NHLPA Gives a Green Light for 24-Team Playoffs to Resume the 2019/20 Season

Washington Capitals with 2018 Stanley Cup trophy. Photo by John Crouch/Cal Sport Media/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

The resume of the NHL season might see more teams getting in the Stanley Cup race than ever before. The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced on Monday that they have voted in favor of having 24-team playoffs as part of the efforts to finish out 2019/20.

According to the plan, the season would resume immediately with the playoffs, which would see 24 teams taking part. The top four seeded teams from each conference would get the boot in the first round, while teams currently seeded from 5th to 12th position would meet in the five-game series. The winners of the first round would then play the top-seeded teams in a standard Stanley Cup playoff format of 16 teams.

“The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the winner of the 2020 Stanley Cup,” an NHLPA statement reads. “Several details remain to be negotiated, and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play.”

This format, however, is still yet to be put in front of the league for voting. NHL is reportedly in favor of the proposal, as it would include the teams that have realistic chances of getting to the postseason but wouldn’t make it 2019/20 season would resume with traditional 16-team playoffs.

NHL is currently discussing several options for season resume, but the most likely outcome seems to be a centralized approach. According to sources, the league would choose two cities in which it would gather teams and play out all the games. Reportedly, nine cities are being considered, with Las Vegas being the overwhelming favorite.