The NHL’s Return To Play plan has been a point of contention between the league and the player’s association for weeks now. And despite the official announcement of a 24-team playoff format, not every NHL club is happy.
The format favors some teams, like the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens, who are slated to sneak into the play-in tournament even though they likely had little chance to make the playoffs had the regular season been completed in normal fashion.
For other teams, like the Edmonton Oilers, the new format is not as favorable. Still, Oilers superstar Connor McDavid acknowledged the plan represents a best-case scenario for the league.
Interesting stuff from Oilers' Connor McDavid (on Return to Play committee) and Darnell Nurse (player rep) on a video call today. As McDavid put it, they're "doing what's best for the league" with the format, even if the Oilers are negatively impacted.— Daniel Nugent-Bowman (@DNBsports) May 28, 2020
At the time the NHLsuspended play, the Oilers had the fourth-most points in the Western Conference with 83. But because they played more games than the Dallas Stars — who had a higher points percentage — they fell to the fifth seed in the new playoff format.
That means they must play a best-of-five play-in series against the 12th-seeded Blackhawks instead of participating in the round robin between the top four clubs in the conference.
The NHL’s plan means the Oilers could potentially go from having home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs to not even getting into the final 16. If the Blackhawks can pull off an upset, that is.