2019–20 NHL season

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2019–20 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 2, 2019 – June 2020
Number of games82
Number of teams31
Draft
Top draft pickJack Hughes
Picked byNew Jersey Devils
Regular season
Playoffs
Stanley Cup
NHL seasons
2020–21 →

The 2019–20 NHL season will be the 103rd season of operation (102nd season of play) of the National Hockey League. 31 teams will compete in an 82-game regular season. The regular season will begin on October 2, 2019[1], and will end on April 4, 2020. The 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs will begin a few days afterwards, with the Stanley Cup Finals held in late May and early June. The entire schedule was released on June 25, 2019.

League business[edit]

Collective Bargaining Agreement[edit]

The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) will enter into its eighth season. Before the season started, both the NHL and the NHLPA had the choice to opt out of the CBA on September 1, and September 16, 2019, respectively. If either of them had opted out, the CBA would have expired at the end of this season.[2] On August 30, the NHL announced that they would not opt out.[3] On September 16, the NHLPA then also agreed not to opt out, therefore the CBA will run its course until the end of the 2021–22 season.[4]

Salary cap[edit]

The salary cap is $81.5 million, as announced on June 22, 2019.[5]

Seattle expansion team[edit]

On July 17, 2019, the Seattle expansion team, set to begin play in the 2021–22 season, hired Ron Francis as their first general manager.[6] On August 22, 2019, the club stated that they will not unveil their team name until early 2020.[7]

Rule changes[edit]

The following rule changes were proposed June 19, 2019 and approved the next day:[8][9]

  • The league adopted the David Leggio Rule: deliberately moving the goalposts off its moorings to stop play on a breakaway will result in an awarded goal to the offensive team.
  • In the event a net is inadvertently knocked off its moorings, or if a puck shot from beyond center ice is stopped and frozen by the goaltender, the face-off will take place in the goaltender's defensive zone, with the team on offense given choice of side. In such cases, the defensive team will not be allowed to make a line change.
  • A puck that leaves out of play in the offensive zone will remain in the offensive zone for the next face-off.
  • All major penalties excluding fighting will be required to video review; officials will reserve the authority to reduce the penalty to a minor penalty depending on the result of the review, but referees cannot rescind a penalty altogether.
  • Players that lose their helmet during play must return to the bench as soon as it is feasible until it can be replaced, or the player must retrieve their helmet.

Player and puck tracking technology[edit]

After testing at the 2019 National Hockey League All-Star Game, the NHL planned to deploy player and puck tracking systems to all 31 NHL arenas prior to the start of the 2019–20 season.[10][11] This technology was developed by SAP and Sportvision, using microchips embedded inside pucks and jerseys. It enables on-air features such as speed displays, puck tracking graphics (reminiscent of the FoxTrax graphics utilized in the late 1990's by previous U.S. national NHL broadcaster Fox, also developed by Sportvision), and marker graphics hovering above players.[12]

On September 5, 2019, it was reported that the league replaced its primary technology partner in its tracking technology, and thus the system likely would not get up and running until the 2020 playoffs.[13]

Media rights[edit]

This will be the ninth season under the NHL's ten year deal with NBC Sports and sixth season of its twelve year Canadian rights deal with Sportsnet and TVA Sports.[14][15]

On January 2, 2019, the Chicago Blackhawks agreed to an exclusive multi-year deal with NBC Sports Chicago beginning with the 2019–20 season, ending the team's broadcasts on WGN-TV.[16]

Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios combined to purchase the former Fox Sports regional networks (FSN). Twelve of the NHL's 31 teams (Anaheim, Arizona, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Florida, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay) carry their television broadcasts through FSN. FSN was one of the properties Fox Corporation's predecessor 21st Century Fox divested in its sale to The Walt Disney Company, but which The Walt Disney Company could not keep due to antitrust concerns. This is Entertainment Studios' first entry into sports, while Sinclair has had a sports operation since 2014 that currently distributes the free-to-air network Stadium and is concurrently expanding into the regional sports network business with its stakes in these networks, YES Network and the upcoming Chicago-based Marquee Sports Network.[17]

In August 2019, the Vegas Golden Knights agreed to a deal with Las Vegas broadcast television station KTNV to locally televise all of the team's 2019 preseason games over-the-air.[18]

This is the final season of Sportsnet's regional rights to the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.[19]

Draft[edit]

The 2019 NHL Entry Draft was held on June 21 and 22, 2019, with Jack Hughes being selected first overall by the New Jersey Devils.[20][21]

Preseason games in Europe[edit]

Two preseason games will be played in Europe. The Chicago Blackhawks will play against Eisbaren Berlin at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany, on September 29, 2019. The Philadelphia Flyers will play against Lausanne HC at Vaudoise Arena in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 30, 2019.[22]

Coaching changes[edit]

