NHL, players’ union discuss expanding playoffs to 20 teams
New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Apart from trying to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, the NHL and the players’ union are also discussing the possibility of expanding the playoffs to 20 teams.
According to Sportsnets’ Nick Kypreos, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association are having their own internal discussion about adding four more teams in the postseason.
Under the current league format, 16 of 30 NHL teams make it to the playoffs.
It is not yet known if the expanded playoff plan will be implemented this season, if it ever pushes through, or when the four-conference setup is put in place.
Last year, the NHL Board of Governors approved a radical realignment plan that features four conferences based primarily on geography. Two conferences will have eight teams and the other two conferences will have seven teams.
The NHL intended the four-conference set-up to be in place starting with the 2012-13 season. However, its implementation has been stalled due to the lockout.
Recently, Major League Baseball introduced an expanded playoff system as part of its new CBA, with one-game playoffs between two wild card teams in each league.
If it pushes through, the NHL’s expanded playoff plan will provide additional revenue and fewer fans will not give up early on their teams during the regular season.
However, critics are wondering how the NHL would handle the setup with 20 teams in the playoffs.
Also, skeptics are saying that it could decrease the importance of the regular season, with 67 percent of the league getting an opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup.
If additional teams are added, mediocre clubs would have an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup that they don’t deserve.
Aside from this, scheduling will also be a problem for the league. With an expanded playoff and depending on how series will go, the usual schedule will not be met.
The Stanley Cup final usually ends in the middle of June so the draft can be held at the end of the month with free agency beginning in July 1.