The AHL today announced the qualification rules and format for the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs.
A total of 23 teams will qualify for postseason play at the conclusion of the regular season, with the five rounds of playoff hockey expected to finish by June 23.
The new playoff format is quite different and varies by division. For the sake of simplicity we’ll focus on the Checkers and the Atlantic Division first.
The Checkers will still be in an eight-team Atlantic made up of the same eight teams as in their most recent season in 2019-20 – Bridgeport, Hartford, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Providence, Springfield and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The difference now is that the top six teams will make the playoffs instead of the top four.
In the Atlantic, the top two teams receive a first-round bye, while the other four qualifiers will take part in a best-of-three series. The first-round winners will then be re-seeded, and the next two divisional rounds will be best-of-five series. Finally, both the Conference Finals and the Calder Cup Finals will be traditional best-of-seven series.
The other divisions will similarly have an extra round of play, with the number of teams varying – the North and Central will each have five teams qualify and the top three earn byes and the West will have seven teams qualify and only the top team earn a bye.