Toronto Maple Leafs: Pros and Cons of NHL Playoff Play-In Games

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 05: Gabriel Vilardi #42 of the Los Angeles Kings shoots the puck against Frederik Andersen # . (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

In a regular sports world, the NHL playoffs would have been starting this week and the Toronto Maple Leafs most likely would’ve been facing the Tampa Bay Lightning.

April is the most spectacular sports month and Toronto Maple Leafs fans have gone on a roller-coaster ride of emotions for the past few seasons around this time.

People like to argue that October is a better sports month than April, but it’s not. April gives us the NHL and NBA playoffs, the beginning of MLB and of course The Masters.

As much as the NHL is a fun sport from October to March, playoff hockey is undefeated. Not only is the speed intensified, but the games are unpredictable and there’s nothing better than sudden-death overtime.

The first round of the NHL playoffs is so exciting. Every night for two weeks straight, you get the opportunity to watch games from 7:00PM-1:00AM EST, and if we’re lucky with overtime on the west coast, even longer.

Playoff hockey also brings back the excitement of fantasy sports and gambling. There’s no better feeling than picking that ‘nobody’ like Ville Leino in 2010 or Jake Guentzel in 2017 and winning your pool because of it.

Not only can players surprise in the playoffs, but individual teams can do the same. Whether you’re picking the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings team of 2012 or the Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural 2017 playoffs, the playoffs are unpredictable.

Although the playoffs are not taking place this week, it’s quite possible the NHL returns and as a result the league may need to get creative.

The idea of a 24-team playoff format has been talked about and hockey people are getting very excited for it. Essentially each divisional winner and the other two top teams in each conference would get a bye, and the remaining eight teams would play the first round of the playoffs in more of a ‘play-in’ system.

There are definitely pros and cons to this idea, so let’s take a look:

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