UPDATE: Gary Bettman announced details for how the NHL will restart its season. It will include a 24-team playoff. The top four teams in each conference will face off in round-robin play to determine seeding. The 5th through 12th ranked teams in each conference will face off in best-of-five qualifying.
The NHL will hold a press conference at 4:30 PM ET to make a formal announcement on its plan to return to play in the 2019-20 season. The announcement is expected to be the approval of the 24-team playoff format that had been previously thrown around in reports. This would be another step in the right direction toward a return to the ice this season, though there’s still a lot of work left to do.
The NHL’s 24-team format would allow teams outside the playoff picture to compete for the Stanley Cup. There would be seeds 1-4 in each conference, followed by play-in games between the remaining teams. The format would give teams like the Islanders, Rangers, Canucks and Wild a chance in the postseason despite being just outside the Wild Card in their respective conferences.
There has already been some backlash from players about this format, since it gives certain teams who shouldn’t be in the playoffs a chance. It’s a double-edged sword really. Either way, it should bring an exciting new element to an already exciting playoffs.