It's confirmed: if the National League is able to organize series to conclude the 2019-2020 season, the Montreal Canadiens will participate. And he could also have his chance in the draft lottery!
Gary Bettman confirmed much of the resumption of activities late Tuesday afternoon. However, two major unknowns remain: the date and the places where the resumption of activities will take place.
The NHL commissioner has confirmed that the playoffs will be played by 24 teams, the 12 teams with the best records in terms of percentage points in the standings. This system will allow the Habs to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the qualifying round, in what will be a three of five format series.
Montreal will therefore participate in the playoffs for the first time since 2017. It will do so with a record of 31-31-9, the worst among the 24 qualified teams.
The format of the series will be as follows, in the East as in the West:
- The teams from positions 1 to 4 will compete in a round robin to determine a new classification of these teams;
- The teams from positions 5 to 12 will compete in series three of five (5th against 12th, 6th against 11th, 7th against 10th, 8th against 9th);
- Following these stages, there will remain eight teams in each association, as is always the case at the start of the heats;
- The duration of the first and second round series remains to be determined. The Association Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals will be four of seven.
In the East, the portrait is therefore as follows:
Round robin: Boston, Tampa, Washington, Philadelphia
Qualifying series: Montreal-Pittsburgh, Caroline-Rangers, Islanders-Florida, Toronto-Columbus
In the West, the portrait is as follows:
Round robin: St. Louis, Colorado, Las Vegas, Dallas
Qualifying series: Edmonton-Chicago, Nashville-Arizona, Vancouver-Minnesota, Calgary-Winnipeg
In what city ?
For the time being, the date of resumption of activities remains unknown. The NHL is currently in phase 1, which consists of a voluntary quarantine of players. The circuit announced on Monday the main lines of phase 2, a gradual return to training centers. Bettman said he wanted to start this phase in early June.
Phase 3, the opening of training camps, will follow. “The date will depend on the medical and civil authorities. You don't think you will get there until mid-July, "Bettman said in a video speech.
For phase 4, the teams will have to report to one of the two cities that will host all these beautiful people. The series could end "in the early fall," said Bettman.
To this end, Bettman mentioned that two cities would be chosen to host the games. One will host the Eastern Association, the other, the Western Association.
The "finalist" cities are: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis / St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver.
"We are not making an announcement because we will want to make the decision with the best information," said Bettman.
Butter and butter money
Finally, even if he participates in the playoffs, the Canadian could still have his chance in the lottery for the first three choices. Be careful, this is where it gets complicated.
The point is that this lottery could take place in two stages. On June 26, a first draw will be held. It will involve the 7 teams excluded from the series. However, in normal times, 15 teams have their chance in this lottery. To achieve an equivalent draw, eight "fictitious" teams (team A, team B, and so on, until team H) will be in the lottery. These eight “teams” will effectively become the ones that will be eliminated during the qualification phase.
If the top three picks go to the seven teams excluded from the playoffs, there will be no phase 2 lottery. If one or more “fictitious” teams win one of the first three combinations, there will be a phase 2 of the lottery, which will take place after the qualification phase. The eight teams eliminated in the qualification phase will then have an equal chance (12.5% each) of winning the choice or choices at stake.
So if the Canadian defeats the Pittsburgh Penguins in the qualifying phase, he will not have a chance in the lottery. On the other hand, if the CH is defeated, the Habs could have a chance if one of the eight “fictitious” teams wins the lottery for choices 1, 2 or 3. If Montreal does not win the lottery, it will draft somewhere between the 8th and 11th, depending on whether none, one, two or three higher-ranked teams win the lottery and go ahead.
"It's a bit complicated and I apologize," said Bettman, before starting his explanation of the lottery. It is understandable to feel guilty.