Photo: Scott Audette/Getty Images
According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, the NHL, GMs, and governors are talking about the eight teams that would earn byes from the play-in round playing three games against the other inter-conference teams to determine seeding for the tournament.
If that were the case, the Washington Capitals would play a game each against the Boston Bruins (who were first in the Eastern Conference at the time the NHL paused), Tampa Bay Lightning (second), and Philadelphia Flyers (fourth). The Capitals could move up to second as they were only two points behind the Lightning with a game in hand but also move down to fourth as the Flyers were just a point behind them with both teams playing 69 games before the NHL paused. The Bruins are locked into first in the Eastern Conference (and the NHL), the Lightning could move as low as fourth, and the Flyers could finish as high as second.
The games would take place in the neutral site where the entirety of the Eastern Conference teams will play their Stanley Cup Playoff games. Multiple cities, including Las Vegas, Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, St. Paul, and Dallas, are in consideration to become one of two cities to host these games.
Players, GMs, and governors from the eight teams with a bye feared that having one would give them a disadvantage since the other 16 would get somewhere between three to five games already under their belts before them while they wouldn’t have played a game since the second week of March. The NHL and NHLPA are getting closer to an agreement on a format.
Out west, this means that the St. Louis Blues (first), Colorado Avalanche (second), Vegas Golden Knights (third), and Dallas Stars (fourth) would all play games against one another before the postseason officially began for them. The Blues could finish as low as second and the Avalanche as high as first but they are guaranteed at least a tie for second in the West. The highest that the Golden Knights could move up is a tie for second in the conference with the Avalanche and the lowest they could move down is fourth. The Stars could finish as high as third.
Johnston noted that “there’s been a lot of moving parts to these discussions” but nothing is decided yet.
To see the matchups for the play-in round, which would be a best-of-five, click here.
By Harrison Brown