NHL, NHLPA come to an agreement on playoff format


FILE – In this May 27, 2019, file photo, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks to the media before Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final between the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins in Boston. The most aggressive timetable, a person familiar with discussions told The Associated Press, would have players returning to their home rinks as early as May 15, followed by a training camp and possible exhibition games in June. Bettman emphasized no decisions have been made and cautioned government and medical officials will ultimately make the call on when sports can return. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- The NHL already revealed its plan to resume the 2019-20 season with 24 teams participating, and on Thursday the league put out more details regarding the playoff format.

The qualifying round will be a best-of-five series, while the following four playoff rounds using the best-of-seven format. Teams will also be reseeded at the end of each round. The NHL announced on May 26 it was wiping out the remainder of the regular season. Instead, the top 12 teams in each conference will move to a hub city for a modified tournament.

The leagues top four teams will battle to determine seeding in the first round and the other eight teams will meet in the qualifying round, with the results leading to a more traditional playoff bracket.

This represents a return to the old approach the NHL used prior to realignment for the 2013-14 season, when teams were reseeded following the conclusion of each round. More recently, the postseason has had a more rigid format.The round-robin and qualifying rounds will serve as a sort of warm-up as well.

The date on when play will resume remains unknown, but with the NHL having a ‘Return To Play Plan’ broken up to four phases, it looks like Phase 3 will include an official training camp, but sources say that camps aren’t expected to open up until at least July 10th.

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