Coaching changes
Off–season
Team 2018–19 coach 2019–20 coach Story / Accomplishments
Anaheim Ducks Randy Carlyle
Bob Murray*
Dallas Eakins Carlyle was fired on February 10, 2019, after nearly three years after his second stint with the team in which he won the Stanley Cup in 2007, but since then made the playoffs twice. General manager Murray took over as interim coach until the end of the 2018–19 season.[23] Eakins was hired on June 17, 2019. Eakins most recently served as the head coach of the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League (AHL) from 2015 to 2019.[24]
Buffalo Sabres Phil Housley Ralph Krueger Housley was fired April 7, 2019, after two seasons and a 58–84–22 record with the Sabres. Housley finished his first season in last place and squandered a 10-game winning streak in his second to collapse and miss the playoffs.[25] Krueger was hired May 15, 2019. He did not coach ice hockey full-time since his only previous NHL coaching stint, a half-season with the Edmonton Oilers in 2013, ended with his firing.[26]
Edmonton Oilers Todd McLellan
Ken Hitchcock*
Dave Tippett Hitchcock was dismissed after Ken Holland became the general manager of the Oilers on May 7, 2019.[27] Tippett was hired on May 28. He last served as head coach of the Arizona Coyotes from 2009 to 2017.[28]
Florida Panthers Bob Boughner Joel Quenneville Boughner was fired on April 7, 2019. In two seasons, the Panthers went 79–62–22 and never qualified for the playoffs under Boughner.[29] On April 8, Quenneville was hired as the team's new head coach. Quenneville most recently served as the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks (2008–2018), 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.[30]
Los Angeles Kings John Stevens
Willie Desjardins*
Todd McLellan Stevens was fired on November 4, 2018, after starting the season 4–8–1 with only one playoff appearance during his only full season as coach. Former Vancouver Canucks' head coach Desjardins was named the interim coach for the team.[31][32] On April 16, 2019, the team hired McLellan as franchise's 29th head coach. McLellan most recently served as the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers (2015–2018) guiding the team to one playoff berth. Overall, McLellan has a 434–282–90 record including a 37–38 postseason record.[33]
Ottawa Senators Guy Boucher
Marc Crawford*
D.J. Smith Boucher was fired on March 1, 2019, after three seasons with the team, his best season being the 2016–17 season when the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals. Crawford, who previously coached the Dallas Stars, was named the Senators' interim head coach.[34] On May 23, the team hired Smith as their head coach. He most recently served as an assistant coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.[35]
Philadelphia Flyers Dave Hakstol
Scott Gordon*
Alain Vigneault Hakstol was fired on December 17, 2018, after three and a half years with the team where he guided them to two playoff appearances. Former New York Islanders' head coach Gordon was named interim coach.[36] Vigneault was hired on April 15, 2019. Vigneault most recently served as the head coach of the New York Rangers, guiding them to a 226–147–37 record in five seasons (2013–2018).[37]
St. Louis Blues Mike Yeo
Craig Berube*
Craig Berube Yeo was fired on November 19, 2018, after almost two years with the team and only one playoff appearance. Berube, who had served as assistant coach with the Blues since 2017, was named interim head coach.[38] After coaching the Blues to their first Stanley Cup in 2019, Berube was named permanent head coach on June 24, 2019.[39]

(*) Indicates interim.

Front office changes[edit]

General managers
Off–season
Team 2018–19 GM 2019–20 GM Story / Accomplishments
Detroit Red Wings Ken Holland Steve Yzerman Yzerman, who played his entire NHL playing career for the Red Wings and had previously been the team's vice president from 2006 to 2010, returned as general manager April 19, 2019.[40]
Edmonton Oilers Peter Chiarelli
Keith Gretzky*
Ken Holland Chiarelli was fired on January 22, 2019, after four years as the Oilers' general manager. Keith Gretzky, the brother of former NHL player Wayne Gretzky, was named interim general manager.[41] Holland was hired on May 7, 2019.[42]
Minnesota Wild Paul Fenton Bill Guerin Fenton was fired on July 30, 2019, after one year as general manager. On August 21, it was announced that Bill Guerin had been named general manager of the Wild.[43]
Vegas Golden Knights George McPhee Kelly McCrimmon McCrimmon was promoted to general manager, effective September 1, 2019, on May 2, 2019. McPhee will remain Director of Hockey Operations of the Golden Knights, but McCrimmon will represent them at the league's general manager meetings and be the point of contact for other general managers.[44]

(*) Indicates interim.

Regular season[edit]

The regular season will begin on October 2, 2019, and will end on April 4, 2020.[45]

International games[edit]

Three regular season games, branded as the NHL Global Series, will be played in Europe. The Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers will play their regular season-opening game on October 4, 2019 at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. The Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning will play two games at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden on November 8 and 9, 2019.[22]

Outdoor games[edit]

Three outdoor games have been scheduled for the 2019–20 season:

All-Star Game[edit]

The 2020 National Hockey League All-Star Game will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Enterprise Center, the home of the St. Louis Blues on January 26, 2020, as the All-Star Game will return to being held on Sunday.[49]

Uniforms[edit]

  • The Buffalo Sabres introduced a 50th-anniversary third jersey that is plain white, with old gold trim and navy blue lettering. It will be the last season the team uses navy blue; a royal blue jersey will be introduced in 2020–21.[50]
  • The Carolina Hurricanes introduced a new road jersey, featuring the wordmark "Canes" written diagonally across the front. The jersey also incorporates the Hurricanes' secondary logo introduced by the team's alternate jersey during the previous season.[51]
  • The Los Angeles Kings introduced a 1990s throwback jersey for the 2019–20 season, which was inspired by the Kings' white home jersey worn from 1988 to 1998. The team is scheduled to wear the jersey twice during the season.[52]
  • The St. Louis Blues introduced a 1990s throwback jersey for the 2019–20 season, which was inspired by the Blues' blue road jersey worn from 1995 to 1998. The team is scheduled to wear the jersey in three home games during the season.[53][54]
  • To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the franchise in the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks introduced brand new home and away jerseys that will be worn during the season. The Canucks will also wear brand new third jerseys for select games. In addition, the Canucks will wear their 1990s throwback jerseys for select games. The design was chosen via an online vote over two other throwback jersey options.[55]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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