NHL Bidding War

Photo: AP

By Michael Walters

As the NHL continues to try to figure out how to conclude the 2019-20 season, Richard Gonzalez and I offered up some solutions on the recent episodes of the DucksNPucks Podcast. We both felt the league could forego the regular season and go straight to playoffs with obviously some type of minicamp beforehand.

Some formats we discussed would include a shortening of the first two rounds to five-game series instead of seven. We also discussed the idea of making the Conference Finals five games instead of seven as well. The overall thought process is to still finish the playoffs, but in a condensed format regardless of how many games each series will need to have played.

As far as who would make the playoffs? We discussed two options: one would be to go with the regular format with 16 teams playing, 8 from each conference based upon the current system in place. The second idea was to go with just the top 8 teams in each conference similar to how the league used to do it years ago.

Another idea the league is discussing was brought to the forefront today by Sportsnet’s Mark Spector. If the regular season was canceled, then the league’s current popular playoff scenario would be the following: The top 6 teams from each Division meet in one city. They would open with best-of-three series between the number 1 and 2 seeds to decide a Division winner, while number 3 meets 6 and 4 meets 5 for the right to keep playing.

According to Mark Spector, there is a bidding war between nine and 12 teams to host the proposed four NHL playoff “tournaments” to conclude the season. The selection of the cities would have to be approved by health authorities. Regardless of the plan to finish the season, arranging travel, food, hotels, etc would all have to be done while ensuring the safety of the players.

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It’s a strange format in which the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks would be playoff teams, while the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks would be out. The Ducks currently sit at 6th in the Pacific Division but are 11 points out of a wild-card spot. The Sabres are in 6th place in the Atlantic Division and are 13 points out of a wild-card spot. The Rangers have 11 more points than the Sabres and the Blackhawks have five more points than the Ducks, but both would be out under this format.

Obviously, the Rangers and Blackhawks would likely cry foul, but also what about draft positioning?

The Anaheim Ducks are looking to get at least a top-five pick in the draft lottery, being the 27th worst team in the league. If they were able to be in some type of playoff, then their draft pick would be a few spots lower. If the Ducks got bounced out of the playoffs immediately, then they would likely have the 9th pick in the upcoming draft under this latest format.

The only way the current draft spots would remain unaffected is if the league still plans on holding the entry draft in June, which has been discussed. The NHL has thought about having the draft and then finishing the 2019-20 season afterward, which brings on a whole another set of issues.

The league should consider trying to figure what they are going to do with the 2019-20 season first and then schedule the draft accordingly.

Statement From NHLPA:

The “Return To Play Committee” met again today. Currently, the league is in Phase 1, which is isolation and is working on Phase 2, which allows players to practice in small groups. Phase 3 would include the opening of training camps and the last step would be Phase 4, which would be the NHL resuming play.

In a statement today, the committee said the league is working on a transition to Phase 2 some time in mid to late May. The NHL and NHLPA have not made any decisions on when the league will actually resume playing. The committee plans to continue to meet regularly.

For more discussion click below or visit us at PodomaticSpreaker, or YouTube.

Recent Articles:

NHL 2020-21 Season To Start In December?

NHL & NHLPA Form “Return To Play Committee”

NHL Looking To Host Games At League Arenas

The Draft Still On For June?

NHL Extends Self-Quarantine Until April 30th

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April 29th, 2020


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