|2018-19 NHL season|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 3, 2018 - June 12, 2019|
|Number of games||82|
|Number of teams||31|
|Top draft pick||Rasmus Dahlin|
|Picked by||Buffalo Sabres|
|Presidents' Trophy||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Season MVP||Nikita Kucherov (Lightning)|
|Top scorer||Nikita Kucherov (Lightning)|
|Playoffs MVP||Ryan O'Reilly (Blues)|
|Champions||St. Louis Blues|
The 2018-19 NHL season was the 102nd season of operation (101st season of play) of the National Hockey League. 31 teams competed in an 82-game regular season. The regular season began on October 3, 2018, and ended on April 6, 2019. The 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs began on April 10, 2019, and the Stanley Cup Finals concluded on June 12, 2019, with the St. Louis Blues winning their first Stanley Cup in the Finals over the Boston Bruins in seven games.
No major rule changes have been implemented this season.
After a trial during the 2018 All-Star Game and China games, the NHL began to allow teams to sell on-ice advertising placements in the corners of the rink. NHL chief revenue officer Keith Wachtel estimated that these new placements could provide up to $10 million in additional revenue to teams per season. During the playoffs, these advertising areas will be controlled by the league.
On October 29, 2018, it was announced that MGM Resorts International would become the NHL's "official sports wagering partner" in the United States. This deal includes direct access to new forms of internal statistics data, as well as brand licensing agreements in relation to its sportsbooks, and came in the wake of a court ruling earlier in the year which declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (a U.S. law that forbade the legalization of sports betting outside of Nevada and other exempted states) to be unconstitutional.
On December 4, 2018, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman officially announced that the league had approved an expansion team in Seattle, later christened the Seattle Kraken, which is planned to begin play in the 2021-22 season. To accommodate the addition in 2021, the new team will be placed in the Pacific Division, while the Arizona Coyotes will be moved to the Central Division.
On December 20, 2017, CBC Television and Rogers Communications struck an agreement to renew its sublicensing agreement for Hockey Night in Canada through the end of Rogers's current broadcast contract. The two sides had previously reached an agreement to extend its original four-year agreement by an additional year. Rogers announced the retirement of long-time commentator Bob Cole from Hockey Night, after calling a limited schedule of games.
Three teams shifted their radio broadcast rights exclusively to internet radio, all of which in heavily crowded large media markets with multiple sports teams seeking a limited number of radio outlets. The Los Angeles Kings "Audio Network" will now be exclusively carried on iHeartRadio. The New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders have a broadcast agreement with Entercom for the New York City market that will see only a limited number of games broadcast on their flagship sports station, WFAN, with the rest being carried on the company's Radio.com platform (the university radio station WRHU remains the Islanders' radio flagship). WFAN had already carried only a limited number of games from those teams in recent seasons, previously pawning off the remainder on other non-sports stations such as WNYM.
In an effort to expand the league's television audience in Europe, the NHL began to schedule more weekend afternoon games (the "European Game of the Week") so they could air live during the primetime hours. The initiative launched with an NHL Global Series game in Gothenburg, Sweden, on October 6, 2018.
The 2018 NHL Entry Draft was held June 22 and 23, 2018. The Buffalo Sabres, by virtue of winning the draft lottery on April 28, held the first overall selection, using it to select defenceman Rasmus Dahlin.
Two preseason games were played in China. The Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins played one game (Calgary as home team) at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen on September 15, 2018, and played another (Boston as home team) at Cadillac Arena in Beijing on September 19, 2018.
Two preseason games were played in Europe. The New Jersey Devils played against SC Bern at PostFinance Arena in Bern, Switzerland, on October 1, 2018. The Edmonton Oilers played against Kölner Haie at Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, on October 3, 2018.
