The NHL’s most recent plan to salvage the 2019-20 season reportedly involves having mini-tournaments spread across four different cities, with six teams participating in each one.
The plan, according to Mark Spector at Sportsnet, is the NHL’s fall-back-net if there’s no way that the remainder of the regular season can be played out. In order to maximize fairness among the bubble teams, the league would have the top six teams in each division make the playoffs.
The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in each division would play each other in a three-game series to determine who’s crowned the winner of the division while the No. 3 teams would play the No. 6 teams and the No. 4 teams would face the No. 5 teams to continue playing. The winner of each division’s tournament, presumably, would then meet at another mutual location to play a Final Four style tournament for the Stanley Cup.
So, in this scenario, the Leafs would square off against the No. 6 team in the Atlantic Division, which is… *checks notes* the Buffalo Sabres!
This would put the Leafs in a very nice position to end their playoff series win drought that spans back to be before HD television existed and it would also end Buffalo’s near decade-long playoff drought. It’s not perfect, obviously, but we would all love a makeshift Leafs and Sabres playoff series, right?