The NHL Players Association announced on Friday night that its Executive Board has authorized further negotiations with the league on a 24-team format to determine the winner of the Stanley Cup.
"Several details remain to be negotiated and an agreement on the format would still be subject to the parties reaching an agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play," the statement read.
The NHLPA Executive Board has authorized further negotiations with the NHL on a 24-team return to play format, subject to reaching an overall agreement with the League on resuming the 2019-20 season: https://t.co/SIzQYyooEE pic.twitter.com/9TftmApiGJ- NHLPA (@NHLPA) May 23, 2020
While the total number of teams for a return has been established, how those 24 teams will be determined is still up in the air.
The Rangers, with 79 points (good for 10th in the Eastern Conference and tied for 16th overall in the NHL), were two points back of the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for the Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers appear to have a very strong case for inclusion in the 24-team format. However, under a scenario where only the top six teams in each division play in the 24-team format, the Rangers would be left out in the cold due to the strength of the Metropolitan Division and relative weakness of the other divisions.