Colorado Avalanche: Evaluation of Proposed 24-Team Playoff Format

The Colorado Avalanche might play a couple games for seeding before facing the winner of a play-in round based on the current 24-team playoff proposal.

The Colorado Avalanche are in day 60-something of the NHL-mandated season pause. The players are scattered across North America and Europe with very few here in Colorado.

Meanwhile, the NHL and NHLPA, via the Return to Play committee, have released a proposal for what the 24-team, conference-based playoff format could look like.

Here it is:

At first blush, I’d though the top four teams in each conference were going to continue kicking it while the bubble teams played for a playoff position. However, that’s not how it works. While the bubble teams are playing, the top-seeded teams will play each other to see how they’ll be seeded.

I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work. At first I thought the Avalanche would play the Blues in a best-of series with the winner taking first and second or third seeds. However, according to Sportsnet, all four teams will play each other.

In other words, the Colorado Avalanche will play the St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, and Vegas Golden Knights. Oy vey. Luckily, it’s just for playoff seeding. No one will get eliminated from the playoffs based on the results of these games.

I’m not sure how many times they’d play each other. The Sportsnet article makes it sound like it might be a one-and-done situation. Or maybe the winner of the Avs-Blues series plays the winner of the Stars-Knights series, Olympics style. So, the “Bronze Medal” games will be for seeds three and four.

Now, this kind of format is only possible because the NHL has changed from desiring a four-hub scenario to two hubs, one for each conference. Therefore, 12 NHL teams will be located in that city and playing games in that building.

Meanwhile, 16 teams will be playing a series to see who makes the playoffs. In the Western Conference, it looks like this:

8-Calgary Flames vs 9-Winnipeg Jets
5-Edmonton Oilers vs 12-Chicago Blackhawks
7-Vancouver Canucks vs 10 Minnesota Wild
6-Nashville Predators vs 11 Arizona Coyotes

I like every single one of those opponents better than facing Dallas in the first round. So, I’ve officially warmed up to the idea of a 24-team format as long as the Avalanche get a couple games in (for seeding) before games become super-meaningful.

I feel pretty strongly the NHL season will resume. And I like the Colorado Avalanche’s change of taking the playoffs all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals and victory. And you can take your asterisk and shoot it straight into the sun. The Stanley Cup has been awarded over 100 times since 1893 (including two and three times a year in the 1800s), so there is no traditional way.

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