|Team||2017-18 coach||2018-19 coach||Story / Accomplishments|
|Calgary Flames||Glen Gulutzan||Bill Peters||Gulutzan was fired on April 17, following the Flames' failure to make the playoffs. In two seasons, the Flames went 82-68-14 under Gulutzan. The Flames made the playoffs in Gulutzan's first season with the team before missing out the following year. On April 23, Peters was named the Flames' new head coach. He had coached the Carolina Hurricanes the previous four seasons.|
|Carolina Hurricanes||Bill Peters||Rod Brind'Amour||Peters resigned on April 20, following the Hurricanes' failure to make the playoffs. Under Peters the Hurricanes went 137-138-53 and missed the playoffs in all four seasons. On May 8, Brind'Amour, who had spent the previous seven years as an assistant coach for the Hurricanes, was named the Hurricanes' new head coach.|
|Dallas Stars||Ken Hitchcock||Jim Montgomery||Hitchcock retired from coaching on April 13, following the Stars' failure to make the playoffs to become a consultant for the franchise. The Stars went 319-186-60-20 under Hitchcock, winning the Stanley Cup in 1999, going back the following season, and winning the Presidents' Trophy twice. On May 4, Montgomery was named the Stars' new head coach. He previously coached the Denver Pioneers with whom he won the 2017 NCAA championship.|
|New York Islanders||Doug Weight||Barry Trotz||Weight was relieved of his duties by the Islanders on June 5, a few weeks after the hiring of Lou Lamoriello as the president of hockey operations for the Islanders. The Islanders went 59-49-14 under Weight in his one-and-a-half seasons as head coach, never making the playoffs. Weight would remain with the Islanders. On June 21, Trotz was hired as head coach, and was previously the head coach of the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2018.|
|New York Rangers||Alain Vigneault||David Quinn||Vigneault was fired by the New York Rangers on April 7, hours after the team's last regular season game after failing to make the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade and the second time since the 2004-05 NHL lockout. The Rangers went 226-147-37 under Vigneault, going to the Finals in his first year as head coach and winning the Presidents' Trophy the following season. On May 23, Quinn was named the Rangers' new head coach. He previously served as the assistant coach for the Colorado Avalanche during the 2012-13 season.|
|Washington Capitals||Barry Trotz||Todd Reirden||Trotz resigned on June 18 amid speculation of a contract dispute that neither he nor the Capitals confirmed. In four seasons under Trotz, the Capitals went 205-89-34, won two Presidents' Trophies and won the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals. On June 29, Reirden was named head coach by the Capitals. Reirden, in his first NHL head coach position, had been an assistant with the Capitals for all four seasons under Trotz.|
|Team||Outgoing coach||Incoming coach||Story / Accomplishments|
|Anaheim Ducks||Randy Carlyle||Bob Murray*||Carlyle was fired on February 10, 2019, after going 2-15-4 in their past 21 games and losing seven consecutive games. Carlyle, who had previously coached the Ducks between 2005 and 2011, was rehired at the start of the 2016-17 season and went 111-74-35 and made the playoff both years. Carlyle was 384-256-96 throughout his time with the Ducks and won the Stanley Cup in 2007. General manager Murray took over as interim head coach for the rest of the season.|
|Chicago Blackhawks||Joel Quenneville||Jeremy Colliton||Quenneville was fired on November 6, 2018, after starting the season 6-6-3. Quenneville had been the head coach of the team since 2008 and guided them to three Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015, while also accumulating an overall record of 797-452-249 with the team. Jeremy Colliton, the head coach for the Rockford IceHogs, succeeded Quenneville as head coach of the Blackhawks.|
|Edmonton Oilers||Todd McLellan||Ken Hitchcock*||McLellan was fired on November 20, 2018, after starting the season 9-10-1. McLellan had been the Oilers' head coach since the 2015-16 season, leading the team to a 123-119-24 record and a playoff berth in 2016-17. Hitchcock, a head coach with the third most wins in the NHL, was hired out of his announced retirement to replace McLellan for the remainder of the season.|
|Los Angeles Kings||John Stevens||Willie Desjardins*||Stevens was fired on November 4, 2018, after starting the season 4-8-1. Under his only season as head coach of the Kings, Stevens led the team to a 45-29-8 record and a wild card playoff berth in 2017-18. Former Vancouver Canucks head coach Desjardins was named the interim head coach.|
|Ottawa Senators||Guy Boucher||Marc Crawford*||Boucher was fired on March 1, 2019, with the Senators having a 22-37-5 record and losing six consecutive games. Boucher had coached the Senators since the 2016-17 season with a record of 94-108-26 and making it to the Conference Finals in 2017. Crawford, who last coached the Dallas Stars, was named the interim head coach.|
|Philadelphia Flyers||Dave Hakstol||Scott Gordon*||Hakstol was fired on December 17, 2018, after starting the season 12-15-4. Hakstol served as head coach since the 2015-16 season, leading the team to a 134-101-42 record and two playoff appearances. Former New York Islanders head coach Gordon was named the interim head coach.|
|St. Louis Blues||Mike Yeo||Craig Berube*||Yeo was fired on November 19, 2018, after starting the season 7-9-3. Yeo had coached the Blues since February 1, 2017, leading the team to a 73-49-11 record and a playoff berth in 2016-17. Berube, who had served as assistant coach with the Blues since 2017, was named the interim head coach.|
(*) Indicates interim.
