As various leagues inch closer to agreeing on parameters for a return to play, the NHL is currently focused on a playoff format.
The players association is voting this week on a league proposed 24-team, conference-based bracket that would see the top four seeds receive byes. Seeds 5 through 12 would then play a best-of-five play-in series to round out the competition.
With the Flyers sitting on 89 points at the time of the COVID-19 postponement, they would go in as #4 in the East:
As per @FriedgeHNIC and @reporterchris, the NHL and NHLPA are working on various Stanley Cup Playoff scenarios. Here's what a 24-team, conference-based setup with a play-in round could potentially look like.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 21, 2020
They would play the winner of the Penguins/Habs series under this scenario, which players are voting on right now. Results are expected at some point tonight.
Series best-of-five in the “play-in,” and best-of-seven after.
Teams and players initially balked at this idea because they didn’t like byes. Those concerns are alleviated by the fact the top four will play each other once while the eight series begin. (That tracks with the belief this will be a “two-hub” system, not four.) The league wants those games to matter. I’m not sure how previous regular-season performance will affect all this. As an example, the Avalanche were two points back of the Blues with a game in hand. What formula will be created for them to have a chance at catching the West’s top seed?
The common theme across every sports league here is that the perfect proposal doesn’t exist. You’re just not going to come up with a scenario that’s suitable for everybody, so it is what it is. We’ve never had to accommodate for a global pandemic, so it’s uncharted territory here and once we all accept that, we figure out the compromise and move forward.