Playoff Format
AP Photo/Hannah Foslien

NHL work out Playoff Format

The NHL playoffs will be re-seeded after every round, with the news being broken Thursday morning by Elliotte Friedman. The Sportsnet reporter who also co-host’s the 31 Thoughts Podcast with Jeff Marek tweeted that a resolution had been found between the NHLPA and the NHL in regards to how this year’s playoff format would work.

With the extended format for this year’s playoffs, one point of contention between the players and NHL was how each round would be worked. The NHL wanted it to be bracketed like previous years so a set timeline could be laid out, but with the forced changes due to COVID-19 that saw the playoffs grow by eight teams the NHLPA wanted to adjust it to re-seeding after every round, and it seems they got their way.

This means the top seed will play the lowest seed in each round compared to previous years where brackets meant a number one and number two seed could meet in the second round. The play in rounds will be the best of five series while all games thereafter will follow the usual best of seven formats. Meanwhile, the top four seeds in each conference will be determined by the round-robin tournament laid out by Gary Bettman in the return to play announcement last week. As reported by Sportsnet’s Chris Johnson regular-season points percentage will serve as the tie-breaker if needed.

Still to come from the NHL is the start of training camps (Phase III) which won’t start before July 10th according to Friedman

Bettman announces NHL return, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions

While the last decision will likely be what hub cities to use (Phase IV), with Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Vancouver all on the shortlist. All things considered, it’s not likely we see an NHL game on TV until late July/Early August.