It’s official, the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to return to play with a 24 team tournament! The regular season will end as is and we will have a 24 team playoff. This is the format, as we know it today. The top 4 teams from each conference will play a round-robin tournament to decide seeding in each conference, and we will see a best of 5 series with the remaining 16 teams. These are the tentative matchups. I call these tentative, as these matchups that have been proposed, but this is yet to be finalized by the NHL, and they don’t’ directly match up to the current standings.


Eastern Conference

Top 4 Seeds: Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Philadelphia

Pittsburgh vs Montreal

Carolina vs New York Rangers

New York Islanders vs Florida

Toronto vs Columbus


Western Conference

Top 4 Seeds: St.Louis, Colorado, Vegas, Dallas

Edmonton vs Chicago

Nashville vs Arizona

Vancouver vs Minnesota

Calgary vs Winnipeg

If these are the matchups that we see play out, there will be some fun series to follow and storylines that will go along with them. We do not yet know where these games will be played, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was quoted earlier in the week noting that they are looking at "probably eight or nine different places" that can accommodate "a dozen or so teams in one location". Buckle up! Hockey is coming back, and when it does it will be coming at your quickly with a lot of games to play in what is likely to be a condensed schedule.