Toronto Maple Leafs: 24-Team Playoff Format Approved

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 25: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at a press conference and Innovation Spotlight as part of the 2019 NHL All-Star weekend on January 25, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 25: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks at a press conference and Innovation Spotlight as part of the 2019 NHL All-Star weekend on January 25, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The latest news on the resumption of play for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On Friday evening the news was made official that the Toronto Maple Leafs and 23 other teams will be returning to the ice this summer using the previously proposed expanded playoff format.

In a statement released by the NHLPA, The Executive Board of the player’s union has unanimously voted in favor of continuing negotiations with the league on the exact nature of the return-to-play procedure and protocols, using the 24-team playoff format as the basis of their plan.

That does not, however, mean that we’ll be seeing Game One of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets anytime soon. There is still a lot of ground to cover before these games take to the ice.

Return to Play

Representatives of the NHLPA have reportedly voiced major concerns that will need to be ironed out before they return to action. Among these concerns are topics such as:

  • Will the NHL be able to acquire enough viral testing kits?
  • Which cities will be chosen as suitable hubs to host as many as 12 teams?
  • What does life look like inside of these hubs?
  • Will players have to quarantine if they cross borders, and if so, will they have to do the quarantine every time they cross?
  • Will they be permitted to bring some family members?
  • How will player visas and contracts work, both currently due to expire on June 30, given that play will not resume until after this date?

Another area of the proposed plan that some teams want to be tweaked is if the playoff tree will be re-seeded after every round, much like a March Madness tournament, out of fairness to the teams that finished higher in the regular-season standings.

If this is the case, there is a chance the Toronto Maple Leafs might not play the Boston Bruins, should they get past the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round.

As for the seven teams who will not be participating in the playoffs, their fate is still up in the air.

There is a potential that the draft lottery could be held in June, and the draft could go ahead after the opening round of the playoffs, but those are details that will be dealt with in the weeks ahead.

Next. Leafs and Coyotes Trade History. dark

If all these concerns are alleviated and all else goes well in the planning stage, the league is looking forward to teams holding a three-week training camp in July. Play could begin in late July or early August.

Its a step in a positive direction, but there is still a lot of work to do before we see the Toronto Maple Leafs play again.