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Calder Cup Playoffs: A crash course on the new AHL playoff format and where the Rocket stand.

By Dylan Buvat

The American Hockey League Board of Governors have implemented a new playoff format for the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs, similar to that of the 2020 NHL bubble playoffs.

In this new playoff format, 23 teams will qualify for the postseason, including six teams from the Atlantic Division, five from the North Division, five from the Central Division and seven from the Pacific Division. The First Round will consist of seven best-of-three series, with playoff opponents determined based on point percentages rather than teams’ position in the standings.

To reward clubs who finished atop of their divisions in the regular season, six teams will receive byes to the Second Round including the top two teams in the Atlantic Division, the top three teams in each of the North and Central Divisions, and the first-place team in the Pacific Division. These semifinals will be played as best-of-five series against regular season division rivals.

From there, the top two teams from each division will face one another in the best-of-five Division Finals, before moving on to the Conference Finals, and the Calder Cup Finals, both of which will be played as best-of-seven series.

Teams will have to win a minimum of 14 games through four playoff rounds if they hope to lift the AHL’s most prestigious trophy, the Calder Cup. The playoffs are expected to conclude June 23, where one team will be crowned the 2022 Calder Cup Champion.

The Laval Rocket, who have officially clinched a playoff spot on Sunday night, could receive a bye to the Division Semifinals if they remain in the top three of the North Division.

The Rocket currently sit second in their division with a record of 37-26-6, which equates to a 0.580 points percentage. The team has four games in hand over the Syracuse Crunch, who are currently second in the North Division with a points percentage of 0.596.

The Rocket have three games remaining in their regular season schedule, including two games against the Toronto Marlies, who are fifth in the North Division and the final game of the season against the Syracuse Crunch.

The Rocket’s performance over this last stretch will help determine their playoff matchup, and if the team will receive a bye to the Division Semifinals. This is the first time the team has qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs in franchise history, despite having finished atop the Canadian division last season. The Rocket will look to be the Montreal Canadiens first AHL-affiliate to win the Calder Cup since the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2007.

For schedule and ticket details, make sure to stay tuned to all of the official Rocket channels.