NHL Rumors: Las Vegas Possible Hub City For Stanley Cup Playoffs

Written By Marc Meltzer on June 15, 2020Last Updated on July 9, 2020

Las Vegas will be one of two hub cities for the NHL when the season resumes. Since late April and early May,  the hometown of the Vegas Golden Knights has been part of the rumor mill to host a professional sports playoff event.

It was revealed that MGM Resorts pitched the NBA, NHL and MLS about restarting their leagues.

The rumors never went away but cooled down while the city and fans awaited an official announcement by the NHL. Late last week, Vancouver-based broadcaster Rob Fai shared a series of tweets outlining how the plan could work.

MGM Resorts among accommodation options

Fai says the NHL will make Las Vegas a hub city for its 24-team playoff tournament. Venues, accommodations and transportation are secured for 12 of the 24 teams. The league will house six to eight teams in each reserved hotel.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal says, “MGM Resorts’ hotels in play to host visiting teams include Vdara, Delano, the Park MGM/NoMad Hotel and The Mirage.”

The Journal says that the league prefers nonsmoking and non-gaming hotels. Park MGM and The Mirage are the only MGM Resorts casinos that aren’t scheduled to open yet. Both casinos have been clear of smoking since being ordered to close in March by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Mandalay Bay and the attached Four Seasons hotel are on schedule to open July 1. Delano is also part of the Mandalay Bay complex but doesn’t have an opening date yet. Vdara is a stand-alone hotel that’s part of the City Center complex along with Aria.

If Las Vegas is chosen to be a hub city, the venue(s) will host the playoff tournament without fans. At this time, T-Mobile Arena is the only venue under consideration. That could change when the official announcement comes.

The NHL is expected to make an official announcement on the hub cities for the playoff tournament by June 22.

NHL playoff tournament

The NHL announced its “return to play” plan on May 26. The intent is that 24 teams will compete for the Stanley Cup in a new playoff format created for this season. Not every NHL team will participate; seven teams didn’t make the cut.

The tournament will begin with the Stanley Cup qualifiers. This phase will include 16 teams playing eight best-of-five series. The top four teams in each conference will also play a round-robin to determine seeds for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

After the first rounds, all remaining series will be best of seven. The matchups will come from seeding and not a fixed bracket.

The New York Post says the Vegas Golden Knights will not play in their home city. Las Vegas will host these matchups:

  • New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes
  • New York Islanders vs. Florida Panthers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens
  • Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers will play the Eastern Conference round-robin event. The Golden Knights will play in the second NHL hub city.

Golden Knights Stanley Cup odds

The Vegas Golden Knights had the third-best point percentage in the Western Conference when play stopped in March. They will receive a series bye as part of the NHL’s “return to play” tournament.

Instead, the Golden Knights will play in the round-robin seeding games with the other teams that finished with the top four point percentages in the Western Conference. The St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars will all participate in the conference round-robin event for seeding the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Odds for the Golden Knights vary by sportsbook operator. Las Vegas’ hometown team is +350 to win the Western Conference at BetMGM. They’re only +275 to win the conference at Caesars sportsbooks.

Similarly, the Golden Knights are +850 to win the Stanley Cup playoffs at BetMGM. The Golden Knights are just +400 at Station Casinos sportsbooks.

It pays to shop around at different Nevada sportsbooks for the best odds. Downloading Nevada sports betting apps is the easiest way to compare odds.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He’s the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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