Too many teams make it already. Remember, no team that hasn't had home ice in the first round has won the Stanley Cup since the 1995 Devils.
Even if they have little to no shot at winning, the fact that the lower seeded teams often put up quite the fight shows that they have a right to be there.
In the 17 seasons that the league has had the current playoff format:
♦ The 8th seed has advanced to the second round 9 times, the conference finals once, and the Cup finals once
♦ The 7th seed has advanced to the second round 11 times, and the Cup finals once
♦ The 6th seed has advanced to the second round 11 times, the conference finals 6 times, and the Cup finals once
♦ The 5th seed has advanced to the second round 9 times (just as often as the 8th seed!), the conference finals three times, and the Cup finals once (and won it)
Edit to clarify: the numbers I posted for the conference finals and Cup finals are subsets of the preceding rounds, ie. the 8th seed advanced to the second round 9 times, twice of which they advanced to the conference finals, and one of those two times they advanced to the Cup finals.
For those who complain that "too many teams make the playoffs":
the NHL has had a 16 team playoff for as long as I can remember. But back in the 80s there were only 21 teams I believe.
The only reason I'd be opposed is that the seasonis too long as it is. But if they cut back the regualr season, no reason you couldn't expand the playoffs...
From 1942 to 1967 -- 6 teams -- 4 in playoffs -- 67%
From 1968 to 1974 -- 12/14/16 teams -- 8 in playoffs -- 67%/57%/50%
From 1975 to 1979 -- 18/17 teams -- 12 in playoffs -- 67%/71%
From 1980 to present -- 21/22/24/26/27/28/30 teams -- 16 in playoffs -- 76%/73%/67%/62%/59%/57%/53%
So with the exception of two years in the 70s, the NHL currently (for the past 11 years) has had the lowest percentage of its teams making the playoffs going back 70 years.
The league used to have a preliminary round best 2/3 series back in the early '80's I believe. Used to have best of five first rounds when the Oilers were winning their cups too.
Not sure you got my point.
I will boycott anything that is more than the current 16 team playoff format. Adding 4 extra teams and having some BS series to see which of those teams should qualify for the real playoffs is someting I could never endorse.
The number of teams allowed into the playoffs in this league has been an embarrassment historically. We are now at a point where it is somewhat reasonable, if we go back to the embarrassment of a minor-hockey everybody in the playoffs type of thing, I will protest.
I'll chime in in agreement with most posters. No, Mr Hodge, the NHL shouldn't expand Playoff membership. Just because there used to be a time when 16 of 21 teams made the Playoffs, doesn't mean we need to have a greater number of teams making the Playoffs now. When the League reaches 40 teams, then fine, it can expand to a 20-team Playoffs. Until then, 16 is just fine, Thank you.