The Tampa Bay Lightning feel the proposed 24-team playoff format gives an unfair advantage to some teams.
"I brought the format to my team. They didn't feel it was fair that certain teams that probably wouldn't have made the playoffs would have a chance to make the playoffs in a best-of-five series," Lighting winger and NHLPA representative Alex Killorn said, according to The Athletic's Joe Smith. "My team also felt it was unfair that the teams with a bye would not be as well prepared for a playoff series as the teams that had already basically played a playoff series to get into the playoffs."
"I don't want people to think that we don't want to play. Everyone on our team wants to play. In saying that, we are fine with the vote the PA took and we are ready with it going forward," Killorn added.
Tampa Bay was one of two teams to vote against the 24-team format on Friday. The other was the Carolina Hurricanes, according to The Athletic's Sara Civian.
The Lightning were in second place in the Atlantic Division when the league paused the season on March 12 and are guaranteed a playoff berth under the proposed format. Instead of participating in a best-of-five play-in series, the top four teams in each conference will reportedly be given a bye and partake in a round-robin tournament to determine seeding.
"The only problem I have with that format is that the top teams that have a bye, I don't know how competitive their games will be going forward where the teams at the bottom will be playing playoff games right away and (would be) potentially more prepared for, I guess, the real playoffs," Killorn said.
The NHL is reportedly continuing to work out the details for the format, including whether to reseed or use a bracketed structure following the play-in round and if the first round after the play-in series will be five- or seven-game series. An official announcement is expected early next week.