The Colorado Avalanche could benefit from a 24-team playoff scenario. Or it could make them have to wait too long to get re-started.
The Colorado Avalanche and entire NHL are in Day 19 of the season pause. The league is still exploring scenarios that would allow it to meaningfully award the Stanley Cup this season.
One scenario that’s been floated out in the last week is a 24-team playoffs instead of the usual 16. The rationale is that there are two teams at least per division who technically have a chance to make a wild card berth.
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Right now in the Western Conference, the six teams who are in a battle for the two wild card berths are as follows:
- Winnipeg Jets: 37-28-6, 80 points, 71 games played
- Nashville Predators: 35-26-8, 78 points, 69 games played
- Vancouver Canucks: 36-27-6, 78 points, 69 games played
- Minnesota Wild: 35-27-7, 77 points, 69 games played
- Arizona Coyotes: 33-29-8, 74 points, 70 games played
- Chicago Blackhawks: 32-30-8, 72 points, 70 games played
Winnipeg and Nashville currently hold the two wild card spots. If the playoffs started in the traditional format, that’s who would make it in. Vancouver would have a legitimate gripe because they lose the tie-breaker of regulation wins.
So, the way it would work is the four teams that potentially could make the wild card if the season resumed would play against each other. The matchups would look like this:
12 – Chicago Blackhawks vs. 9 – Vancouver Canucks
11 – Arizona Coyotes vs. 10 – Minnesota Wild
I’m not sure if they’re considering a best-of-seven series for that scenario. Regardless, the winners from each head-to-head would play the two teams currently holding the wild card berths:
Lowest seed remaining vs. 7 – Winnipeg Jets
Highest seed remaining vs. 8 – Nashville Predators
Again, no idea if it would be a best-of-seven series.
Meanwhile, the teams who are seeded in their division slots would await the winners of these two play-in rounds. At that time, the normal format for the playoffs would begin.
- St. Louis Blues vs wild card 2
- Vegas Golden Knights vs wild card 1
- Colorado Avalanche vs Dallas Stars
- Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames
To be honest, this idea makes more sense than some other ideas, such as just resuming the season in June or July. Then again, seven teams don’t get to make any revenue from games and television because they don’t resume play in this format.
Likewise, I don’t know that this format is a time-saver. It isn’t if the two play-in rounds are best-of-seven series. The only thing it does is minimize travel. It does give the Colorado Avalanche two or three more weeks to get healthy. However, they should be healthy by June or July anyway. So maybe it’s just time for them to get rusty.
It also doesn’t give the Avalanche time to overtake the Blues for top of the Central Division, thus ensuring home ice advantage for three rounds. And not having to play the Stars, whom they haven’t beaten once this season.
Also, just to throw a little filip into the situation — at least the play-in rounds and maybe even the first round of the playoffs would probably be played with no crowds. No way the pandemic is over by June. In fact, the NHL has extended team self-isolation to April 15 because teams couldn’t legally open their facilities anyway.
So, what do you think of the 24-team playoff format? Do you think it’s good for the Colorado Avalanche?