|Team||2017-18 GM||2018-19 GM||Story / Accomplishments|
|Minnesota Wild||Chuck Fletcher||Paul Fenton||Fletcher was fired by the Wild on April 23, shortly after their defeat in the first round of the playoffs. He had been the Wild's general manager since the start of the 2009-10 season. Fenton was hired as his replacement on May 21; he had previously held the same position with the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals.|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||Lou Lamoriello||Kyle Dubas||On April 30, 2018, it was announced that Lou Lamoriello would not return as general manager. On May 11, 2018, assistant general manager Kyle Dubas was named his replacement.|
|New York Islanders||Garth Snow||Lou Lamoriello||Snow was fired by the Islanders on June 5, a few weeks after the hiring of Lou Lamoriello as the president of hockey operations for the Islanders. Snow had been the Islanders' general manager since the start of the 2006-07 season. Lamoriello replaced Snow as the Islanders' general manager.|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||Steve Yzerman||Julien BriseBois||Yzerman resigned on September 11, but remained with the Lightning in an advisory role for the last year of his contract. He was replaced by the Lightning's assistant general manager Julien BriseBois who had also served as the organization's AHL affiliate general manager since 2010. Under BriseBois, the Norfolk Admirals and Syracuse Crunch appeared in three Calder Cup finals and won one over his eight seasons.|
|Team||Outgoing GM||Incoming GM||Story / Accomplishments|
|Edmonton Oilers||Peter Chiarelli||Keith Gretzky||Chiarelli was fired as the Oilers' general manager on January 22, 2019, with the Oilers in seventh place in the Pacific Division. Chiarelli had been the general manager since 2015 and the Oilers had made the playoffs once during that time, advancing to the second round in 2017. On January 23, it was announced that Keith Gretzky had been named interim general manager for the Oilers.|
|Philadelphia Flyers||Ron Hextall||Chuck Fletcher||Hextall was fired as the Flyers' general manager on November 26, 2018, with the Flyers in last place in the Metropolitan Division. Hextall had been the general manager since 2014 and the Flyers had made the playoffs twice, never advancing past the first round. On December 3, it was announced that Chuck Fletcher had been named general manager for the Flyers.|
|Team||2017-18 President||2018-19 President||Story / Accomplishments|
|Buffalo Sabres||Russ Brandon||Kim Pegula||Brandon, who served as team president while concurrently serving a similar position with the Buffalo Bills, resigned from both positions on May 1, 2018. He had spent three years as the Sabres' president. Pegula, the wife of owner Terrence Pegula, replaced Brandon in both positions, and became the only current female team president in the NHL. Brandon's departure was the first of several resignations and dismissals resulting from a downsizing of Pegula's executive payroll.|
The regular season began on October 3, 2018, and ended April 6, 2019. This season, the mandatory "bye week" that each team received was extended from five to seven days, to also include All-Star Weekend. The regular season schedule was released on June 21.
Three regular season games, branded as the NHL Global Series, were played in Europe. The Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils played at the Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden, on October 6, 2018. The Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets played two games at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland, on November 1 and 2, 2018.
The 2019 National Hockey League All-Star Game was held in San Jose, California, at SAP Center, home of the San Jose Sharks, on January 26, 2019, the first time it was held on a Saturday after many years of the All-Star game being played on a Sunday.
|1||y – Washington Capitals||82||48||26||8||44||278||249||+29||104|
|2||x – New York Islanders||82||48||27||7||43||228||196||+32||103|
|3||x – Pittsburgh Penguins||82||44||26||12||42||273||241||+32||100|
|1||p – Tampa Bay Lightning||82||62||16||4||56||325||222||+103||128|
|2||x – Boston Bruins||82||49||24||9||47||259||215||+44||107|
|3||x – Toronto Maple Leafs||82||46||28||8||46||286||251||+35||100|
|1||ME||x – Carolina Hurricanes||82||46||29||7||44||245||223||+22||99|
|2||ME||x – Columbus Blue Jackets||82||47||31||4||45||258||232||+26||98|
|6||ME||New York Rangers||82||32||36||14||26||227||272||−45||78|
|8||AT||Detroit Red Wings||82||32||40||10||29||227||277||−50||74|
|9||ME||New Jersey Devils||82||31||41||10||28||222||275||−53||72|
|1||y – Nashville Predators||82||47||29||6||43||240||214||+26||100|
|2||x – Winnipeg Jets||82||47||30||5||45||272||244||+28||99|
|3||x – St. Louis Blues||82||45||28||9||42||247||223||+24||99|
|1||z – Calgary Flames||82||50||25||7||50||289||227||+62||107|
|2||x – San Jose Sharks||82||46||27||9||46||289||261||+28||101|
|3||x – Vegas Golden Knights||82||43||32||7||40||249||230||+19||93|
|1||CE||x – Dallas Stars||82||43||32||7||42||210||202||+8||93|
|2||CE||x – Colorado Avalanche||82||38||30||14||36||260||246||+14||90|
|9||PA||Los Angeles Kings||82||31||42||9||28||202||263||−61||71|
1. Fewer number of games played
2. Greater Regulation + OT Wins (ROW)
3. Greatest number of points earned in head-to-head play (If teams played an uneven number of head-to-head games, the result of the first game on the home ice of the team with the extra home game is discarded.)
