The NHL is considering various options for restarting the 2019-20 season, and they are primarily revolving moving straight to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The most circulated rumor is that of a 24-team playoff. While the NHL has not confirmed the rumor, it is firmly on the league’s radar.
The most recent report from NHL.com further leans into that. Commissioner Gary Bettman said on Monday the league is looking at eight or nine cities could accommodate “a dozen or so teams in one location.” The league has been looking at options for decreasing the amount of travel, so having a dozen teams from each league set up in a couple cities would fit that requirement.
The same day as Bettman’s comments, Le Journal de Montréal reported there is talk of the first and second rounds of each conference taking place in one city, and then the conference finals and Stanley Cup Finals taking place in Las Vegas. MGM Resorts International has been offering options for a variety of leagues to relocate to Las Vegas this summer, and the NHL has had tremendous success there with the Golden Knights. With all the hotel space available, there are a lot of opportunities if the league becomes comfortable with a restart.