What a 24-Team NHL Playoffs Would Look Like – While nothing is official, things are looking pretty good for the NHL’s return. Ted Leonsis, the majority owner of the Washington Capitals and Wizards said on a recent interview on CNN that he believed both the NHL and NBA 2019-2020 seasons will be completed without fans.

What a 24-Team NHL Playoffs Would Look Like


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What a 24-Team NHL Playoffs Would Look Like

Many ideas have surfaced about how the NHL will return such as playing all games in North Dakota; however, the most popular and likely idea right now seems to be a 24-Team playoff. 

Many people are curious about what a 24-Team Playoff would entail, especially considering the playoffs would involve more than 77% of the teams in the NHL. 

In this scenario, the NHL would forego the remainder of the regular season. There would be 4 tournaments, one for each division, and they would be played in one host city. The likely host cities will be Tampa Bay (Atlantic), Raleigh (Metropolitan), St. Paul, MN (Central), and Edmonton (Pacific). There would be the top 6 teams from each division playing to get into the round of 16 that the Stanley Cup Playoffs usually is.

The teams would be seeded in the division tournaments based on their point percentage at the end of the regular season. The matchups would be the 1 seed vs. the 2 seed, the 3 seed vs. the 6 seed, and the 4 seed vs. the 5 seed. All three matchups would be best 2 out of 3 series. The 1 seed will play the 2 seed for the division title and seeding in the next round. Meanwhile, the 3-6 seeds will play in elimination matchups to see who advances to the round of 16. 

The next round, the round of 16, will feature matchups between the winner of the 1 vs. 2 series and the lowest remaining seed, and the loser of the 1 vs. 2 series and the second-lowest remaining seed for each division.

Here are what the matchups would be for each division. 

Atlantic Division

Bruins (1) vs. Lightning (2) (Division title matchup)


Maple Leafs (3) vs. Sabres (6) (Elimination matchup)

Panthers (4) vs. Canadians (5) (Elimination matchup)

Eliminated: Senators and Red Wings

Metropolitan Division

Capitals (1) vs. Flyers (2) (Division title matchup)

Penguins (3) vs. Blue Jackets (6) (Elimination matchup)

Hurricanes (4) vs. Islanders (5) (Elimination matchup)

Eliminated: Rangers and Devils

Central Division

Blues (1) vs. Avalanche (2) (Division title matchup)

Stars (3) vs. Wild (6) (Elimination matchup)

Predators (4) vs. Jets (5) (Elimination matchup)


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Eliminated: Blackhawks

Pacific Division

Golden Knights (1) vs. Oilers (2) (Division title matchup)


Canucks (3) vs. Ducks (6) (Elimination matchup)

Flames (4) vs. Coyotes (5) (Elimination matchup)

Eliminated: Kings and Sharks

The 24-team playoff will probably be the format if the NHL season resumes, as it would allow the league to shorten the season while giving worse teams a chance to compete in the playoffs. 

No matter how it returns, NHL fans are anxious and hopeful for the league to resume.

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