LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks are two of seven teams that failed to make the cut for the National Hockey League's 24-team Stanley Cup Playoffs tournament announced today, meaning their 2019-20 season is officially over.
Under the Return to Play Plan announced by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, the 12 qualifying teams from the Eastern and Western conferences were determined by points percentage as of March 12, when play was suspended amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Kings and Ducks were both mired near the bottom of the Pacific Division, with just 64 and 67 point, respectively. Other teams missing the playoffs are the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings.
Those teams will participate in the NHL Draft Lottery, which will hold its first phase June 26.
“I want to make clear that the health and safety of our players, coaches, essential support staff and our communities are paramount,'' Bettman said. “While nothing is without risk, ensuring health and safety has been central to all of our planning so far and will remain so.
“Let me assure you that the reason we are doing this is because our fans have told us in overwhelming numbers that they want to complete the season if at all possible. And our players and our teams are clear that they want to play and bring the season to its rightful conclusion.''
The qualifying round and round-robin will be held at two hub cities to be identified -- one for the Eastern Conference teams and one for the Western Conference teams. Los Angeles was listed as a candidate, along with Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Chicago, Columbus, Minneapolis/St. Paul,
Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver.
No date was given for when the tournament will begin. Bettman said the decision on the hub cities and when the playoffs will begin will depend on COVID-19 conditions, testing ability and government regulations.
“Obviously, we anticipate playing over the summer and into the early fall,'' Bettman said. “At this time, we are not fixing dates because the schedule of our return to play will be determined both by developing circumstances and the needs of the players.''
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