The AJLNH Executive Council votes on the proposed 24-team playoff format


The NHLPA board of directors is voting on the proposed 24-team back-to-play format, sources told Chris Johnston of Sportsnet. Voting is underway and results are not expected until Friday.

If the vote is successful, there are still details to be worked out with the NHL. According to the proposed framework, as reported by Elliotte Friedman on Wednesday, the top four seeded – based on percentage points – in the East and West qualify for the post-season. The next eight teams from each conference will participate in a top five play-in series, with the winners competing against the top seeds in each conference.

The top four in the west and the top four in the east would be granted a pass for participating in this playoff tournament, but would play matches against each other before the playoffs begin.

In the Eastern Conference, the first round will take place as follows:

• 5. Pittsburgh c. 12. Montreal (the winner plays four seeds)
• 6. Caroline against 11. Rangers (the winner plays three seeds)
• 7. Islanders against 10. Florida (the winner plays two seeds)
• 8. Toronto v. 9. Columbus (the winner plays a seed)

And the opening round of the Western Conference will be as follows:

• 5. Edmonton vs 12. Chicago (the winner plays four seeds)
• 6. Nashville versus 11. Arizona (the winner plays three seeds)
• 7. Vancouver v. 10. Minnesota (the winner plays two seeds)
• 8. Calgary v. 9. Winnipeg (the winner plays a seed)

Once the play-in tournament is over, the playoffs will be “in parentheses” – similar to what is done in the NCAA tournament – which means that one of the top four teams from East or West could in fact find themselves facing the lowest number of seeds following the game round. For example, the seed 4 could face the seed 12 Montreal (in the event that the Canadian succeeds in upsetting the head No. 5 Pittsburgh) while No. 1 seed would be left to No. 8 vs No. Toronto winner. 9 Columbus.

While agreeing on a playoff framework is a significant step forward, there are other essentials that should still be resolved, such as test protocols, vias and whether the league intends whether or not to use hub cities.

The NHL still does not have a clear timetable for when it will be able to resume operations after stopping its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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