The Minnesota Wild are in, now it's just a matter of if they play.
The NHL announced a Return-to-Play plan, which outlines how the league could return to action should conditions be safe enough for teams to play. The new plan scraps the remainder of the regular season and would feature a 24-team postseason, which would include the Wild.
While plenty of details are still being discussed, the plan sets some potential target dates for a return, including a return to practice facilities in early June, and a formal training camp to start no earlier than the first half of July.
This paves the way for the return to action and it will come in the form of an expanded playoff, where two "hub cities" will be selected to play hosts.
According to NBC Sports, the Twin Cities are among 10 locations being discussed as a potential hub.
The league said the decision for where the game will be played is dependent on COVID-19 conditions, testing ability and government regulations. The NHL also presented some of the new safety guidelines teams and personnel must follow if they are to return to action.
Among those new procedures:
- Each conference will be assigned a "hub" city with secure hotels, arena, practice facilities and transportation.
- Teams will be limited to 50 personnel in the "hub" city with only a small number of support staff being allowed to attend the games.
According to NBC Sports, the playoff format will be as follows:
Round Robin: The top 4 teams play for First Round seeding (regular-season overtime rules in effect)
Qualifying Round: The remaining 8 teams play best-of-5 series to advance to the First Round (playoff overtime rules in effect)
First Round and Second Round: Format (seeding vs. bracket) and series lengths to be determined
Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final: Best-of-7 series
If play resumes, the Wild would open up with a best-of-five game series with the Vancouver Canucks. Minnesota split two games with Vancouver during the regular season, with a 4-3 win on Feb. 19 that ignited a run of eight wins over its next 11 games.
Many details are still being discussed, but the phases appear to be coming to fruition should the conditions be safe for a return to play.