As ideas get tossed around to resume the NHL season, Mark Spector noted a popular method of restarting the season would have the top-six teams in each division, as currently situated, compete in a modified playoffs. The seventh and eighth placed teams would be out of the playoffs. The rest of the regular season would be canceled in this scenario.
For the Rangers, this would mean they finish outside of the playoffs, despite being one point behind the Islanders (Isles have two games in hand) and two points behind the Blue Jackets with a head-to-head matchup likely getting canceled. This would also mean the Anaheim Ducks and their 72 points would make the playoffs. Not ideal, but we’ve seen this happen already with the current wild card format. Rarely do the top-16 teams in the league actually make the playoffs.
The consolation prize for the Rangers would, at least we assume, be a top-seven pick in a loaded draft, whenever that occurs. That gives the Rangers the potential for another pick with an elite level ceiling, much like Kaapo Kakko. That’s a solid consolation prize for what would have been a first round exit (most likely).
The biggest concern with the above plan isn’t the one team that feels left out, it’s the hundreds of millions of lost revenue by basically cancelling the remainder of the regular season. Even teams like Ottawa miss out on revenue from TV deals, concessions, and ticket sales by cancelling their remaining games.
Nothing is set in stone, and the league does have a little bit of time to make a decision. Most states don’t “open” until mid-May or early-June. If the league is really willing to let this go into this coming Fall, then there is no need to rush the decision. We are going to hear a lot of proposals over the next few weeks. It’s going to be tough to see which proposal is actually the leader.