The NHL Players Association is reportedly voting on a possible 24 Team Playoff format for when the 2019-20 NHL season resumes.
The NHLPA’s Executive Board is taking a vote on the 24-team return-to-play format proposal. The vote is ongoing and results aren’t expected until tomorrow.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 22, 2020
NHLPA to Vote on 24 Team Playoff Format
How the Playoffs Will Look
The NHL has proposed a 24-team playoff. The top four teams in each conference play each other in a non-elimination series. The bottom 16 teams will all play in a more traditional series to move on to the second round of the playoffs. The vote results are expected sometime on May 22.
The concept behind the top teams playing each other in non-elimination games is so that everyone stays fresh. All of these teams have not been playing for several months and need to get back into a flow with each other. With the bottom seeds all playing in a “play-in” round they would conceivably have an advantage over the top seeds if those top speeds did not have any warm-up games. This would be due to the fact that they have not played in several months.
Benefits and Concerns
There also has to be happiness and concern surrounding the injury situation. Several teams that were plagued with injuries have had a few months to get healthy again for the playoffs. That also begs the question, what if a player is injured in the non-elimination games for a top seed. Those games would likely be played at a much more relaxed level as players try to avoid significant injuries.
The reason behind 24 teams rather than the typical 16 revolves around the fairness stemming from games played. Not every franchise was given the chance to play an equal number as some played 70 and others only 69. By getting all of the fringe teams into a playoff series, this gives them an opportunity to prove their worth.
This is the most positive news about the NHL returning to play since the league shut down back in March. Rumours and speculation have surrounded the hockey world about how and when the NHL would resume play. Now we seem to have some semblance of an answer.
Main Photo: BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 23: Nikita Zaitsev #22 of the Toronto Maple Leafs warms up ahead of Game Seven of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Boston Bruins during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 23, 2019, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)