The NHL Qualifying Round and round-robin games ended on August 9. A terrible stroke of luck happened yesterday’s Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery. However, the NHL Draft itself will wait until October 9 and 10. Today begins the proper Stanley Cup Playoffs. We have sixteen teams competing for the greatest trophy in sports. And with the league still set in two bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto, we will continue to have games in the afternoon as well as in the evening. Seriously, we begin with Tampa Bay versus Columbus at 3 PM ET today.
Since there was plenty of reaction and feelings shared about the Qualifying Round games, this is your open post to discuss the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here are the first round matchups; this link takes you to the first round schedule from the NHL’s website.
- Philadelphia vs. Montreal
- Tampa Bay vs. Columbus
- Washington vs. NY Islanders
- Boston vs. Carolina
- Las Vegas vs. Chicago
- Colorado vs. Arizona
- Dallas vs. Calgary
- St. Louis vs. Vancouver
For those of you interested in conditional draft picks, the Devils have two are potentially impacted by these playoffs. If Sami Vatanen continues to play for Carolina and appears in 70% of their playoff games, then they will send their 2020 third round pick to New Jersey instead of their fourth round pick. Arizona’s third rounder in 2021 could upgrade to a second rounder if they beat Colorado. I am not holding my breath for that to happen. That pick can also be upgraded if Taylor Hall re-signs with Arizona. Again, I am not holding my breath for that to happen. In other words, please keep dressing Vatanen, Mr. Brind’Amour.
For those of you wondering about how the Arizona and Vancouver picks could move, then some unlikely things need to happen. Whoever makes it to the conference finals will pick no earlier than 27th. If Calgary somehow goes on a run, then Vancouver’s first round pick could move up a spot. Ditto if Chicago goes to the WCFs, which helps move Vancouver’s and Arizona’s first rounders. Alternatively, if either Arizona or Vancouver go all the way to the final four, then their picks will be that much later in the draft. I do not think this will actually happen, but the possibility is greater than zero so I have summarized it anyway.
In terms of rooting interests as a fan, I have one hope. Someone, please beat Philadelphia. After seeing Our Hated Rivals get the right to take Alexis Lafreniere, the last thing I need to see is the Second Rate Rivals have any hope of winning this tourney.
The Second Round Update (8/22): A very brisk first round ended on August 21. No series went to the limit. No one was swept, either. But with the situation, the NHL scheduled a lot of games in short order and so business was taken care of. In fact, the second round was going to start today even if there was a first round match-up ongoing. The NHL wants to keep this playoff moving. However, all eight series were decided by late last night. Here are your second round match-ups:
- Philadelphia (4-2 over Montreal) vs. NY Islanders (4-1 over Washington)
- Tampa Bay (4-1 over Columbus) vs. Boston (4-1 over Carolina)
- Colorado (4-1 over Arizona) vs. Dallas (4-2 over Calgary)
- Las Vegas (4-1 over Chicago) vs. Vancouver (4-2 over St. Louis)
Sami Vatanen did appear in four of the five playoff games in Carolina’s series loss to Boston. This means the Devils now own Carolina’s third round pick in 2020 as opposed to their fourth rounder. Since Montreal, Chicago, and Arizona all lost their series, the Arizona first round pick is locked in at 18th overall. Arizona losing also means that a 2021 conditional third rounder can only be upgraded to a second rounder if Taylor Hall re-signs with Arizona. I would not expect that to happen. Only Vancouver can impact the Devils’ 2020 draft at this point. If Vancouver wins their series, then their first round pick - which New Jersey owns - will drop to 27th overall by virtue of making the Western Conference Finals. If Las Vegas beats them, their first round pick stays at 20th overall since Calgary also lost their series. Go Knights.
Also, it would be cool if the Isles dumped Philly in the second round.
The Rules: Site rules apply as usual. This is an open post for the playoffs, so feel free to discuss all of the playoff games that begin today. Everyone please play nice with each other or you will not play at all. Keep all comments clean, stream-less, and respectful. Go Playoffs - except for Philadelphia, I hope they fail and fail miserably.