4. Greater Goal differential
In each round, teams competed in a best-of-seven series following a 2-2-1-1-1 format (scores in the bracket indicate the number of games won in each best-of-seven series). The team with home ice advantage played at home for games one and two (and games five and seven, if necessary), and the other team was at home for games three and four (and game six, if necessary). The top three teams in each division made the playoffs, along with two wild cards in each conference, for a total of eight teams from each conference.
In the First Round, the lower seeded wild card in the conference played against the division winner with the best record while the other wild card played against the other division winner, and both wild cards were de facto #4 seeds. The other series matched the second and third place teams from the divisions. In the first two rounds, home ice advantage was awarded to the team with the better seed. Thereafter, it was awarded to the team that had the better regular season record followed by any necessary tie breakers.
|First Round||Second Round||Conference Finals||Stanley Cup Finals|
The following players led the league in regular season points at the conclusion of games played on April 6, 2019.
|Nikita Kucherov||Tampa Bay Lightning||82||41||87||128||+24||62|
|Connor McDavid||Edmonton Oilers||78||41||75||116||+3||20|
|Patrick Kane||Chicago Blackhawks||81||44||66||110||+2||22|
|Leon Draisaitl||Edmonton Oilers||82||50||55||105||+2||52|
|Brad Marchand||Boston Bruins||79||36||64||100||+15||96|
|Sidney Crosby||Pittsburgh Penguins||79||35||65||100||+18||36|
|Nathan MacKinnon||Colorado Avalanche||82||41||58||99||+20||34|
|Johnny Gaudreau||Calgary Flames||82||36||63||99||+18||24|
|Steven Stamkos||Tampa Bay Lightning||82||45||53||98||+4||37|
|Aleksander Barkov||Florida Panthers||82||35||61||96||-3||8|
|Jordan Binnington||St. Louis Blues||32||1,876:25||24||5||1||59||5||.927||1.89|
|Ben Bishop||Dallas Stars||46||2,637:18||27||15||2||87||7||.934||1.98|
|Robin Lehner||New York Islanders||46||2,615:49||25||13||5||93||6||.930||2.13|
|Thomas Greiss||New York Islanders||43||2,293:42||23||14||2||87||5||.927||2.28|
|Darcy Kuemper||Arizona Coyotes||55||3,251:15||27||20||8||126||5||.925||2.33|
|Jaroslav Halak||Boston Bruins||40||2,308:07||22||11||4||90||5||.922||2.34|
|Petr Mrazek||Carolina Hurricanes||40||2,386:51||23||14||3||95||4||.914||2.39|
|Andrei Vasilevskiy||Tampa Bay Lightning||53||3,203:45||39||10||4||128||6||.925||2.40|
|Pekka Rinne||Nashville Predators||56||3,219:44||30||19||4||130||4||.918||2.42|
|Tuukka Rask||Boston Bruins||46||2,635:09||27||13||5||109||4||.912||2.48|
The league's awards were presented at the NHL Awards ceremony, that was held following the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs on June 19 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Finalists for voted awards were announced during the playoffs and winners were presented at the award ceremony. Voting concluded immediately after the end of the regular season. The Presidents' Trophy, the Prince of Wales Trophy and Clarence S. Campbell Bowl are not presented at the awards ceremony. The Lester Patrick Trophy is announced during the summer and presented in the fall.
