NHL: Top takeaways from Gary Bettman’s announcements about postseason, draft

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Gary Bettman said a lot about the Stanley Cup Playoffs and 2020 NHL Draft.

There have been a ton of questions about the Stanley Cup Playoffs and 2020 NHL Draft ever since the NHL’s regular season was put on hold in mid-March. Commissioner Gary Bettman has answered a lot of those questions in a recent announcement.

He said a lot of things and confirmed quite a bit. But here are the key points about what he said and what it means for the league.

Regular Season

This was already all but ensured, but now it’s official. The NHL will not continue its 2019-20 season. This means Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak will split the Rocket Richard Trophy, which is awarded to the top goal scorer. That’s the former’s ninth Rocket Richard and the latter’s first. It’s the first time since the 2010-11 season the award has been split. Back then, it was split between Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos.

Also, the William B. Jennings Award, given to the team allowing the fewest goals, is the Boston Bruins. Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers is the Art Ross Trophy winner with an impressive 110 points.

Stanley Cup Playoffs

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The 24 team format will be used for the postseason. While the seeding past the play-in round is still up in the air, the play-in matchups are now set.

  • Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens
  • Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers
  • New York Islanders vs. Florida Panthers
  • Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks
  • Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes
  • Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild
  • Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets

The play-in round will be a best of five games series, so the first team to win three games will advance to the best of 16 round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Also, it has been confirmed that each of the top four teams in each conference will be getting byes. They will participate in a round robin tournament to determine playoff seeding.

Hub Cities

There have been a lot of names thrown out there recently, but the league has narrowed it down top 10. Each conference will have one. Here’s a list of the finalists.

  • Columbus
  • Pittsburgh
  • Toronto
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Las Vegas
  • Edmonton
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis
  • Vancouver

The two hub cities should be named in the near future. Each team will be allowed to have no more than 50 personnel in the hub city, including players, coaches, and staff. Phase 3 of the NHL’s re-opening will have training camps open, but it will not occur until at least mid-July. Phase 4 (preparing for postseason) has no date yet.

Draft Lottery

This is where things get a tad bit confusing. There will be two “phases”, but only one might be necessary. The first phase will have 15 teams – the seven teams who did not make the playoffs, and the eight teams who lost in the play-in round. The latter will be represented by Teams A through H.

There will be three draws in the first phase to determine the top three picks of the 2020 NHL Draft. If all three of the teams drawn are from the bottom seven, then there will be no Phase 2. After that, the draft order will be determined by regular season point percentage and the postseason.

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However, if any of the three teams drawn are Teams A through H, there will be a second phase. The bottom seven teams who did not make the postseason will be excluded from this phase. Every team in this phase will have an equal chance of winning.