With the 2019-20 NHL season still paused speculation is starting to build once again. The latest buzz is covering a change in the playoff format, allowing for 24 playoff teams. This is being talked about as a possible fix if the regular season is unable to be finished.
An interesting thing to note is if this format is put to use Chicago, Montreal, and New York will all make the playoff. That means some big ratings for the league adding three big NHL markets. Could that be a motivating factor behind this idea? While it does seem possible, a quick look at the standings shows why a twelve team format is actually not a bad idea.
Taking a look at the Eastern Conference standings the possible sixth seed is only two points in the standings ahead of the potential eleventh seed. If we go by points percentage, which is what these standings we're based on, the sixth team is .032 points ahead at .596 to .564. If you were wondering these two teams are the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers. In this potential playoff format they would actually be matched up in the short three game play in round.
Taking a look at the Western Conference standings, the potential sixth seed is only one point in the standings ahead of the tenth seed. Going by points percentage that is a difference of .007, with the sixth seed at .565 and the eleventh seed at .558. Those two teams are the sixth-seeded Nashville Predators and the tenth-seeded Minnesota Wild. Unfortunately, that would not be a first-round matchup this time.
With both conferences so tightly packed at the playoff bubble, a 24 team playoff only seems like the best idea. I realize that I only went to the tenth and eleventh seeds in each scenario, but the teams left out are Montreal as the twelfth seed in the East and Arizona and Chicago as the eleventh and twelfth seeds for the West.
Like I already said with so many teams that could go on a run in the last ten games and steal a spot, expanding the playoffs has to be an option. It’s also not a totally new option. A quick search on google will turn up articles reporting the NHL discussing this very possibility. As this pause continues to push towards summer and the regular season becomes less likely I guess the harsh possible reality is giving this story new life.
Adding to that, a news starved audience who have already binged old Cup winning seasons means it’s worthy of bringing up. Like a Leafs fan talking about a depth defenseman signing on YouTube. That’s a little side plug for a guy on there I think is pretty funny, and even if he’s a leafs fan he’s worth a watch. Especially if they lose big have some popcorn ready.
Because this isn’t really breaking news but becoming a greater possibility, I feel like I need to earn the time you spent reading this article. So with that in mind keep your eyes out for what my break down of a 24 team playoff would look like. The seeds and standings I mentioned earlier come from the standings I used in this hypothetical playoff bracket. It will show some interesting playoff matchups we haven’t seen since the last format change and I might even pick some big upsets.
So if you liked this article and would like to see who I think wins each matchup keep an eye out for that article in the coming days. Also like always please check out our other team pages. There is always something going on in the world of Boston sports so keep up to date all in one place.
Featured image courtesy of NHL.com