Word is filtering out that the NHL is tinkering with coming back and concluding the season with a 24 team playoff. 4 teams in each conference would get a bye, with the other 8 teams playing a 5 game series, with all other series going 7 games.
I haven’t seen anything about re-seeding, but I’m going to assume there is, as teams would likely be playing all their games in the same arenas anyways, so nothing would need to be “fixed” per se. Given that the league has been out of commission for months now, it could certainly lead any direction.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to simulate the playoffs using whatifsports.com. They don’t have rosters available for the 2019-20 season , so I had to use last years rosters, but the way I see it, it doesn’t matter. Most of the players are going to be the same year over year, but none of thse teams will be the same after taking some time off a the world deals with a pandemic anyways. So let’s have some meaningless fun, and let the Canadiens and Blackhawks have a chance at something.
Montreal 3 over Pittsburgh 2 – The 12 seed wins the first winner in the east, and would definitely move on to play the Capitals.
Carolina 3 over New York Rangers 0 – Not really close
New York Islanders 3, Florida 0 – Even less close
Columbus 3, Toronto 2 – Both of the lower seeds that won their series did so in 5 games.
Edmonton 3, Chicago 1 – The Oilers won a series!
Nashville 3, Arizona 1 – This is still just a weird series to me.
Vancouver 3, Minnesota 0 – I believe the Wild were the least effective on offense through their first round series. That tracks.
Calgary 3, Winnipeg 2 – Every lower seed won in the West.
Montreal 4, Washington 3 – The Washington Capitals have no become the first 1 seed to lose to a 12 seed in NHL history.
Boston 4, Columbus 0 – The Blue Jackets didn’t score during the first two games of this series. Not great!
Tampa Bay 4, New York Islanders 0 – After sweeping the Panthers, it appears that the Islanders work only in absolutes against teams from Florida.
Philadelphia 4, Carolina 1 – Thank you, WhatIf, as this definitely wouldn’t have happened last year, so thanks for getting it “right” for this simulation.
Calgary 4. St. Louis 0 – The Blues are the defending champs, but apparently this layoff has reset the world so it’s the Blues we are used to, back again.
Colorado 4, Vancouver 0 – As a Wild fan, the only thing better than Colorado getting swept is Vancouver getting swept.
Nashville 4, Vegas 2 – The Predators are a better team than we remember, I think, and a playoff breakout wouldn’t have surprised me.
Edmonton 4, Dallas 3 – I don’t know if you were paying attention, but we are inching towards a Battle of Alberta for the Western Conference.
Boston 4, Montreal 0 – The Canadiens’ wild ride ends under a sledgehammer from the Bruins
Tampa Bay 4, Philadelphia 0 – The Lightning won the first two games 14 – 0 combined.
Calgary 4, Colorado 0 – The Flames were really good last year, which is throwing off our simulation, I think. More importantly, we are half way to the Battle of Alberta.
Nashville 4, Edmonton 0 – Oh. OK.
Tampa Bay 4, Boston 2 – Finally, both squads get a battle for their series. The Lightning secure their spot in the Finals.
Calgary 4, Nashville 0 – The only team that has given the Flames fits was Winnipeg in the opening round.
Stanley Cup Final
Tampa Bay 4, Calgary 0 – That was a let down, to be sure. But I would say Tampa Bay trouncnig Calgary is definitely the rematch we all wanted to see.
I think this was a little instrutive. First, the opening round could eliminate some pretty good teams, but it will also serve as a training ground for returning athletes. But other than that, don’t read too much into this. The Wild are definitely winning the Cup