NHL Moves Ahead With 24-Team Playoff Format If Play Resumes
The NHL says it will abandon the rest of the regular season and go straight into the playoffs with 24 teams if it is able to resume play.
Commissioner Gary Bettman says the decision is not a guarantee that games are coming back.
The NHL and its players' union must still figure out safety protocols and other issues, including where to play in two host cities.
Under the expanded format, the top four teams in each conference will play for seeding while the other 16 face off in best-of-five series.
The top four teams in each conference ranked by points percentage — Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia in the East and St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas in the West — will play separate round-robin tournaments to determine seeding.
The remaining 16 teams will be seeded by conference, setting up best-of-five series in the East of No. 5 Pittsburgh vs. No. 12 Montreal, No. 6 Carolina vs. No. 11 New York Rangers, No. 7 New York Islanders vs. No. 10 Florida and No. 8 Toronto vs. No. 9 Columbus. In the West, it would be No. 5 Edmonton vs. No. 12 Chicago, No. 6 Nashville vs. No. 11 Arizona, No. 7 Vancouver vs. No. 10 Minnesota and No. 8 Calgary vs. No. 9 Winnipeg.
The league has been shut down since March.