1. Connor McDavid Injury
Rookie sensation Connor McDavid sustained a broken clavicle after being tangled up into the boards with Michael Del Zotto and Brandon Manning. McDavid was sidelined for 37 games. He made his return to the lineup on February 2nd scoring three points. The former first overall pick would finish with 48 points in 45 games and despite the injury, he still got a nomination for the Calder Trophy for the league’s best rookie.
2. John Scott All-Star
John Scott was announced the winner of the NHL All-Star fan vote, representing the Pacific Division as the captain. Despite receiving the most votes and tallying just one point in 11 games, this situation was comparable to Roy Fitzpatrick’s All-Star campaign in 2007. Scott was then traded to the Montreal Canadiens, who immediately assigned him to their AHL affiliate. It was reported that the NHL and the Arizona Coyotes had requested that Scott to be removed from the All-Star game. This led to Scott writing an article on the Players Tribune discussing the incident that eventually would have him declared to participate in the All-Star game to captain the Pacific Division.
During the game, Scott scored several points as the Pacific Division would win the 3-on-3 All-Star format with Scott being named the All-Star game MVP.
3. Phaneuf Trade
In what was speculated that became a reality, Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf was traded to the Ottawa Senators on February 9th. In the blockbuster deal, the Leafs sent Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, Ryan Rupert and Cody Donaghey in exchange for Jared Cowan, Colin Greening, prospect Tobias Lindberg, and a 2017 second-round draft pic Both fans and media viewed the trade as a a major shock as a deal like this between the arch-rivals was highly unlikely to happen.
4. Jagr Pases Howe
Jaromir Jagr reached multiple milestones last season. Jagr moved into third on the all-time scoring list, surpassing Marcel Dionne and Brett Hull with his 732nd and 742nd goals. Jagr then became the sixth player in NHL history to record 1100 career assists. Jagrs‘ biggest milestone came on February 20th as he surpassed the late Gordie Howe on the all-time points list with 1,851 points, moving him into third all time. He’s 19 points back Mark Messier for 2nd all time.
5. No Canadian Team In The Playoffs
Following the end of the regular season, no Canadian team qualified for the playoffs. This was the second time in league history that the playoffs only had US-based teams. The only other time that no Canadian qualified for the playoffs was in 1970.
6. Leafs Win Draft Lottery
It was a painful season for the Toronto Maple Leafs who are currently in full rebuild mode. On the night of April 30th, the Leafs took home the top prize at the 2016 NHL Draft lottery. The Leafs won the number one pick with a 20% chance, the best odds in the lottery. The team selected Auston Matthews with the first pick and he will make his NHL debut tonight against the Ottawa Sentators.
7. Farewell To Rexall Place
The House Wayne Gretzky built hosted its final NHL game on April 6th. The arena opened on November 10th, 1974 under the name Northlands Coliseum. It was also home to the Edmonton Oilers dynasty of the the late 80s, winning 4 Stanley Cups. In a way, the Oilers will be going back to the good old days tonight when they move into their new home, Rogers Place against the Calgary Flames. It will be a young team anchored by an emerging superstar, who is looking to build off the success of his rookie season while being the named the youngest captain in NHL history a week ago.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins Win The Stanley Cup
After earning second place in the Metropolitan Division, the Pittsburgh Penguins were in the playoffs for a 10th consecutive season. The Pens defeated the New York Rangers, the Washington Capitals, and the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Eastern Conference Championship. Crosby led the Pens to their fourth cup title against the San Jose Sharks in six games. Crosby edged Phil Kessel to win the Conn Smythe trophy, adding more to his already impressive trophy case.
9. Las Vegas Wins Expansion
The NHL has settled on Las Vegas as its choice for an expansion team. Quebec City was also considered for expansion and due to the Canadian dollar, the league passed up on it. For some odd reason, Gary Bettman believes that hockey in Las Vegas will be successful just like in Arizona. This would be the leagues 31st team with its first expansion since 2000. The 2017-18 season is the earliest the league would expand and November 18th will be the day the team announces their name and logo.
10. RIP Mr. Hockey
Gordie Howe, known as Mr. Hockey, passed away on June 10th at the age of 88 after suffering strokes and being diagnosed with dementia. Howe played hockey longer and better than anyone else. In his NHL record 26 seasons, Howe played in 1,767 games and his 801 goals were the most in NHL history until Wayne Gretzky passed him in 1994 and remain the most by a right wing. Howe finished his NHL career with 1,850 points, another record that stood until Gretzky broke it, and he was the first player in League history to play 1,500 games. He remains the oldest player to skate in an NHL game (52 years, 11 days); no one else in NHL history has played past the age of 48.