The NHL and NHLPA are still in discussions of a plan to finish the 2019-20 season. The most recent plan is a 24-team playoff format that could potentially have games prior to the start of a modified postseason. However, the playoffs would go on if the league can find a way to resume play this season.
24-Team Playoff Format Proposal
According to The Atlantic’s Pierre LeBrun, this is how the 24-team playoff format proposal would look like with 12 teams from each conference: “I’m told the proposed 24-team format doesn’t go straight to the playoffs but involves games in some form before-hand. That would be something for the players would have pushed for. Again, let me stress that both sides on the [Return to Play Committee] as of Sunday morning still had work to do on the format so it may yet change again. But there’s a clear sense that both sides are closer on what a season resumption may look like. Once the Return to Play committee finally agrees to a format (assuming it eventually does), the NHLPA’s executive board (31 player reps) would need to vote on it for approval.”
24-Team Playoff Format Predicted Outlook
This is how the 24-team playoff format proposal would look like should the NHL resume play by July or August. Four league cities would host a playoff “tournament” based on each team’s respective division. Each division team would play in an assigned city. The top six teams would qualify for the playoffs and report to their respective city. The No.1 seed and No.2 seed teams in each division would play each other in a best-of-three series to determine the division winner. The same goes for the No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed matchup and No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed. The four remaining playoff qualifying teams from each division and a seeding structure to play a traditional Stanley Cup playoff tournament.
However, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the league seem to be set on the idea to use two locations. Las Vegas and Columbus are favorites to represent the two conferences according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.
Check out what the matchups would look like under this format here.