If the NHL is able to resume the 2019-20 season, one idea reportedly receiving consideration would be moving right into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Per Larry Brooks of the New York Post, the postseason would feature 24 teams and a best-of-three play-in round.
There's no indication when the NHL might be able to restart its season, with Brooks noting players are still under a stay-at-home advisory that could be updated "within the week."
Per TSN's Frank Seravalli, the NHL issued a memo to teams and players in April that stated "provided we continue to trend favorably" facilities could be opened in the "mid-to-later portion of May."
According to Brooks, the playoff scenario has picked up steam for a number of reasons, which include condensing the schedule to guard against the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19, not having to reassemble teams that have no chance of making the postseason to play regular-season games that mean nothing and not wanting to quarantine multiple teams in a hub city for several months.
It's unclear what format a 24-team playoff could take—the two most likely scenarios would be the top 12 teams in each conference or the top six teams in each division. The 12-team format would include every club with a .500 or better record when the season was suspended March 12.
The NHL has already postponed the scouting combine (originally scheduled for June 1-6) and 2020 draft (originally scheduled for June 26-27), as well as canceled the NHL awards show set for June 18.