The 2019–20 NHL season is the 103rd season of operation (102nd season of play) of the National Hockey League. 31 teams are competing in an 82-game regular season. The regular season began on October 2, 2019, 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.
The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is in 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. On August 30, the NHL announced that they would not opt out. 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.
The salary cap is $81.5 million, as announced on June 22, 2019.
Seattle expansion team
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. On August 22, 2019, the club stated that they will not unveil their team name until early 2020.
The following rule changes were proposed June 19, 2019 and approved the next day:
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.
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.
Linesmen will now drop the puck at centre ice after goals and at the start of overtime instead of the referees.
Teams now have an unlimited number of coach's challenges, but failed challenges will now result in delay-of-game penalties instead of the loss of their timeout. The first failed challenge will result in a two-minute minor, and each subsequent failed challenge will result in a four-minute double-minor.
A team may challenge goals that follow plays in the offensive zone that should have instead resulted in a stoppage before the puck went into the net. Missed stoppages include hand passes, pucks high-sticked to a teammate, and pucks hitting the netting or going into the players bench. The delay-of-game penalty for pucks going over the glass will still not be reviewable under this situation.
All match and 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.
Referees have the option to review high-sticking double minors at their discretion and without consultation with the NHL's Situation Room.
Modification to the tie-breaking procedure
To put more emphasis on teams winning in regulation, regulation wins (tracked in an additional RW column in the league standings) will now precede regulation and overtime wins (ROW) in the tie-breaking procedure.
Player and puck tracking technology
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. This technology was developed in collaboration with the German Fraunhofer Institute using transmitters 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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Hitchcock was dismissed after Ken Holland became the general manager of the Oilers on May 7, 2019. Tippett was hired on May 28. He last served as head coach of the Arizona Coyotes from 2009 to 2017.
Boughner was fired on April 7, 2019. In two seasons, the Panthers went 79–62–22 and never qualified for the playoffs under Boughner. 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.
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. 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.
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. On May 23, the team hired Smith as their head coach. He most recently served as an assistant coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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. 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).
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. After coaching the Blues to their first Stanley Cup in 2019, Berube was named permanent head coach on June 24, 2019.
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. Holland was hired on May 7, 2019.
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.
(*) Indicates interim.
The regular season began on October 2, 2019, and will end on April 4, 2020.
Updated to game(s) played on November 18, 2019. Source: National Hockey League
1. Fewer number of games played
2. Greater Regulation Wins (RW)
3. Greater Regulation + OT Wins (ROW)
4. Greater Wins in any manner (W)
5. 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.)
6. Greater Goal differential
The following players led the league in regular season points at the conclusion of games played on November 18, 2019.
On October 22, 2019, Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon played his 600th NHL game.
On October 22, 2019, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury won his 446th NHL game, surpassing Terry Sawchuk's record and taking sole possession of seventh on the all time career wins list for goaltenders.
On November 13, 2019, Dallas Stars forward Corey Perry played his 1,000th NHL game, becoming the 340th player to reach the mark.
On November 15, 2019, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand played his 700th NHL game.
On November 15, 2019, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Alex Galchenyuk scored his 300th point while playing his 500th NHL game.
On November 16, 2019, Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville won his 900th game, becoming the second coach in NHL history to reach the mark.
On November 16, 2019, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos scored his 400th goal, becoming the 98th player to reach the mark.
On November 16, 2019, Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter played his 1,000th NHL game, becoming the 341st player to reach the mark.
On November 16, 2019, St. Louis Blues forward David Perron played in his 800th NHL game.
On November 17, 2019, Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves played in his 600th NHL game.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Vancouver Canucks, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the franchise in the NHL, 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.