The NHL Players' Association Executive Board announced Friday night that it has agreed to the NHL's proposed 24-team return-to-play format. The voting process involving all 31 player representatives began Thursday night but the results were not made official until Friday.
"The Executive Board of the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the winner of the 2020 Stanley Cup," the NHLPA said in a statement. "Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play."
If and when the final details are agreed upon, the format would feature 12 teams from both the Eastern and Western Conference with the top four teams based on current points percentage each earning a first-round bye. In the East, the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers would secure the 1-4 seeds while the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars would do the same in the West.
Seeds 5-12 would feature a best-of-5 play-in series to determine the bottom four seeds in the Stanley Cup playoffs while the top four seeds would compete against each other in a round-robin format to determine the official seeding.
The Blackhawks, in this format, are slated to take on the Edmonton Oilers. They went 2-1-0 and had a plus-1 goal differential against the Oilers this season.
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