Anyone hoping for a revision of the Stanley Cup playoff format will have to wait at least another year.
Ever since the NHL reverted to a divisional postseason system for the 2013-14 season, there has been regular backlash by fans of teams in especially competitive divisions -- standings races that have sometimes more quickly pushed superior regular-season teams out of the playoffs. Even so, with the 2018-19 Stanley Cup playoffs right around the corner, TSN's Pierre LeBrun reports that the NHL and NHL Players Association have agreed to extend the current format through the 2019-20 season.
"The matter will continue to be discussed between the two sides moving forward," LeBrun said Wednesday via Twitter. "So earliest change would be for 2020-21 if/when there is change."
Since realigning to a four-division format in 2013-14, the NHL has sent the top three teams from each division to the playoffs, with an additional two wild-card teams from each conference. As part of the bracket, the second- and third-place teams from each division play each other to open the postseason -- a requirement that potentially eliminates top competition from a crowded division right at the start of the playoffs.
Many fans and media outlets have suggested the NHL adopt a simpler system that would seed each conference's top eight teams exactly as they finish. But as Yahoo Sports Canada notes, this wouldn't necessarily account for the travel logistics of playoff series. Then, as far as a future reformatting goes, -- an expansion that might dictate an entire realignment in its own right. In other words, even if the NHL were to reformat its system for 2019-20, it might have to do it all again a year later.