The NHL and the NHLPA approved of a 24-team playoff format on Friday night. There is no idea however when games are going to resume. We expect games to resume sometime in July.
There was no fair way to potentially decide the playoff format because there were a lot of teams still in the chase on March 12, when the season paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There were two teams that did not want it to happen. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes. In this playoff format, it is bracketed based on points percentage and not by division. With this being the case, what are some of the pros about having this playoff format?
Best of the Best
The first pro is that the best teams will potentially meet in the conference finals instead of the semifinals. Tampa Bay and Boston play in the Atlanta Division. In this 24-team format, they are the true one and two seeds. Had it been in the divisional format, they would have faced each other in the second round.
The same case goes for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. It also goes along with the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche. Colorado and St. Louis are also the top two seeds in the Western Conference.
They also would have faced each other in the second round instead.
Stars Can Shine
The second positive is, the Dallas Stars get more of a fair chance to showcase themselves rather than getting screwed over by facing the Colorado Avalanche in the first round.
Dallas has the fourth-most points in the West.
They would have possibly been eliminated in the first round had they stuck with the divisional format.
No Need to Complain
The third positive is, the bubble teams do not have to complain to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman about getting screwed over. Teams like the Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild, and the Winnipeg Jets don’t have to complain now.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are the heart and soul of the NHL season and this season is going to feel interesting without fans in the stadiums.
The most likely places for the season to resume is Edmonton in the Western Conference and Columbus in the Eastern Conference. The play-in series will be a best of five series. Everything else will be a best of seven. The teams that are on a bye will each play three games and get their feet wet so they don’t sit on their keisters.
A lot of hockey fans and players have mixed emotions on this. At least it is better than nothing at all. Everything has its flaws at this point.
The only seven teams that did not make it to the postseason was the New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and the Anaheim Ducks.
This will now be easier to decide the NHL Draft Lottery, in case the NHL decides to do the draft before the resumption of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What do you think are the pros of having this 24-team playoff format? Leave a comment below.
Score a goal with IroniqMedia for all of your NHL coverage.
Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.