No major rule changes have been implemented this season.
On-ice ads in the rink corners
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.
This was the eighth season under the NHL's ten year U.S. rights deal with NBC Sports and fifth season of its twelve year Canadian rights deals with Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
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 that long-time commentator Bob Cole retired 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 a "European Game of the Week" broadcast during the season for its European rightsholders. The initiative launched with an NHL Global Series game in Gothenburg, Sweden, on October 6, 2018. Fifty other weekend games were also scheduled within the afternoon window so they could air live during the primetime hours in Europe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 New York Islanders moved half of their home schedule back to their previous home, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, after the Barclays Center proved to be unsuitable as a full-time NHL venue. The Islanders continue to play the remaining half of their home schedule at the Barclays Center, an arrangement that will last until 2021, when Belmont Park Arena is scheduled to open. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Islanders played their first round home games at the Nassau Coliseum and their second round home games at the Barclays Center.
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.
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 compete 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 plays at home for games one and two (and games five and seven, if necessary), and the other team is at home for games three and four (and game six, if necessary). The top three teams in each division make 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 plays against the division winner with the best record while the other wild card plays against the other division winner, and both wild cards are de facto #4 seeds. The other series match the second and third place teams from the divisions. In the first two rounds, home ice advantage is awarded to the team with the better seed. Thereafter, it is awarded to the team that had more points in the regular season followed by the tie breakers, if necessary.
The league's awards will be presented at the NHL Awards ceremony, to be held following the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs at a site to be determined. Finalists for voted awards are announced during the playoffs and winners are presented at the award ceremony. Voting will conclude 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.
On October 6, 2018, Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn scored his 600th point.
On October 10, 2018, Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen scored his 300th point.
On October 13, 2018, Boston Bruins forward David Krejci recorded his 400th assist.
On October 13, 2018, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith played his 1,000th game, becoming the 323rd player to reach the mark.
On October 14, 2018, San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski scored his 700th point.
On October 15, 2018, Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec played his 1,000th game, becoming the 324th player to reach the mark.
On October 16, 2018, Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid broke his first NHL record, by contributing to, either by scoring or assisting on all of the first nine goals scored by his team in the regular season. The record was previously held by Adam Oates, who contributed to the first seven goals scored by the Detroit Red Wings in 1986–87.
On October 19, 2018, Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal played his 1,100th game.
On October 19, 2018, Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter scored his 500th point.
On November 29, 2018, Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine scored his 100th goal, becoming the fourth-youngest player in NHL history to score 100 regular season goals (20 years, 224 days), joining Wayne Gretzky (20 years, 40 days), Jimmy Carson (20 years, 116 days) and Brian Bellows (20 years, 179 days).
On March 3, 2019, New York Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith played his 400th game.
On March 5, 2019, Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Kesler played his 1,000th game, becoming the 336th player to reach the mark.
On March 5, 2019, New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz got his 800th win, becoming the fourth coach to reach the mark.
On March 5, 2019, Ottawa Senators forward Zack Smith played his 600th game.
On March 5, 2019, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby scored his 1,200th point, becoming the 48th player to reach the mark.
On March 5, 2019, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cullen played his 1,500th game, becoming the 20th player to reach the mark.
On March 5, 2019, the Tampa Bay Lightning became the first team in NHL history to have multiple goalies (Andrei Vasilevskiy and Louis Domingue), each with a winning streak of 10 or more games in a season.
On March 7, 2019, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler played his 800th game.
On March 8, 2019, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber scored his 200th goal, becoming the 21st defenseman to reach that mark.
On March 9, 2019, Boston Bruins defenseman John Moore played his 500th game.
On March 9, 2019, New Jersey Devils forward Travis Zajac scored his 500th point.
On March 9, 2019, New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad scored his 300th point.
On March 10, 2019, Florida Panthers defensemen Aaron Ekblad recorded his 100th assist.
On March 10, 2019, Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov played his 400th game.
On March 11, 2019, Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl played his 400th game.
On March 11, 2019, San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier scored his 100th point.
On March 11, 2019, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh played his 600th game.
