Here at Union and Blue we wanted to take a little time, and give you our predictions for what we thought the Eastern Conference Playoffs might look like come April 2014. Part One was brought to you by Mark H., Part Two from Mike, and Part Three from Mark Z. This will give us something to look back on a couple of times this year, and see how big of geniuses we are, and by geniuses I mean nincompoops.
Before I dive in, lets take a look at the changes the NHL has implemented to how teams make the playoffs for the upcoming year:
The Stanley Cup Playoffs will still consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but it will be division-based and a wild-card system has been added.
The top three teams in each division will make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It will be possible, then, for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.
The seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the fewest points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second fewest points.
Ok, now you know how the newly aligned divisions will earn their playoff spots, to quote Mr. Samuel L. Jackson “hold onto your butts”, because here goes nothing.