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24-Team Playoffs Coming to the NHL?

There is talk today about the NHL working on a 24-team playoff format to award a team the Stanley Cup and be as fair to as many contending teams as possible.

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While there is talk the NHL is looking at multiple scenarios in an attempt to get the Stanley Cup Playoffs in this season, one idea that is reportedly getting a serious look is a 24-team playoff format. The news was first broken by Sport-Express hockey writer Igor Eronko and then confirmed by a number of other NHL insiders.

Confirmed details are scarce but Eronko speculated that a 24-team playoff might include a playout round. That playout round would then see 24 teams worked down to 16 teams where the “real playoffs” would begin.

This format would allow the NHL to deal with the questions surrounding teams that were on the bubble of the playoffs before the regular season was suspended. How those 24 teams would be selected then becomes the real question. Would it be based on banked points? Points-per-game? Winning percentage?…

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One likely school of thought is that the NHL would stick with the idea of conferences and divisions and choose twelve representatives from each conference and divisional leaders have automatic playoff berths.

And, from what information is out there, the NHL is less worried about ruffling feathers with some teams about home-ice advantage or other intricacies of the playoff format, simply because everyone is talking the short term and a justifiable situation that isn’t likely to repeat itself. Therefore trying to compensate teams in every conceivable way who finished 15-or-more points over others who were allowed in when they might not normally be isn’t a high priority issue. The idea here is to get creative, ensure the league doesn’t lose a ton of money and award someone the Stanley Cup.

Regardless of how this all goes down, some teams will get favorable match-ups while other teams think they’ve been shafted.

Related: Who Are the Three Best Ottawa Senators Players in NHL History?

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