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NHL Reportedly Considering 24-Team Stanley Cup Playoff to Finish 2019-20 Season

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

Fans pose below the NHL league logo at a display outside Falcon Stadium before an NHL Stadium Series outdoor hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, at Air Force Academy, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

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. 

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