What a 24-team Stanley Cup playoff format may appear like, and what questions nonetheless must be answered

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Whereas the NHL season has remained on pause since March 12 attributable to COVID-19, the league stays hopeful that it is going to be capable of play this season to a conclusion. The NHL and NHLPA launched a joint assertion on Wednesday saying that they hope to have the ability to re-open crew services and resume small group coaching someday in Could, realistically within the mid-to-late portion of the month.

But when the league is in truth capable of return to motion, we’re nonetheless not fairly certain what the plan will probably be by way of ending out the season. In Thursday’s assertion, the NHL/NHLPA stated they “haven’t made any selections or set a timeline for attainable return to play situations.” The league is reportedly prioritizing ending the 82-game common season slate or having groups play to a shortened whole of video games (probably 76 or 78), which is smart from a enterprise standpoint contemplating every crew has native TV and sponsorship offers to meet. 

However there’s an opportunity {that a} time crunch or logistical complications may pressure the NHL into forgoing the remainder of the common season and leaping straight into the postseason. If that is the case, the NHL should resolve what’s the fairest and most balanced strategy to method seeding the playoffs. With an uneven variety of video games being performed between groups, the league could select to seed a standard playoff format based mostly on factors proportion (proportion of factors earned based mostly on attainable whole). We have coated what that may appear like, and have even run a full simulation to discover a winner in such a situation.

Nonetheless, what if the NHL decides to get somewhat extra inventive and inclusive in its straight-to-postseason plan? The NHLPA is reportedly favoring a 24-team postseason mannequin, one that may increase the playoff image as a method of seeding and limiting the variety of fringe groups that may really feel robbed by an abrupt finish to the common season.

Here is what that may probably entail, in line with Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

  • 4 league cities (presumably unfold throughout the US and Canada) would host division-based playoff “tournaments”
  • Every of the league’s 4 divisions can be assigned a metropolis (or hub), with the highest six groups from every division qualifying for the postseason and reporting to their respective hub
  • Every division’s No. 1 and No. 2 seeds would play one another (best-of-three collection) to resolve a division winner
  • Every division’s No. three seed would play the No. 6 seed, whereas the No. four would face No. 5 in a best-of-three for the best to maintain taking part in
  • That would go away 4 remaining playoff qualifiers from every division (16 whole playoff groups) and a seeding construction to play a extra conventional Stanley Cup playoff event

A couple of dozen groups/cities are reportedly bidding on the chance to behave as a hub on this situation however let’s spotlight 4 reported bidders for the sake of this train: Edmonton (Pacific), St. Paul (Central), Raleigh (Metropolitan) and Tampa (Atlantic). Here is what the playoff situations would appear like:

Atlantic (Tampa)

  1. Boston Bruins (.714 factors proportion)
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning (.657)
  3. Toronto Maple Leafs (.579)
  4. Florida Panthers (.565)
  5. Montreal Canadiens (.500)
  6. Buffalo Sabres (.493)

Eradicated: Ottawa Senators (.437), Detroit Crimson Wings (.275)

Finest-of-three matchups:

  • Bruins vs. Lightning (division title)
  • Maple Leafs vs. Sabres (elimination collection)
  • Panthers vs. Canadiens (elimination collection)

Metropolitan (Raleigh)

  1. Washington Capitals (.652)
  2. Philadelphia Flyers (.645)
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins (.623)
  4. Carolina Hurricanes (.596)
  5. New York Islanders (.588)
  6. Columbus Blue Jackets (.579)

Eradicated: New York Rangers (.521), New Jersey Devils (.493)

Finest-of-three matchups: 

  • Capitals vs. Flyers (division title) 
  • Penguins vs. Blue Jackets (elimination collection)
  • Hurricanes vs. Islanders (elimination collection)

Central (St. Paul)

  1. St. Louis Blues (.662)
  2. Colorado Avalanche (.657)
  3. Dallas Stars (.594)
  4. Nashville Predators (.565)
  5. Winnipeg Jets (.563)
  6. Minnesota Wild (.558)

Eradicated: Chicago Blackhawks (.514)

Finest-of-three matchups:  

  • Blues vs. Avalanche (division title)
  • Stars vs. Wild (elimination collection)
  • Predators vs. Jets (elimination collection)

Pacific (Edmonton)

  1. Vegas Golden Knights (.606)
  2. Edmonton Oilers (.585)
  3. Vancouver Canucks (.565)
  4. Calgary Flames (.564)
  5. Arizona Coyotes (.529)
  6. Anaheim Geese (.472)

Eradicated: Los Angeles Kings (.457), San Jose Sharks (.450)

Finest-of-three matchups:  

  • Golden Knights vs. Oilers (division title)
  • Canucks vs. Geese (elimination collection)
  • Flames vs. Coyotes (elimination collection)

On the conclusion of this format, there can be 4 groups remaining in every division (together with a division champion) and a clear eight groups per convention. With the seeding construction established by these mini-tournaments, the NHL would then be capable of seed a extra conventional Stanley Cup playoffs bracket, swapping out the 2 “wild card” groups per convention with lowest-seeded surviving groups from every division. 

From there, there are nonetheless questions that encompass the “conventional” bracket portion. Will collection stay best-of-seven? Will all video games be performed in a single impartial location? Will lower-seeded groups must journey to the hub of a higher-seeded opponent in one other division? These are issues that also must be answered.

For more updates check below links and stay updated with News AKMI.
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