|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Unfortunately for the Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage, the league also announced the playoff qualification format for 2015-16. As feared, playoff contention for the coming season will be determined based on points percentage. I have already gone deep down the rabbit hole on why this is bad news for the Stars and Rampage. You can read that article here: A Radical Proposal to Even Up the Competition in the Pacific Division.
Here's the relevant cut of the new rules:
- The 2015-16 regular season will consist of 1,120 games, played between Oct. 9 and Apr. 17. All teams will play 76 games each with the exception of the clubs which joined the AHL in January as part of the creation of a Pacific Division (Bakersfield, Ontario, San Diego, San Jose, Stockton); those five teams will play 68 games each.
- Teams will receive two points for a win and one point for an overtime or shootout loss. The top four teams in each division ranked by points percentage (points earned divided by points available) will qualify for the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs, with one exception in each conference: if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic or Central Division finishes with a better points percentage than the fourth-place team in the North or Pacific Division, it would cross over and compete in the other division’s bracket.
- The 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs will feature a divisional playoff format, leading to conference finals and ultimately the Calder Cup Finals.
- The division semifinals are best-of-five series; all subsequent rounds are best-of-seven.