On March 11, 2019, the Tampa Bay Lightning became the seventh team in NHL history to have 110 points through 70 games.
On March 12, 2019, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price recorded his 315th win, surpassing Jacques Plante to become the winningest goaltender in Canadiens franchise history.
On March 12, 2019, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin scored his 1,000th point, becoming the 88th player to reach the mark.
On March 12, 2019, St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz scored his 300th point.
On March 12, 2019, Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin scored his 1,200th point, becoming the 49th player to reach the mark.
On March 14, 2019, Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker played his 400th game.
On March 16, 2019, Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron scored his 800th point.
On March 16, 2019, Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal scored his 500th point.
On March 16, 2019, Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter scored his 700th point.
On March 16, 2019, Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen scored his 400th point.
On March 17, 2019, St. Louis Blues forward Patrick Maroon scored his 200th point.
On March 18, 2019, San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture scored his 500th point.
On March 18, 2019, San Jose Sharks forward Gustav Nyquist scored his 300th point.
On March 19, 2019, New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk played his 600th game.
On March 19, 2019, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry played his 600th game.
On March 20, 2019, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews scored his 200th point.
On March 21, 2019, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers played his 600th game.
On March 21, 2019, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin played his 300th game.
On March 21, 2019, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie scored his 300th point.
On March 21, 2019, Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored his 300th point.
On March 21, 2019, St. Louis Blues forward Alexander Steen scored his 600th point.
On March 21, 2019, Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper earned his 300th win in his 500th game.
On March 21, 2019, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Jon Merrill played his 300th game.
On March 21, 2019, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba played his 400th game.
On March 22, 2019, San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun played his 600th game.
On March 23, 2019, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara scored his 200th goal, becoming the 22nd defenseman to reach that mark.
On March 23, 2019, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera played his 700th game.
On March 23, 2019, Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle played his 900th game.
On March 23, 2019, Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Tatar played his 500th game.
On March 23, 2019, Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi scored his 200th point.
On March 23, 2019, Vegas Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith played his 500th game.
On March 25, 2019, Vegas Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault scored his 200th point.
On March 25, 2019, St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo recorded his 300th assist.
On March 26, 2019, Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson scored his 400th point.
On March 28, 2019, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton played his 500th game.
On March 28, 2019, Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick played his 600th game, becoming the 51st goalie to reach the mark.
On March 28, 2019, Montreal Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw played his 500th game.
On March 28, 2019, Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi played his 300th game.
On March 28, 2019, San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl played his 400th game.
On March 30, 2019, Edmonton Oilers forward Milan Lucic scored his 500th point.
On March 30, 2019, St. Louis Blues forward Tyler Bozak scored his 400th point.
On April 1, 2019, Chicago Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov played his 700th game.
On April 1, 2019, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane played his 900th game.
On April 1, 2019, Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar played his 1,000th game, becoming the 337th player to reach the mark.
On April 2, 2019, Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon scored his 400th point.
On April 5, 2019, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Cam Ward played his 700th game, becoming the 28th player to reach the mark.
On April 5, 2019, Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin won the eighth Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy of his career, surpassing Phil Esposito to become the player with the most goal-scoring titles in NHL history.
On April 6, 2019, Boston Bruins forward Charlie Coyle played his 500th game.
On April 6, 2019, Dallas Stars forward Alexander Radulov scored his 300th point.
On April 6, 2019, Florida Panthers forward Mike Hoffman scored his 300th point.
On April 6, 2019, San Jose Sharks forward Gustav Nyquist played his 500th game.
On April 6, 2019, San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer got his 400th win, becoming the 38th head coach to reach the mark.
On April 6, 2019, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov scored his 128th point, surpassing Alexander Mogilny to become the Russian-born leading scorer in a single season.
The Anaheim Ducks wore a new third jersey inspired by the uniforms from their years as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim from 1993 to 2006.
The Arizona Coyotes wore the "Kachina" jersey as the team's new third uniform. They previously used this design for road games from 1996 to 2003.
