|The NHL and NHLPA have reportedly had internal discussions about adding playoff teams. (Getty Images)|
In its current conference alignment the NHL takes 16 of its 30 teams to the postseason. For some people that's already too many.
While nothing has been agreed to -- or even negotiated during the ongoing labor talks -- Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reported on Tuesday evening that the NHL and NHLPA have had their own internal discussions about potentially adding four additional teams to the postseason mix.
That, of course, would bring the number of playoff teams to 20.
Just for some perspective: Four additional teams (two in each conference) in the current conference alignment would have resulted in the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames making the playoffs in the Western Conference last season, as well as the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference.
Eventually the NHL is going to realign its divisions and conferences to a setup that resembles the one that made up the league before the 1993-94 division, when the opening two rounds consisted of nothing but divisional matchups.
How the NHL would handle the playoff setup with more teams would certainly be up for discussion (single-game elimination play-in games? Teams getting an opening round "bye?").
The criticism that would come with more playoff teams would be that it could decrease the importance of the regular season, with 67 percent of the league (20 out of 30 teams) getting an opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup.
But, on the other hand, more playoff teams means more playoff games and, in the end, more money.
Good idea? Bad idea? Or maybe the worst idea ever? You decide.