Voting is currently underway on the proposed 24-team Playoff format, and it could push the Vegas Golden Knights closer to a return to action this year.
We mapped out on Thursday the details of a 24-team postseason that has been discussed between the NHL and the NHLPA Return to Play Committee, with the Vegas Golden Knights set to benefit from a bye as a top seed.
It is important to note that players are only voting on the fine intricacies of the format, including the top-four teams in each conference play each other while the other 16 teams contest a Play-In round.
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It has been suggested that the top seeds, which would include the Golden Knights, would play a three-game tournament against in-conference teams and that could dictate seeding.
As is the case with everything right now, a lot still needs to be thrashed out even if the players decide to give the 24-team Playoff format the green light.
Seeding and the finer logistics of the postseason format itself, in addition to key details such as Hub Cities and Testing will also need to agreed upon before the 2019-20 season can resume.
Then there is the small matter of agreeing on a Training Camp for players, which would likely get underway at some point in early June.
In other words, even if the 24-team format passes there is still a lot of work to be done before we can look forward to seeing live hockey again.
However, as mentioned in other pieces on this website, we seem to be finally nearing a concrete solution to hockey returning and that is a major positive.
Rewind back to early April and I must admit I had my reservations on if the 2019-20 NHL season could be salvaged.
Things are now moving quickly, though, and it appears as though we could see the Golden Knights back on the ice sooner rather than later.
They are sitting pretty if the 24-team format goes ahead too, given that they will get a bye while also being given the chance to get some games in before delving into the postseason in order to shake off any rink rust.
Granted, the way the seeding has currently been laid out, the Golden Knights would face a tougher matchup in the First Round of the postseason.
They would either face the Nashville Predators who have a loaded roster stacked with firepower, or the Arizona Coyotes who boast Taylor Hall and Phil Kessel who could both be huge factors in the Playoffs.
However, in order to be the best you have to beat the best and the Knights certainly have the firepower, the star power and the weapons in net to be able to navigate whatever obstacles are put in their way.
Plus, it could well be that the Golden Knights get to play on home ice if Vega is chosen as one of the Hub Cities the NHL plans on using in order to stage the 2019-20 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
While there would be no fans in T-Mobile Arena, and that certainly acts as a notable hurdle, the Golden Knights will still be in similar surroundings and that won’t be the case for most of the teams involved in the postseason.
Overall, the last few days have brought plenty of hope to the Vegas Golden Knights and Friday could be the day that officially marks the countdown to a concrete date for the return of hockey this year.
Let’s hope that’s the case.