|Stanley Cup||St. Louis Blues||Boston Bruins|
(Best regular-season record)
|Tampa Bay Lightning||Calgary Flames|
|Prince of Wales Trophy
(Eastern Conference playoff champion)
|Boston Bruins||Carolina Hurricanes|
|Clarence S. Campbell Bowl
(Western Conference playoff champion)
|St. Louis Blues||San Jose Sharks|
|Art Ross Trophy
(Player with most points)
|Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning)||Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)|
|Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
(Perseverance, Sportsmanship, and Dedication)
|Robin Lehner (New York Islanders)||Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets)|
Joe Thornton (San Jose Sharks)
|Calder Memorial Trophy
(Best first-year player)
|Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks)||Jordan Binnington (St. Louis Blues)|
Rasmus Dahlin (Buffalo Sabres)
|Conn Smythe Trophy
(Most valuable player, playoffs)
|Ryan O'Reilly (St. Louis Blues)||N/A|
|Frank J. Selke Trophy
|Ryan O'Reilly (St. Louis Blues)||Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins)|
Mark Stone (Ottawa Senators/Vegas Golden Knights)
|Hart Memorial Trophy
(Most valuable player, regular season)
|Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning)||Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)|
Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
|Jack Adams Award
|Barry Trotz (New York Islanders)||Craig Berube (St. Louis Blues)|
Jon Cooper (Tampa Bay Lightning)
|James Norris Memorial Trophy
|Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames)||Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks)|
Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
|King Clancy Memorial Trophy
(Leadership and humanitarian contribution)
|Jason Zucker (Minnesota Wild)||Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Arizona Coyotes)|
Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers)
|Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
(Sportsmanship and excellence)
|Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers)||Sean Monahan (Calgary Flames)|
Ryan O'Reilly (St. Louis Blues)
|Ted Lindsay Award
|Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning)||Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)|
Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
|Mark Messier Leadership Award
(Leadership and community activities)
|Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers/Nashville Predators)||Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames)|
Justin Williams (Carolina Hurricanes)
|Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy
|Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)||Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers)|
|NHL General Manager of the Year Award
(Top general manager)
|Don Sweeney (Boston Bruins)||Doug Armstrong (St. Louis Blues)|
Don Waddell (Carolina Hurricanes)
|Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning)||Ben Bishop (Dallas Stars)|
Robin Lehner (New York Islanders)
|William M. Jennings Trophy
(Goaltender(s) of team with fewest goals against)
|Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss (New York Islanders)||Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin (Dallas Stars)|
|Lester Patrick Trophy
(Service to ice hockey in U.S.)
(Former trainer, NY Rangers, New Jersey, Washington, 1980 Olympic team)
|Position||First Team||Second Team||Position||All-Rookie|
|G||Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning||Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars||G||Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues|
|D||Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks||John Carlson, Washington Capitals||D||Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres|
|D||Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames||Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning||D||Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars|
|C||Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers||Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins||F||Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning|
|RW||Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning||Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks||F||Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks|
|LW||Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals||Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins||F||Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators|
The following is a list of notable players who played their first NHL game during the 2018-19 season, listed with their first team. Asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs.
|Rasmus Dahlin||Buffalo Sabres||First overall pick in the 2018 Draft|
|Cale Makar*||Colorado Avalanche||2019-20 Calder Memorial Trophy winner|
|Elias Pettersson||Vancouver Canucks||2018-19 Calder Memorial Trophy winner|
|Matt Cullen||Pittsburgh Penguins||Over 1,500 career games played, oldest active player in NHL at time of retirement|
|Daniel Girardi||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL record for blocked shots at time of retirement|
|Chris Kunitz||Chicago Blackhawks||Over 1,000 career games played, one-time NHL All-Star Team selection|
|Roberto Luongo||Florida Panthers||William M. Jennings Trophy winner, 489 career games won, over 1,000 career games played, two-time NHL All-Star Team selection, six-time NHL All-Star|
|Brooks Orpik||Washington Capitals||Over 1,000 career games played|
|Tomas Plekanec||Montreal Canadiens||Over 1,000 career games played|
|Thomas Vanek||Detroit Red Wings||Over 1,000 career games played, one-time NHL All-Star Team selection|
|Cam Ward||Carolina Hurricanes||Conn Smythe Trophy winner, one-time NHL All-Star|
The Flames and Bruins will clash Sept. 15 in Shenzhen and Sept. 19 in Beijing.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi became the first athlete in the major four sports in North American to play to be born in the 21st Century. Rasmus Dahlin of the Buffalo Sabres is also born in the year 2000, but he makes his debut on Thursday. Kotkaniemi is also the youngest player in the NHL.
Keith played his 1,000th game...
With a four-point night Connor McDavid set his first ever NHL record Tuesday evening in Winnipeg, by scoring or assisting on each of his team's first nine goals from the start of a season. (Adam Oates held the record at seven goals, set in 1986-87 for Detroit.)
Jason Spezza played in his 1,000th career NHL game.
Jason Pominville, playing in his 1,000th NHL game...
Thornton played in his 1,500th game over 21 seasons, including 14 with San Jose. He is among 19 players to reach that total.
Bonino played his 500th career game. ... Rinne earned his 320th career win, surpassing Miikka Kiprusoff for most by a Finnish-born goaltender.