NHL Announces 24-Team 2020 Playoffs Format

Thursday, 28 May, 2020

Although there is sentiment is come circles to call off the balance of the 2019-20 season and focus on the next one, Bettman said that resuming play has widespread support. It's not clear how long they would need before returning to actual games.

The expanded postseason tournament will feature the top 12 teams in each conference as of March 11, the day before the season was suspended.

Washington Capitals legend Alexander Ovechkin and Bruins star Richard Pastrnak have finished the regular season as joint top-scorers and will share the Maurice Richard Trophy.

The opening round will be a best-of-5 series.

In addition to eight more teams than normal, the playoffs will also feature an altered format. No dates have been set for the draft lottery or draft, the start of Phase 2 and small groups of players going through voluntary workouts, the start of team training camps and the first actual hockey games.

The NHL is the first sports league in North America that has laid out a detailed plan on returning to action.

One thing Hurricanes fans should know: Carolina, which opposed the 24-team format, will face the New York Rangers in a best-of-five qualifying round.

The bottom eight teams on each side will pair off in a best-of-five play-in series with playoff overtime rules.

As pointed out by Pierre LeBrun, this means regular-season player stats are done and awards can be voted on and awarded before the season resumes.

The seven teams that have not made the playoffs will automatically enter the draft lottery.

The 28-29-12 Devils just missed sneaking into the playoffs thanks to their 6-2-2 run heading into the pause.

In the West, it would be No. 5 Edmonton vs.

Where will the playoffs be played?

On Tuesday, Bettman said that 10 different cities were now being considered as potential hub. One hub city will host the Western Conference teams while the other hosts the Eastern Conference, though both hubs could be in markets from the same conference, according to Bettman, who added that each club will be limited to bringing no more than 50 club personnel to each hub location. A comprehensive system of testing will be in place in each hub city, which Bettman says is narrowed down to the following: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Vancouver.