The NHL is working on a plan for its return to action, and it now appears that the league is focused on starting the playoffs with no more regular season competitions.
There is clearly a desire to include as many teams as possible in this scenario to compensate for the fact that the end-of-season playoff races were terminated prematurely. That number appears to be 24 to 12 teams from each conference – with only seven NHL clubs failing to draw the Stanley Cup.
Today, a possible format has been proposed for seeding the 24 teams. The top four clubs from each conference would win a pass and the seeders five to twelve would pair for the playoffs.
The Montreal Canadiens are the 12th seeded in that lineout and would shoot fifth seeded, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in a short opening round. After the playoffs are over, the winner takes the top seed (for example, Montreal would become the number five seed if they beat Pittsburgh), then a typical eight-team conference line-up continues from there .
This is a first proposal. There is still time to modify, considerably modify or completely delete the format. This is the cover version of the season which all parties will debate over the next few days.
Eastern Conference Play-Ins
(1) Boston Bruins
(2) Tampa Bay Lightning
(3) Capitals of Washington
(4) Philadelphia Flyers
(5) Pittsburgh Penguins v. (12) Montreal Canadiens
(6) Carolina Hurricanes against (11) New York Rangers
(7) New York Islanders against (10) Florida Panthers
(8) Columbus Blue Jackets c. (9) Toronto Maple Leafs
Western Conference Play-Ins
(1) Blues of Saint-Louis
(2) Colorado Avalanche
(3) Vegas Golden Knights
(4) Dallas Stars
(5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (12) Chicago Blackhawks
(6) Nashville Predators against (11) Arizona Coyotes
(7) Vancouver Canucks v. (10) Minnesota Wild
(8) Flames of Calgary v. (9) Winnipeg Jets
(seeding based on a percentage of points)