The NHL and NHLPA have finalized agreements of the 2019-20 playoff format, according to a statement from the league. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman , without playing the remainder of the regular season schedule that was left when the season stopped in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Both sides came to the agreement that all four playoff rounds (first round, second round, conference finals and Stanley Cup Final) will be best-of-seven and the play-in, qualifying round will be best-of-five.
After each round, the teams will be re-seeded and will not be bracketed.
In each succeeding round, the highest remaining seed in each conference will face the lowest and the second-highest remaining seed in each conference will face the second-lowest remaining seed, and so on and so forth.
According to the statement, ties in the round robin will be broken by regular-season points percentage, and this seeding order will continue throughout the playoffs.
The qualifying round will select the higher-seeded team to have home ice in Games 1, 2 and 5.
The higher-seeded teams in the first round, second round and conference finals will be designated as the home team in Games 1, 2, 5 and 7.
Home ice for the Stanley Cup Final will be determined by regular-season points percentage, with the team with the higher number of points designated as the home team in Games 1, 2, 5 and 7.
The announcement also says that all plans are subject to an agreement to resume play by the NHL and the NHLPA.
Pierre LeBrun reports that there are still many elements yet to be finalized and that the newest agreement is the only regarding the format.
Phase 3 of the league's plan to return to play, which includes training camp, and Phase 4, which revolves around games, the city hubs and the protocol regarding play, still do not have official start dates, and negotiations for those phases are on-going.
Theinvolves a 24-team, conference-based plan. There is not yet a start date for return to play.
To help ensure the safety of players, the league will make changes including limited personnel and a COVID-19 testing system. Fans will not be permitted for games.