As the 2016-2017 NHL season comes to a close, here’s a list of defining moments (in no particular order):
Connor McDavid won the Art Ross with 100 points in 82 games. This made him the third-youngest player to win the trophy after Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky. His exceptional season also garnered him a Hart nomination.
There have been many milestones this season, but the following are some of the most notable:
- October 18: Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa scored his 500th goal.
- December 22: Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr scored his 1,888th point, putting him second in league history in career points. He also played his 1,700th NHL game on March 19, making him the fourth player to reach this milestone.
- December 23: Shane Doan scored his 400th goal and played his 1,500th game with the Coyotes.
- January 11: Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin scored his 1,000th career point, becoming the 84th player in league history to do so.
- February 16: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby scored his 1,000th career point, becoming the 86th player to reach this milestone.
- February 19: Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane scored his 20th goal of the season, making him the first American-born player in league history to score 20 or more goals in his first 10 seasons.
Claude Julien was fired by the Boston Bruins after coaching the team for nine and a half seasons. A week later, he was hired by the Montreal Canadiens. The news came as a shock to most, considering the Canadiens announced the firing of coach Michel Therrien alongside the hiring of Julien. Julien coached the Canadiens in the past during the 2002-2003 to the 2005-2006 seasons (ironically, he was hired in 2002 after the firing of Therrien).
February: the Month of Hat Tricks
There was an abundance of hat tricks during the month of February, tallying up to a total of 12, by William Nylander, Mikael Granlund, Mikko Rantanen, Viktor Arvidsson, Patrik Berglund, Patrik Laine, Antoine Roussel, Filip Forsberg (2), Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane (2), and Nikita Kucherov.
Vegas Golden Knights
The NHL announced in June of 2016 that Las Vegas won the expansion bid. On November 22, the team was officially named the Vegas Golden Knights. On March 6, Reid Duke was the first player to sign with the team. He signed a three-year entry-level contract.
Auston Matthews was a coveted player going into the 2016-2017 season. After being drafted first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs, all eyes were on him. In his first NHL game, Matthews scored four goals, a sign of good things to come for Toronto. He finished the year with 40 goals and 69 points in 82 games. He was the second rookie since the 2004-2005 season to score 40 goals or more.
Craig Anderson announced early in the season that his wife, Nicholle, was diagnosed with cancer. He took a leave of absence for a few months before making a triumphant return on February 11. In his first game back, he shut out the New York Islanders, 3-0. Anderson finished fifth in the league with a .926 save percentage.
The NHL celebrated its 100th anniversary throughout the season starting with the NHL Centennial Classic, an outdoor game on January 1st between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. They unveiled part of the top 100 players before the game and announced the rest during the All-Star Game weekend. Additionally, a patch representing the 100 years was stitched onto all player jerseys.
In the beginning of the season, Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell announced he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Bickell made his season debut on April 3 and played in the team’s final two games. He also announced his retirement from the league and scored in the shootout of his final career game.
The Columbus Blue Jackets headed into a game against the Minnesota Wild with a 14-game win streak, while the Wild came into the same game with a 12-game win streak on the line. Columbus won, maintaining their streak for the time being, but inevitably snapping it after 16 games to a 5-0 loss to the Washington Capitals. The Calgary Flames (10) and Philadelphia Flyers (10) also had win streaks, making the 2016-2017 season the first in NHL history with four teams going on 10 or more game win streaks.