Islanders: What you need to know from the NHL’s Return To Play Plan
By Matt O'Leary
Gary Bettman announced what the plan was for the NHL to return. Here’s what you need to know from the New York Islanders perspective.
I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy to see Gary Bettman on my television screen. So today, we heard from the NHL Commissioner on the plan for the league to come back to complete the 2019-2020 NHL season.
A lot of it was things we already knew but we’ll break it down looking at it from the Islanders‘ perspective. The first thing you need to know is that the regular season is over.
Not much of a surprise, but the regular season is officially closed and when play resumes it will be the 24-team playoff format that was proposed. In this format the top four teams get in and the remaining eight from each conference play a best of five series to advance to the next round.
The qualifying round matchups up in the East are as followed:
Pittsburgh vs Montreal
Carolina vs NYR
Islanders vs Florida
Toronto vs Columbus
The winners of each of those series will advance to the next round to take on the top-four seeds, which in the Eastern Conference is Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Philadelphia.
The Eastern Conference, will be in one host city while the Western Conference will be in the other. The NHL won’t announce the host cities yet, or when this tournament is going to begin just yet due to the ever-changing nature of COVID-19.
The host cities are as follows:
Bettman would then go on to explain the draft process, which was a tad bit confusing but here’s what you need to know. The Islanders traded away their first-rounder to Ottawa, and if they lose in the first round they could be giving a top-12 pick up depending on how the lottery falls. The pick is top-three protected keep in mind.
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There’s going to be hockey back at some point this season, which is exciting, we just don’t quite know when. What we do know, when it comes back the Islanders will be taking on the Panthers in the first round of the Qualifiers and that’s a reason to be happy.