Rangers, Islanders are Vegas-Bound for NHL Playoffs

So it appears the Rangers and Islanders will be Vegas-bound when and if the competition begins in late July or early August. Multiple sources have confirmed the NHL has settled on Vegas as one of its two hub cities to host the tournament.

As the league previously has indicated it would not allow a team to play at home, so the Golden Knights and the Western Conference will be located in the other hub city, which the NHL would like to name as Toronto if Canada drops its 14-day self-quarantine requirement for all individuals entering the country.

So in Vegas, it would be Rangers-Carolina and Islanders-Florida in addition to Pittsburgh-Montreal and Columbus-Toronto in the best-of-five qualifying rounds, and Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia play a round-robin to establish the order of seeding.

The likelihood is that — at least for the qualifying round, if not beyond — Games 1 and 2 and Games 3 and 4 would be played back-to-back with a day between. That is the scheduling format that was in place for the first two rounds from 1980-84 and for the first round from 1980-89.

Parameters for training camp eligibility have not yet been established, so it is unknown whether the 24 teams included in the tournament would be able to invite players whose contracts begin next season and are thus ineligible to compete this summer.

There is much talk of the 2020-21 season, that would start in December or January so the league could play as much of the year as possible with fans in the stands, being conducted with a conference-only schedule.