NHL News: League Makes a Plan to Return, Extended Playoff Format, and More!

Apr 20, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; The St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) and center Ryan O'Reilly (90) and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) celebrate as they defeat the Winnipeg Jets and win the series in game six of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from the NHL on a return to play, but Tuesday was a historic day for the league. While all other sports leagues struggle to find a way to get their respective seasons off of the floor, the NHL has locked in a plan that will move forward as soon as they are able to.

The Return to Play Plan

  • The first thing to note about the NHL’s plan is that not every team will be making a return. There are seven teams that did not qualify for the playoff format, and the league will opt to go directly into the playoffs rather than finishing out any remaining games.
  • The league will also opt for hub cities, an idea being kicked around basically every pro sports league. It’s unclear where the hubs will be, but there will be two of them. Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and Toronto are all possible locations being considered at the moment.
  • The playoff format will consist of a qualifying round and seeding round-robin games. There will be 24 teams in total that take part in the playoffs. The 12 qualifying teams from the Eastern and Western conferences were determined by points percentage as of that date.
  • In the Western Conference, the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, and Dallas Stars will each have a bye and play a round-robin to determine their seeding order.
  • In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Philadelphia Flyers will each have a bye and play each other once to determine the order of the top four seeds.

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All of that news and more, this week in the NHL! Check back weekly with GMS Sports for the most up-to-date information on your favorite sports.

Written by Brook Smith


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