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theraj662
Top Prospect



48 Posts

Posted - 05/24/2014 :  19:15:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For years it has been 16 teams that make the NHL playoffs. That was fine at one time, but now, with 30 teams, (and soon possibly 32) 16 playoff teams is not enough.

When the league had 16 of 21 teams making the playoffs, teams seldom missed the playoffs for more than 2 consecutive seasons. Also a higher percentage of teams would be in the playoff hunt later into the season. The more teams in the playoff hunt, the more interest there is in that team, the more asses there are in the seats,more merch sales, higher TV ratings, etc. The bottom line is, more playoff teams and more teams in the hunt means more revenue, which is a good thing.

The current system of 16/30 produces many long playoff droughts, some franchises missing the playoffs for several consecutive years, such as the Florida Panthers, who missed the playoffs every year from 2001 until 2012!

The NHL is trying to promote the game in the sunbelt, but it is hard to garner interest and build a following for the sunbelt teams if they constantly miss the playoffs.

Also non sunbelt teams in more traditional markets suffer from long playoff droughts as well.

The solution - more teams make the playoffs. Having said that, you have to remember the current system is already 4 rounds which lasts 2 months and does not end until the middle of June. It's probably not practical to drag the playoffs out much longer than they already are.

So how do we expand the playoffs by adding more teams without making them extend until the middle of July?

I have come up with two solutions.

First one, 20 teams make the playoffs, 10 from each conference. Top 3 teams from each division, plus 4 wild card teams. The top 3 division teams would each get a 1st round bye as the 4 wild card teams face off. The 4 wildcard teams would be ranked 1 - 4 per conference based on regular season standings, with 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3. These teams would play a 2 game total goal series, the team scoring the most combined goals in the 2 games wins.

These two games would take place over 3 days, with a 2 day break upon the completion of this round before the next one starts. This extra round would only add a total of 5 days to the playoffs, which could easily be accompanied by starting the regular season 5 days earlier.

The winning wildcard teams would then be ranked 7 and 8 and join the 6 top 3 division teams with the playoffs proceeding from that point on as they currently do now with best of 7 series format.

Second one, this is radically different but could prove to be very exciting and interesting - 22 teams make the playoffs. 11 from each conference. The top 3 teams from each division plus 5 wildcard teams from each conference. This first round would consist of a round robin, where each of the teams would play each other once. This would be a total of 10 games per team. At the end of the round robin, the top 4 teams in the standings from each conference
advance to the second round. The playoffs from that point would continue the same as they currently do now with best of 7 series format.

This format would be the same number of rounds as the current system. The 10 games played by each team in the first round would take place over 21 days, with another 2 days off before the 2nd round would start. That would be 23 days, which would only add 7 days to the playoffs as the current first round is 14 days with a couple of off days before the 2nd round which totals 16. The 7 extra days could be made up by moving the start of the regular season 5 days earlier, and each team having 2 less off days during the course of the regular season. This would make it so the playoffs could start 7 days earlier and finish when they normally do.

I think the added playoff teams would generate much more excitement and interest as more teams would be in the hunt and ultimately make it. Also the 2nd format proposal guarantees each team that makes the playoffs 5 first round playoff games. Currently teams are only guaranteed 2 first round home games.

I think expanded playoffs are win/win for the league and the fans.

Any thoughts on these proposals?

Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5790 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2014 :  21:51:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
theraj....Great post, and a couple of interesting proposals. My first guess would be that there would be a lot more conflicts for arena's that are shared (basketball, concerts, shows, etc) however, it's possible that this could be worked around?

Personally, I don't mind 16 making it, and even if they go to 32, I'm fine with 1/2. I know there's parity these days and that the 8th seeds of years past have had some success, but I think you run the risk of watering it down one step further where those others have little to almost NO chance!

Again, I know there are conflicts with other events, but I find too many series drag on because they take too many days off between games! I HATE when they take 2 days off! One is enough IMO.

Theraj.....Having said all that, I do like the proposals you've thrown out there if they were to expand the playoffs and I can tell you've done some thinking about them! Well done. If I had to choose one or the other if the league did decide to increase the number of playoff teams, I'd choose option 1. While I love the idea of the other one, I'm too much of a purist to endorse such a radical change. Regardless, very well thought out idea(s).
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ryan93
PickupHockey Pro



Canada
914 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2014 :  14:50:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As long as it remains a 30 team league, I'm happy with the current format.

If it were to change, I do like your 1st option, with just a little tweak. I don't really like the 2 game combined goal total format. I say either a best-of-3, or even a 1 game winner take all game.
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theraj662
Top Prospect



48 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2014 :  20:13:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know there are people happy with the curent format of 16/30, but in my opinion, 16/30 causes too many playoff droughts. When it was 16/21 there were few droughts of 3 years, certainly nowhere close to the 12 year drought of the Florida Panthers. For the most part, fans in sunbelt cities only care about hockey when their city is in the playoffs. More teams in the playoffs means more interest and exposure for the league, also more revenue. I beleieve this would help grow the League. A team that would be out of it in the current format by February would likely be right in the thick of a playoff race with expanded playoffs. Everyone knows how much more fan interest there is when a team is in a playoff race as opposed to out of it! Anything that can increase interest and revenue sounds like a good idea to me!

Edited by - theraj662 on 05/26/2014 20:22:43
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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5790 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2014 :  22:54:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
theraj...totally get where you're coming from but I just think the parity gets less and less as you get to these bottom feeders. Plus, the more teams that make the playoffs, the less the regular season really matters in the end! I think we get some pretty good playoff races down the stretch most years as it is. However, I do understand trying to promote the game to these non traditional markets. Prob is, giving a team like Florida, for example, a playoff spot that lasts in most cases all of 4 days (2 games) is hardly "being in the playoffs" and wouldn't garner a ton of interest IMO. I feel that these teams simply need to get better, something that Fla is doing through the draft, much like CBJ has. It takes time, but I think the bigger problem with some of these teams is that they don't dress a good enough team night in night out to be competitive over the long haul, meaning less fan interest. I get it, the "gate" is needed to be able to afford better players but the owners are bloody well rich enough that they should be able to get better teams iced year in year out, no?
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theraj662
Top Prospect



48 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2014 :  05:08:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Alex116, I respect your opinion. All points you have made ragarding this subject have been good and valid. I understand there are pros and cons associated with expanded playoffs, but I still beleive the pros of expanded playoffs outweigh the cons.
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