In case you missed it yesterday, Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman reported that the NHL and NHLPA are working on a 24-team conference based Stanley Cup Playoffs and have settled on a format that would see a 1st round bye for eight teams, with a best-of-five "play in" series be played amongst the remaining 16 teams.
Check it out:
Okay, so how will this play out? Who plays who?
Again from Friedman:
The top four seeds (based on points percentage) in the East would be Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia. Top four in the West would be St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas.
They would receive byes through the play-in, but participate in a three-game tournament to get some action. I confess I’m not certain of all the details on if or how it would affect playoff seeding.
The rest of the playoffs would be “bracketed.” That means, in both conferences 5 vs. 12 (winner plays four seed), 6 vs. 11 (winner plays three seed), 7 vs. 10 (winner plays two seed) and 8 vs. 9 (winner plays one seed).
So that would mean an opening round of: Pittsburgh/Montreal; Carolina/Rangers; Islanders/Florida and Toronto/Columbus in the East and Edmonton/Chicago; Nashville/Arizona; Vancouver/Minnesota; Calgary/Winnipeg in the West.
The play-in series would be a best-of-five. The rest of the playoffs would be best-of-seven.
There are some JUICY matchups in this format! Pens vs Habs, Blackhawks vs Oilers, Flames vs Jets, Hurricanes vs Rangers! I'm not going to lie... this could be entertaining as Hell.
Friedman dropped even more details on his most recent appearance on Sportsnet's 590 The Fan radio, as well. Check it out some of his statements below.
On the potential of having "hub cities" that act as neutral sites:
"I think that they'd like to have some of the hubs, whether it's two or four... I think they'd like to have at least half of them in Canada."
On when play will resume:
"Most likely if we have games we're talking late July or August."
On the financial hit the NHL is taking:
"The costs of this is gonna be huge. If they could play most of their games in Canada where the Canadian dollar is at 70 cents American, it could help a lot."
On the draft lottery and the 2020 NHL Entry Draft:
"I would be surprised if we have a June draft now. I could see a situation where we have the lottery in June, but maybe the draft later. I think the biggest issue about the draft right now is can they do it before next year's junior and NCAA seasons start?
Lots to digest here, but at this point I think it's safe to say that hockey is on its way back.
Let’s drop the puck, boys!