With time passing, the NHL seems to be leaning towards a 24-team Stanley Cup Playoff format, and if so, the Montreal Canadiens need to be prepared.
A 24-team Stanley Cup Playoff format was one of the first things brought to the hockey hub of fan discussion in the relatively early stages of the pause. That way, the teams who were meant to make the playoffs would, the teams who were close to the prize would and the NHL could generate a little extra revenue by having the top markets included. As much as it is about the game, it’s also about the dollars and cents, and let’s face it, having the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs generates more of it.
With the calendar striking May, the possibility of a return to the regular season has become dimmer and dimmer. It’s gotten to the point of there not being a point of having every single team play games, especially those who were lottery-bound. Not to mention the fact that it looks as if the draft is going to take place before hockey does.
Elliotte Friedman touched on the 24-team playoffs in his latest post with an updated view on how it could work out. Initially, the idea was to seed teams based on points-percentage. The four top teams in each division would get a bye while the remaining eight square off in a best of three series. That format would’ve had the Montreal Canadiens take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Friedman detailed an updated version that could see the Habs take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs, something that hasn’t happened since 1979.