One huge hurdle has been cleared when it comes to the Vegas Golden Knights playing again this year.
It was announced on Friday that the NHLPA had voted yes on the 24-team Playoff format, which would see the Vegas Golden Knights given a top seed, with the NHL expected to give the proposal the green light in the coming days.
Although there is still plenty of work to be done, this is a huge momentum swing for the NHL who have been resolute in their desire to crown a Stanley Cup Champion in 2019-20.
It is also huge news for the Golden Knights who are at the peak of their powers when it comes to their win-now window, and they are now on the cusp of being given an opportunity to finish what they started this year.
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An expanded Playoff format also has all the ingredients for chaos, although Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic and TSN has made it clear that the Play-In games won’t be a part of the official postseason.
So, with that in mind, the basis of the proposal that has been given the green light will be 16 teams involved in Play-In matchups, with the winners moving on to the actual 16-team Stanley Cup Playoffs.
That ensures fairness to those teams on the bubble, although it isn’t a perfect solution with teams like the Montreal Canadiens getting in despite looking dead and buried at the Trade Deadline.
While those games are ongoing, with all Play-In matchups a best-of-five series, the top seeds would play a three-game tournament in each conference.
The logic here is that the teams given a bye, including the Golden Knights, will get a chance to knock off any rink rust before the actual Playoffs get underway.
There is some discussion as to whether or not the three-game tournament will dictate seeding for the postseason but, as it stands, the Knights will play the winners of the Nashville Predators Vs. Arizona Coyotes Play-In.
Again, there are still a bevy of issues that need thrashing out but, all in all, the 24-team Playoff format seems like the best option to move forward with.
As is the case with everything in the new world we live in, however, it isn’t a perfect solution and we decided to map out the pros and cons of the proposed format for the Golden Knights…