NHLPA/NHL Inch Closer to Getting Season Restarted

In a statement put out by the NHLPA yesterday, the Executive Board has announced that they will “authorize further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format to determine the winner of the 2020 Stanley Cup.”

The press release said that “several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play.”

Darren Dreger tweeted yesterday that 24 teams would make the playoffs with the top four teams in each conference playing each other while the other 16 teams would play a play-in round.

This format would leave the Devils out in the cold as they would not be in a position to qualify. But this is a unique and clever way to get the playoffs in while not needing to finish the regular season. The bubble teams do not get eliminated in the regular season, but do get a chance to qualify for the playoffs.

Under this format, Boston, Tampa, Washington and Philly would all be the top seeds in the Eastern Conference while St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas would be the top seeds in the West. They would all have byes in the first round of the proposed playoff format.

From there, in the East play-in format, Toronto would play Columbus; Pittsburgh would face Montreal; the Islanders would meet the Panthers; and the Rangers would get the Hurricanes. In the West play-in series, Calgary would faceoff with Winnipeg; Edmonton would face Chicago; Vancouver and Minnesota would square off and, in a series that has interest to Devils fans due to the Taylor Hall trade conditions, Nashville would get Arizona. Hall would also be facing his former coach in the Preds’ John Hynes.

In the East, the winner of Toronto/Columbus gets Boston in round two while Pittsburgh/Montreal gets the Flyers and Isles/Florida gets the Lightning and Carolina/Rangers gets the Capitals.

In the West in round two, the winner of Flames/Jets would meet the Blues while Oilers/Blackhawks would get the Stars, Canucks/Wild would get the Avalanche and Predators/Coyotes would meet the Golden Knights.

All of the previous bracket information comes from Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston and was tweeted out by Sportsnet on Thursday.

Devils Sign Joe Morrow

The Devils announced today that they have signed former Winnipeg Jet, Boston Bruin and Montreal Canadien Joe Morrow to a one-year, two-way contract. The contract is worth $700,000 at the NHL level and $250,000 at the AHL level with $300,000 guaranteed.

Morrow was immediately put on waivers by the team and will report to the Binghamton Devils tomorrow pending clearing waivers at 12 PM tomorrow.

Morrow, a 26-year-old defenseman, played for Winnipeg last season and had his best year (according to the press release) in 2017-18 with the Jets. That season, he tallied six goals and ten assists (16 points) and registered 26 penalty minutes. He also played in six playoff games for the Jets, as they went to the Western Conference Final, ultimately losing to Vegas. His lone goal in that playoff was the go-ahead goal in the current iteration of the Jets’ first playoff win (April 11, 2018 against the Minnesota Wild) according to the press release.

He has appeared in 162 career NHL games (2014 to 2019) with Winnipeg, Boston and Montreal. The Edmonton-native’s career totals are nine goals, 23 assists (32 points) to go with 62 career penalty minutes.

At the AHL level, he has played in 158 career games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Texas Stars and Providence Bruins. There he has 15 goals and 46 assists (61 points) and 83 penalty minutes.

The 6-foot, 195-pound left-shooting journeyman was the Penguins’ first pick (23rd overall) in the 2011 Draft. He played junior hockey in the Western Hockey League with the Portland Winterhawks from 2008 to 2012.