Vegas Golden Knights: 24-team format approved, still lots to thrash out

Hockey and the Vegas Golden Knights are on the cusp of returning after the NHLPA gave the green light to a 24-team Playoff format proposal.

After talks really accelerated between the NHL and the NHLPA last week, a huge step forward was taken on Friday when it comes to the Vegas Golden Knights and the future of the 2019-20 season.

Only two teams – the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes – voted no to the 24-team Playoff format, with the National Hockey League also expected to approve the proposal in the coming days.

It is a gigantic momentum swing for the NHL and it now seems incredibly likely that we will see a Stanley Cup Champion crowned this summer.

We mapped out the 24-team Playoff format proposal in full, which you can read below:

For the Golden Knights, who are in their prime when it comes to their Stanley Cup window, this is also huge news and we seem to be closer to hockey returning than we’ve ever been since the sporting world went on lockdown back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Granted, there are still a bevy of issues facing both the NHL and the NHLPA, and those problems will need to be thrashed out and resolved before any concrete plans can be rubber-stamped.

The format itself still has a lot of kinks that need to be ironed out, including the finer details of a tournament between the top seeds, including the Golden Knights, while the 16 bubble teams contest Play-In games.

Will the three-game tournament between the top seeds dictate seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Will the format be bracketed or will there be re-seeding?

The Golden Knights, who would be crowned the winners of the Pacific Division in this instance, would be the third seed in the Western Conference and would face the winners of the Play-In between the Nashville Predators and the Arizona Coyotes, although that could change depending on if the three-game tournament has an impact on seeding.

All Play-In matchups will be a best-of-five with the format reverting back to a best-of-seven series once the more traditional 16-team postseason gets underway.

William Karlsson #71 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates with the puck against Cedric Paquette #13 and Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Other issues needing more attention range from Testing to the fate of the Hub Cities, with the Golden Knights still a leading contender to be the base for Western Conference teams.

In a nutshell, Friday’s successful vote was just a starting point and all parties involved will now need to get back to work in order to hammer out the finer details of the 24-team Playoff format and also finalize important issues such as Hub Cities and how exactly Testing will be navigated.

Until all of that is resolved and agreed upon then we will have to wait a little bit longer until we see the Golden Knights back on the ice, but it does seem as though the NHL will get to crown a 2019-20 Stanley Cup Champion at some point this summer.

But, at the very least, positive things are now taking place and we have real hope that the Vegas Golden Knights will get to finish what they started this year.

And that’s all we can ask for.

Finally, as always, we will have the latest on any developments on the NHL’s plan to return this year on Vegas Hockey Knight, and we’ll be breaking down the 24-team Playoff proposal in full shortly.