The Calgary Flames wore their 2009–2013 and 2016–17 third jersey, which is a throwback to their red jersey used from 1980 to 1994.
The Carolina Hurricanes wore a new black third jersey, which was inspired by the third uniform used from 2008 to 2017. The team also announced that they would wear a heritage uniform on two occasions versus the Boston Bruins, which was inspired by the jerseys worn by their predecessor, the Hartford Whalers, from 1985 to 1989 and during the 1990–91 season. The goal song "Brass Bonanza" and Pucky the Whale from the Hartford Whalers also appeared in the games.
The Colorado Avalanche wore a new third jersey, which was inspired by the third uniform used during the 2015–16 season.
^Wilde, Brian (October 3, 2018). "Call of the Wilde: Opening night". Global News. Retrieved October 9, 2018. 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.
^Vogel, Mike (October 10, 2018). "POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 5, Knights 2". NHL.com. Retrieved October 14, 2018. The 300 Club - With his helper on T.J. Oshie's late empty-netter, Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen recorded the 300th point (57 goals, 243 assists) of his NHL career.
^"Maple Leafs beat Devils 6-1 in Hall of Fame Game". AP News. November 10, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018. Marleau was involved in Kadri's goal, becoming the 88th NHL player to reach the 600 assist milestone. The only other active player with 600 assists is San Jose's Joe Thornton with 1,032.
^Burgess, Melissa (November 24, 2018). "Jack Eichel's first 200 career NHL points". diebytheblade.com. Retrieved November 25, 2018. On November 19, in a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Eichel notched the 200th point of his NHL career.
^ abSolomon, David (November 25, 2018). "Laine scores 5 goals, lifts Winnipeg past St. Louis 8-4". AP News. Retrieved November 26, 2018. Laine recorded the 61st five-goal game in NHL history Saturday night as the Jets’ defeated the St. Louis Blues 8-4. ... Jets RW Blake Wheeler skated in his 800th career NHL game.
^ abErlendsson, Erik (November 26, 2018). "Point scores twice, Lightning stop Devils 5-2". AP News. Retrieved November 26, 2018. New Jersey C Nico Hischier, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, appeared in his 100th career game. ... D Dan Girardi registered his 200th career assist.
^ abGereffi, Paul (November 27, 2018). "Hoffman scores in overtime, Panthers rally past Devils 4-3". AP News. Retrieved November 27, 2018. With the Panthers' net empty, Huberdeau grabbed a loose puck in front and pushed it past Kinkaid for his 100th NHL goal. ... Panthers D Mark Pysyk played in his 300th NHL game.
^"Andersen, Leafs rebound in rout of Canes". Reuters. December 11, 2018. Retrieved December 12, 2018. Tavares has 24 goals in 36 career games against Carolina. He appeared in his 700th career NHL game, notching his 291st goal.
^ abWoodley, Kevin (December 18, 2018). "Lightning extend point streak to 10 with victory against Canucks". NHL.com. Retrieved December 19, 2018. Kucherov, playing his 400th NHL game, scored at 8:40 of the first period to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead and extend his point streak to six games. .. Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi played his 900th NHL game.
^Greenspan, Dan (December 18, 2018). "Kings end Jets' five-game winning streak". NHL.com. Retrieved December 19, 2018. Jets forward Mark Scheifele, who played in his 400th NHL game, had a five-game multipoint streak end.
^ ab"B's cruise to victory over Ducks". NBC Sports Boston. December 20, 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2018. Krug and David Backes earned their 200th and 300th career assists respectively,
^"Lightning rally for shootout win over Flames". AP News. December 21, 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2018. Playing in his 700th NHL game, Stamkos scored his 366th goal to pass Martin St. Louis for second on the club’s career list. Stamkos trails just Vincent Lecavalier (383) for most goals in team history.
^"Kucherov has 5 points as red-hot Lightning beat Oilers 6-3". AP News. December 23, 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2018. McDavid picked up his 200th career assist on the play, becoming the sixth player in NHL history to reach the milestone before his 22nd birthday — joining a club that includes Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux, Dale Hawerchuk and Ron Francis.