top of page

Despite criticism of the NHL playoff format for not sufficiently rewarding regular season success, Gary Bettman says it will not change.

"The playoff format isn't changing. Not next year, or the year after that. It's here to stay," said the NHL commissioner during a press conference [insert timestamp].

The current playoff format, which was first implemented in the 2013-2014 season, emphasizes division rivalries and limits travel. However, it does not always match teams with the best regular season records against teams with the worst records in the first round.  


Screenshot (72).png

“I don’t think it is the fairest in terms of why you play and the advantage you’re supposed to have come playoff time,” said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos back on March 14.

Stamkos might have a point; there were some anomalies - at least on paper: Boston and Toronto played off in the first round despite finishing with the third and seventh best regular season record in the league. Montreal missed the playoffs after finishing with 96 points which would have been good enough to finish third in the Pacific division.  

Despite this lack of earned advantage, the NHL playoffs have proved to be anything but predictable. All four division winners lost in the first round for the first time in league history.

How the current format compares to a 1 vs 16 format, which was used from the 1979-80 season to the 1998-99 season:     


Bettman says the playoff format is not changing

Bettman: playoff format here to stay
NHL commissioner says, "the playoff format isn't changing. Not next year, or the year after that. It's here to stay"
Push notification :
bottom of page