:

“Important to note this is just about how the 24-team system would work and doesn’t cover other critical issues, such as testing protocols, hub cities, visas, and many other things…And while nothing has been finalized at this stage, the NHL and NHLPA have a framework to at least discuss with their constituents. There is a call with the NHLPA’s executive board scheduled for tomorrow where return-to-play matters will be discussed, including the format.”

Both teams and players take part in the discussion. The NHL plans to release the proposal tomorrow, and the teams have to approve it to test out the format. If approved, here’s how the 24-team format would look like:

Based on the point percentage from the current season, the top four seeds in the East would be Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the top four seeds in the West would be St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas, and Dallas.

These teams would receive byes through the play-in, but still required to participate in a three-game tournament to get back in shape. The play-in series are in a BO5 format, while the rest of the playoffs would be in BO7. The proposal is currently in the works, so it’s unclear whether or not this setup would affect the playoff seeding.

As for the actual playoffs, all teams (including the non-seeders) play the rest of the matches in a bracketed format, which draws plenty of interest from top Bitcoin sportsbooks as well as this might introduce new and unique betting markets and setups. Both conferences will compete using the following modified bracket format:

  • 5 vs 12 (winner plays four seed)
  • 6 vs 11 (winner plays three seed)
  • 7 vs 10 (winner plays two seed)
  • 8 vs 9 (winner plays one seed)

The opening round will then be played by the following teams from the Eastern and Western conferences: