NHL Switches It Up for Proposed 24 Team Playoff
By: Joe Borek
To hockey fans everywhere, it has been no secrete that when/ if the NHL reconvenes it will likely be in a 24 team playoff bracket-style format. At the onset of the rumors, it was thought that the format would still be based on divisional standings. That has since changed. The previously thought of format based on division standings can be seen below in a tweet by Jason Myrtetus, a reporter and podcaster for the Philadelphia Flyers.
This could be the 24 team bracket Playoff system the NHL could implement should the playoffs happen, and the league is pushing very hard for that to happen. Could the Pens get upset by the Habs in a 3 game play in??? Very interesting. Drop the Puck and let's go!!! pic.twitter.com/O8vItSFRXA
— jasonmyrt (@jasonmyrt) May 14, 2020
As seen above, the top four teams in each conference would still receive byes. They will now just be based on points percentage rather than overall points as seen below. For this season that would keep all the byes the same while just changing certain matchups, making that rather easy for schedulers. The key difference is the rest of the playoffs would now be bracketed by conference standings rather than division changing some things up. The new style of seeding can be seen below in a tweet by NHL News outlining Elliot Friedman’s, a lead hockey reporter for Sportsnet, rumored playoff proposal.
Latest rumored playoff format from @FriedgeHNIC in bracket
5 PIT-12 MTL winner v 4 PHI
6 CAR-11 NYR winner v 3 WSH
7 NYI-10 FLA winner v 2 TB
8 TOR-9 CBJ winner v 1 BOS
— NHL News (@puck_report2) May 21, 2020
According to Friedman, nothing is set in stone and of course both teams and players have to agree on a proposal before a settlement can be reached. Although if agreed on, a true new wrinkle to the playoffs, other than byes would be a three-game tournament that the top four teams from each conference would participate in as well as, the best of five play-in series for the other clubs. Per reports, after the play-in round the playoffs would go right back to the best of seven structure .it has been reported that the three-game tournaments would help to determine the top four seeds in each conference. This can be seen below in a Tweet by NHL reporter Chris Johnston quoted by fellow reporter Jamey Baskow.
If the 24-team playoff format is approved. The top four teams 4 in both conferences would play each other to determine seeding. The Flyers could have matchups against Boston, Tampa Bay, and Washington. Three games would determine the seedings. https://t.co/5hXdQArTTj
— Jamey Baskow (@JameyBaskow) May 21, 2020
If the potential exciting three-game tournament becomes the case, it will likely affect the adjusted bracket above. For example, if the Lighting were to beat the Bruins that would make them swap places on the bracket due to the Lighting now being awarded the higher seed after beating out the Bruins in the three-game top four tournament. All pertaining to the said tournament is uncertain. Yet it would be a fun new interesting wrinkle for just this season. What is certain for sure, is how the rest of the playoff would be bracketed while the top four seeds are potentially determined by the three-game tournament style. The rest of the playoffs would be bracketed as follows with the 5th seed facing the 12th seed where the winner plays the 4th seed. The 6th seed faces the 11th with the winner facing the 3 seed. The 7th faces the 10th with the winner playing the 2nd seed. Then last, the 8th seed faces the 9th where the winner plays the 1st seed.
This is certainly an interesting change to the NHL Playoffs for this one season. Everyone is on the same playing field going in leading to a potential for quite a few play in upsets. Another change some may have noticed from the brackets above is the lack of reseeding if this format were to take place. For example, even if a 12th seed like Montreal managed to pull off an upset they would still play the Flyers next who are currently the fourth-seeded team with a bye and not the first seeded Bruins. If the season can reconvene and this proposal is the case, as hockey fans we are all in store for one hell of a playoff. As fans we should have answers soon since talks are fluid between the NHL Players Association and the league on the return to play format. According to TSN reporter Pierre LeBrun, the NHL and the NHL Players Association started their meeting at 7 pm this evening to discuss the next steps. I for one as an avid fan hope they figure out a safe way to resume because as stated before we are in store for one heck of a creative playoff. One for the ages for sure.