The Toronto Maple Leafs are scheduled to resume play soon.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are still set to faceoff against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the initial Qualifying Round, and the NHL has announced some updates regarding the resumed season.
Points percentages, based on games played before the NHL season was paused (and eventually marked as officially completed), were used to determine the top 24 teams to make it into this revised tournament format.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are among 16 (of those 24) teams that will take part in having to battle through an initial play-in series. The other eight teams are the top four from each conference, who will have a bye from having to further qualify.
With 12 teams per conference making it into the post-season, this Qualifying Round will consist of the eight lowest ranked clubs from each.
These will be a best-of-5 series, with the higher-ranked team having home ice for Games 1, 2, and 5.
The top four teams in each conference bypass this round, but will be part of the Seeding Round Robin to establish their ranking throughout the playoffs from that point forward.
Eastern Conference Matches
Western Conference Matches
Seeding Round Robin
Eight teams, the top four from each conference, will be awaiting the winners of the Qualifying Round to see who they’ll meet in their first series.
These teams will be involved in a round-robin portion of the post-season. They will each play three games, once versus each of those from their conference that are taking part in this round.
Positioning for these teams throughout the playoffs will be determined by their round-robin standings.
Both the Qualifying Round and Seeding Round Robin will take place in two hub cities, one per conference, which will be determined at a later date.
Eastern Conference Pool
Western Conference Pool
Re-Seeding Throughout Playoffs
Once the 16-team playoff bracket begins, following the Qualifying Round and Seeding Round Robin, every series will be a best-of-7 from that point forward.
Another change for this year’s plan is that re-seeding throughout each round will be in effect, as opposed to a set bracket structure.
As of the First Round, consisting of the 16 teams that are still involved by that point, the highest seed in the conference will faceoff against the lowest seed of the same conference, second-highest plays second-lowest, and so on until all teams are accounted for per each round.
Throughout the First Round, Second Round, and Conference Finals, the home team will be determined by this seeding system and they’ll have that advantage for Games 1, 2, 5, and 7.
However, for the Stanley Cup Final, the team with the better regular-season points percentage will be considered the higher seed and be on the home side for Games 1, 2, 5, and 7.
Phase 2 of the NHL’s Return to Play Plan is scheduled to start as of June 8. This includes voluntary workouts and training at team facilities. Training camps are not set to begin before July 10.