NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Tuesday that the 2019-20 regular season has concluded. If and when Phase 4 of the NHL’s four-tiered plan is reached, the league will transition to a 24-team return to play format.
For the first time since the lockout-shortened season in 2012-13, an 82-game regular season wasn’t completed.
In Tuesday’s announcement, the teams that have earned a berth into 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs if the season resumes are the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars.
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Of the eight teams that earned a bye into the first round of the playoffs, the Flyers were the only team not in the playoffs last season. Philadelphia last made the postseason in 2017-18.
The seven teams who won’t be competing for a Stanley Cup are the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres. If played, the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs would be the first since the 1995-96 season to not feature a California team.
With the regular season officially concluded, here’s where the awards stand.
Who won the 2019-20 Presidents’ Trophy?
After falling short in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins stormed out to points in 13 of their first 14 games and never looked back. Boston reached the 100-point plateau for the third consecutive season in their final regular-season game on March 10 when they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Presidents’ Trophy is awarded to the Bruins for the third time in franchise history having previously won it in 1989-90 and 2013-14.
Who are the division champions?
Boston clinched the Atlantic Division title for the first time in six seasons edging out the Tampa Bay Lightning, who came on late in the second half after a rough first couple of months. The Bruins had the top goaltending tandem in the league this season as the team sported the league’s best defense, allowing just 2.39 goals per game. It also doesn’t hurt to have the league’s top goalscorer in Pastrnak spearheading an offense that ranked ninth in the NHL.
In the Metropolitan Division, the Washington Capitals are the champions for a fifth consecutive season, besting the Flyers by one point. Washington had the league’s second-highest scoring offense thanks to Ovechkin and defenseman John Carlson, who led all NHL blueliners with 75 points. The Capitals also feature a steady goalie duo of Braden Holtby and Ilya Samsonov, who has flown on to the season in his rookie campaign. In 26 games, the Russian ranks 11th in the NHL with a 2.55 GAA.
No Stanley Cup hangover for the Blues as they won the Central Division for the first time since the 2014-15 season, squeaking by the Avalanche. Despite losing forward Vladimir Tarasenko to injury in late-Oct., the Blues still averaged 3.14 goals per game with the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly leading the team with 61 points. Goalies Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen combined to allow the sixth-fewest goals in the NHL with Allen ranking second among qualified netminders with a 2.15 GAA.
For the second time in its three-year existence, the Vegas Golden Knights won the Pacific Division. After Peter DeBoer replaced Gerard Gallant as head coach on Jan. 15, the team went 15-5-2 sporting the fourth-best record in the league during that span. The ageless wonder Marc-Andre Fleury played in 48 games this season with forward Max Pacioretty leading the team with 66 points, one behind his career-high.
Who is the Art Ross Trophy winner?
For the third time in four years, an Oiler has won the Art Ross Trophy, but for the first time, it wasn’t Connor McDavid. Leon Draisaitl wins the award in 2019-20 after posting 110 points, including a league-high 67 assists, becoming the first German to ever win the award. Draisaitl joins McDavid and Wayne Gretzky as the only Oilers to earn the honor.
It was a breakout season for the 24-year-old setting a career-high in apples. As a leader on the best power-play unit in the league, the German forward led the NHL with 44 power play points.
With McDavid finishing in second behind Draisaitl, the two become the first set of teammates to finish in the top-two in scoring since the 2012-13 season when it was the Lightning’s Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.
Who is the Rocket Richard Trophy winner?
Pastrnak and Ovechkin scored 48 goals this season to tie for the most in the league. For the first time in a decade, we’ll have co-winners of the award. The Lightning’s Steven Stamkos and Penguins’ Sidney Crosby shared the trophy in the 2009-10 season with 51 goals each.
The Great Eight wins the award for a ninth time and for the seventh time in eight years. Pastrnak wins the award for the first time in his career and becomes the first Bruin to win the honor.
Since the award was created in 1998-99 season, Ovechkin’s nine Rocket Richard trophies is the most in NHL history, seven more than the next closest batch of players.
Who is the William M. Jennings Trophy winner?
Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak (Bruins)
Rask and Halak share the award as the goaltenders on the team who allowed the fewest goals this season. Boston led the league in goals allowed (167) with Rask leading the NHL with a 2.12 goals-against average and placing second with a .929 save percentage.
Halak was just as strong in goal posting a 2.39 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage with his play earning him a one-year contract extension.
It’s the third time the Bruins have won the William M. Jennings Trophy with the other instances coming in the 1989-90 season (Reggie Lemelin and Andy Moog) and 2008-09 (Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez).
Who was the highest-scoring rookie?
Quinn Hughes, Canucks
For the second straight year, a Vancouver Canuck has tallied the most points by a rookie in a season. Elias Pettersson had that honor last season with 66 points in 71 games. This season, the Vancouver blueliner finished tops among rookies with 53 points in 68 games this season edging out Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar who finished with 50 in 57. Rounding out the top-five is Chicago Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik (46), Sabres forward Victor Olofsson (42) and New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (42).
Hughes is the first defenseman to lead all rookies in points since the 1988-89 season when Rangers blueliner Brian Leetch had 71 points in 68 games.
He’ll look to follow Pettersson’s footsteps and win the Calder Memorial Trophy. If Hughes were to win, it would be the first time the award was given to a recipient on the same team in consecutive years since the Bruins’ Bobby Orr and Derek Sanderson won it back-to-back in 1966-67 and 1967-68.
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Who are the scoring leaders on teams not competing for a Stanley Cup?
Sabres forward Jack Eichel is the highest-scoring player whose season is over. The Buffalo captain ranked 10th in the NHL with 78 points as the team’s league-leading playoff drought has extended to nine seasons.
Other notable players who will have to wait until next season before hitting the ice is the Kings’ Anze Kopitar (62 points), Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin (53 points), Sabres’ Sam Reinhart (50 points) and Sharks’ Timo Meier (49 points).
For the seventh time in its 28-year history, the Sharks have missed the Stanley Cup playoffs and just for the third time since the turn of the century (2002-03 and 2014-15). Big names, such as forwards Evander Kane and Logan Couture and defensemen Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns, will be at home for the foreseeable future.
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