Some actual NHL content today, as the league is mulling a 24 team playoffs if the NHL season is to resume this season. The theory here is that every team that played NHL-.500 would make the playoffs, as those were the teams “still in it” when the season was suspended. Makes logical sense, as those were the teams “still in it” in early March.
From a team perspective, this ensures that assets at the trade deadline were not wasted, especially for teams giving up draft picks and prospects buying at the deadline. Team owners also get maximum revenue from this, given the circumstances. For the players, they get a shot at a Cup. That should be an easy sell.
Before I read the linked article, I had guessed the top-eight teams will get a bye, and the bottom-sixteen would play either a three game or a five game series. There are a few ideas here, deciding between conference rankings versus overall rankings, etc. Also given the uneven schedule, points-percentage would be used. There are also considerations for division finish, which haven’t been accounted for.
Conference Based Points
In this scenario, the Rangers would get Toronto in the first round, a matchup that is pretty good for the Blueshirts. Toronto has bad goaltending and bad defense, but has a high flying offense that can put up goals quickly. This would be a track meet of a series. The winner would face Washington, assuming there is no reseeding. They’d be the “6 seed” in the standard eight-team format.
This may be the rose colored glasses talking, but that path bodes well for the Rangers. Two high paced teams with questionable goaltending. Of course the next round would like be against Philly, who wiped the floor with the Rangers just before the season was suspended.
This is where things get a little interesting. Going with straight points-percentage and not accounting for conference or division finish, your top eight teams are, in order, Boston, St. Louis, Tampa, Colorado, Washington, Philly, Pittsburgh, and Vegas. The Rangers would be ranked 18th in this scenario.
As the 18th ranked team, the Blueshirts would get the 15th ranked team in Vancouver in the three game set. The winner would get the defending Stanley Cup champs, and the #2 overall seed in St. Louis. Winner there gets Boston. Certainly a much more difficult route.
There is still a lot more to come obviously. We don’t even know if the season will resume. The NBA has communicated that a mid-June start time is the best case scenario for their league, and it makes sense that the NHL would follow the same protocol. Does that mean the season extends into July? What happens to the draft? Free agency? How do the current contracts play out, since they all expire on June 30?