On Tuesday, December 4th, the NHL Board of Governors announced that the Arizona Coyotes would be moved into the Central Division at the start of the 2021-2022 season to make way for Seattle’s expansion team joining the Pacific Division.
The Second City team asked how you felt about the decision and if there should be any changes to the playoff format now that there are going to be 32 teams in the NHL in the near future. The results of the poll are below.
Do you agree with the Arizona Coyotes moving into the Central Division?
Yes - 62%
No - 38%
Do you want the playoff format changed?
Yes, add more wild card slots - 8%
No, I like how it is. Top 3 from each division and 2 wild cards per conference - 25%
Yes, go back to top 8 from Western and top 8 from Eastern - 67%
The current CBA is a ten-year deal that expires after the 2021-2022 season. However, the NHLPA and NHL can opt-out before the start of the 2020-2021 season. It will be interesting to see what the players demand, what rules changes are debated, and if the playoff format adapts to an extra team in the league.
Clearly, Second City Hockey readers want to go back to the conference style playoffs that gave fans first-round classics like the 7-gamer against the Vancouver Canucks in 2011. Remember the 4-2 first round series win against the Calgary Flames when Martin Havlat scored the game winner 12 seconds into OT in Game 1 after a 6 straight seasons of mediocrity? Good times.
Frustration around the current playoff format revolves around the top teams having to face each other in the second round of the playoffs. For example, last year the top two teams in the Western Conference, the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets, faced off in an epic 7 game series. Should this have been the Conference Finals matchup instead of the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg?
On the other hand, the divisional format opens up the opportunity for wild card teams to shock the league like the Preds sweeping their divisional rival, the Hawks, in the first round of the 2016-2017 playoffs. This format also propels divisional rivalries into playoff style hockey, making those first and second round match-ups even more heated and nerve-racking for fans to watch.
There is an argument for both sides. Discuss your opinions below.