NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman hosted a press conference Tuesday to announce the league’s plans to return to play, whenever that may be. There is no set timeline for when the NHL will return, as it is a fluid situation, but we now know what play will look like when it does.
First, the NHL regular season is over. The current regular season standings are officially the final standings and teams will be ranked in a 24-team playoff based on their current place in said standings.
12 teams from each conference now qualify for the post season. The bottom eight qualifying teams in each conference will play each other in a best-of-five series to see who advances to the next round. The No. 12 seed plays the No. 5 seed, the No. 11 seed plays the No. 6 seed and so on.
The top four teams in each conference will also play each other in the opening round, but it will be in a round-robin-style event to determine seeding for the Round 2. None of the top four teams will be eliminated in this round, no matter how poorly they play.
Below you can see how the seedings look for each conference:
From there, it will be an eight-team playoff in each conference, similar to how the usual Stanley Cup Playoffs operate. Bettman did say that he doesn’t know if the second round will be best of five or best of seven, but that the conference finals and the Staley Cup would be a best-of-seven format.
As mentioned before, there is no set timeline for the restart of play in the NHL, but Bettman said teams would not begin their training camps before July 1. The commissioner also said each conference will be assigned a hub city for the playoffs where all games will take place. There hasn’t been a final decision made on the cities yet, but Las Vegas, Toronto, Chicago, Columbus, Edmonton, Dallas, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Pittsburgh are all under consideration.
*Current NHL Stanley Cup Odds according to FanDuel
|Team||Stanley Cup Odds|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+600|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+850|
|St. Louis Blues||+1100|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+3000|
|New York Rangers||+4000|
|New York Islanders||+4200|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+6500|