While the league and players’ union were both said to be internally discussing the possibility of expanding the playoffs by one team in each conference — likely creating some sort of wild card play-in scenario — the league has since shot down any hopes of adding a ninth team to the conference playoffs.
“No expansion of the playoffs [is] being contemplated for this year,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email to Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski.
“I don’t think any [postseason expansion] is being contemplated beyond this year, either,” he added parenthetically.
While the idea of adding one more team to the hunt would have ostensibly kept interest heightened around the league, it appears that the idea of more than 50 percent of the league’s teams qualifying for the playoffs wasn’t one the NHL was prepared to accept. Then again, the league will certainly be looking to cultivate as much interest as it can exiting the lockout, and perhaps the issue will be revisited at a later date.