NHL Announces the 24-team Playoff Format for the Season

Author: Sonali


When the NBA was busy doing its preparations for its recently announced playoff formats, NHL was busy making its own return-to-play plans. NHL together with NHLPA took the final decisions on its 2019-20 season, 24-team playoff. Last week an announcement from the commissioner of NHL came in stating there would not be the remainder of the regular-season games, which could not be played because of the abrupt coronavirus pandemic halt. He said that the team will directly play the playoffs. Both NHL & NHLPA agreed on the four playoff rounds including first round, second round, conference finals, and Stanley Cup Final. There will be a reseeding after every round and would not be any bracketing of the teams.

Throughout these games, after every round, the highest remaining seed will have to face the lowest seed from each conference — the second-highest with the second-lowest remaining seed, and this will go on similarly. The regular-season points percentage will break the round-robin ties, which will continue until the playoffs continue. Games 1, 2, 5, and 7 home teams will be the higher-seeded teams that will follow in the conference finals, first round, and second round. The announcement was made mentioning that all these plans will only come to action with a mutual agreement between NHL & NHLPA. The owners say there are many other aspects of the NHL return-to-play still to be discussed.

Phase three of the return-to-play plan will include training camp and the succeeding phase 4 will include the games itself, the play protocols, the city hubs, negotiations that are still going, and start dates. According to the latest developments, there will be 24 games in the playoff format. However, there isn’t any start date for return-of-the play finalized yet. There are also going to be special arrangements concerning safety & testing for COVID-19. Until now, the league has maintained there would not be fans during the play.

Key Detail of the NHL return-to-play 2019-20 season:

The best-of-five will be the play-in round and in Games 1, 2, and 5, the higher-seeded team will have, "home ice.” The best-of-seven series will be all four playoff rounds.

Seeding that heads into the round of 16 will be determined by the round-robin three-game tournament played between the top four seeds from each conference. The tiebreaker would be the regular-season points percentage.

The most important development that has taken place is that, with the best-of-seven going to be the four playoff rounds. This means there would be a play-in round attached to the traditional playoff season game.

NHL also announced that it is planning to move to Phase 2 of the return-to-play plan very soon. The league will begin with the training camps from early July. The league commissioner says that keeping the Stanley Cup Final a best-of-seven will make the postseason for the year legitimate. League has kept the top four seeds almost up in the air and that is the only bothering thing, but the decision of re-seeding each playoff round is necessarily the right part of the approach.



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