Under the plan, byes into the second round would go to the top four seeds in each conference based on points percentage as of March 12, when the National Hockey League paused the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
TSN's Bob McKenzie was first to report that the NHLPA's executive board would agree to the basic framework of the league's plans to conclude the 2019-20 season, and hours later the NHLPA confirmed on Twitter that it will move forward with negotiations based on the 24-team format.
The NHLPA's executive board reportedly held a conference call to discuss the league's 24-team playoff format Thursday night, after which it initiated a vote. "Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play", the union's statement read.
Earlier this week, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the season could resume with games being played in centralized locations.
The next step would have the Return To Play committee sort out a host of other issues, ranging from health and safety protocols to determining where games will be played, with the league preparing to group teams in a select number of hub cities. From there, traditional best-of-seven series would follow through the Stanley Cup Final. The Flyers have a bye as the second-placed team in the Metropolitan Division. The top four teams in each conference, as determined by points percentage, would play a round-robin series against one another that could affect their seeding; the other eight teams would play a best-of-five series to determine who would advance and face the top four teams.
Las Vegas has become the city most mentioned as a potential site, particularly because of its large concentration of hotels that could house numerous teams.
The 24-team playoff format would see 12 clubs from both the Eastern and Western Conference battle for the Cup in a tournament that could stretch deep into the fall or early winter. The play-in series in the West would be: No. 8 Calgary vs. No. 12 Chicago, No. 7 Vancouver vs. No. 9 Columbus, No. 5 Pittsburgh vs.