The 2017–18 NHL season is the 101st season of operation (100th season of play) of the National Hockey League. With the addition of a new expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, 31 teams compete in an 82-game regular season. The regular season began on October 4, 2017, and will end on April 8, 2018. The 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs will then begin a few days afterwards, with the Stanley Cup Finals held in early June.
On June 22, 2016, the NHL confirmed that it had granted an expansion franchise in the city of Las Vegas to an ownership group led by Bill Foley, whose identity was revealed as the Vegas Golden Knights on November 22. The team plays in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.
Olympics abstention and ban
On April 3, 2017, the NHL announced that, after five Olympic tournaments in which the NHL allowed its players to participate in the event, it would not do so for the men's hockey tournament at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Furthermore, the league did not include a break for the Olympics in its schedule, and scheduled its All-Star Game as usual for late-January shortly prior to the Olympics (historically, the All-Star Game was not played during Olympic years). Each team's mandatory bye week, stipulated in the league's CBA, was also scattered throughout the month of January.
The restriction will apply to any player under NHL contract, including those in its affiliated minor leagues, but not to players signed to one-way contracts directly with the teams in those minor leagues nor players signed to entry-level contracts who are playing junior ice hockey.  Several players have vowed to participate anyway, most notably Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.  The league had initially stated that minor league prospects would not be subject to the ban. As the league had little legal room to enforce a ban itself without running afoul of the National Hockey League Players Association, the league instead colluded with the International Ice Hockey Federation, who agreed to establish a blacklist forbidding the national teams from offering invitations to players under NHL contracts.
Players with Olympic aspirations who were free agents, especially those whose NHL prospects were marginal, were advised not to sign NHL contracts and, if they wished to play professionally, sign directly with minor league clubs to maintain Olympic eligibility. Former Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta and former Olympian Jarome Iginla were among those who opted not to sign NHL contracts for the season prior to the Olympics.
On June 18, 2017, the National Hockey League Players' Association announced that the salary cap would be set at $75 million for the 2017–18 season.
The NHL Board of Governors passed some new rules that take effect this season, including:
- coach's challenge of offside - the original rule was put in place after a series of highly blatant off-side calls had been missed. The rule soon became a huge time waster, often requested by coaches whose team had allowed a goal wanting a review of the exact millimeter that a skate and the puck pass the blue line. To reduce the number of coach's challenges, there is now a two-minute penalty for delay of game if the review does not result in an offside being overturned.
- no timeouts after icing - as a team that causes an icing is not allowed to change the players on the ice, coaches took to calling their 30-second timeout to allow their players to rest, getting around the intent of the "no-changes" rule. This rule change eliminates that practice.
- touching high-sticked puck by power play team - previously, if a team on the man advantage played a puck after it was high-sticked, no matter where on the ice this happened, the play was stopped and the faceoff come all the way back to their own zone. This has been adjusted slightly so that, if the infraction happens in the short handed team's zone, the faceoff would only be moved back to the neutral zone just outside the short handed team’s zone.
The Board of Governors has also stated that existing rules be fully enforced in certain situations that had become "unofficially" ignored:
- enforcement of slashing rules - not a rule change as such, referees are now expected to enforce the existing two-minute penalty for slashing when players chop at the wrists and hands of a puck carrier. This follows a series of injuries - including a partially chopped-off finger - for this common practice that was rarely being penalized.
- faceoff infractions - not a rule change as such, referees are now expected to enforce the existing two-minute penalty for improper stance by a player taking a faceoff. This follows an extensive period where players have not been standing with their feet properly placed within the limits of the markings by the dot, with their bodies square to the end boards.
This is the seventh season under the NHL's ten-year U.S. rights deal with NBC Sports, and the fourth season of its twelve-year Canadian rights deals with Sportsnet and TVA Sports. The CBC's rights to air Hockey Night in Canada, which was due to expire after this season, was renewed through the end of the current Rogers deal.
AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (which, along with AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, the regional broadcaster of the Pittsburgh Penguins, re-branded from Root Sports over the off-season) are the inaugural regional television rightsholders for the Vegas Golden Knights. TSN has re-gained regional English-language rights to the Montreal Canadiens, and extended its radio contract with co-owned CKGM. Rogers Media has acquired the radio rights for the Vancouver Canucks for newly acquired 650 CISL.
The NHL's centennial commemorations continued into the 2017–18 season, as its 100th season of play. On March 17, 2017, the NHL announced that it would hold an outdoor game at TD Place Stadium between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens on December 16, 2017, to formally mark the 100th anniversary of their first NHL game.
The Toronto Maple Leafs marked the centennial of the NHL's first game (which involved their predecessor, the Toronto Arenas) with a "Next Century Game" on December 19, 2017 against the Carolina Hurricanes; the team wore special Toronto Arenas jerseys, and season ticket holders were encouraged to donate their tickets to the MLSE Foundation to allow students to attend the game. Mayor of Toronto John Tory also declared December 19 "Toronto Maple Leafs Day".
Preseason games in China
On March 30, 2017, it was announced that the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks would play two pre-season games in China on September 21 and 23. These were the first NHL games ever played in China.
||Story / Accomplishments
||On June 22, 2017, through mutual agreement, Tippett left the head coach position of the Coyotes. He led the team to a 30–42–10 record during the 2016–17 season, and a 282–257–83 overall record in eight seasons with the team. On July 11, 2017, Tocchet was named as the new head coach of the Coyotes. He was the assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the last three seasons.
||On April 20, 2017, the Sabres fired Bylsma after his team finished eighth in the Atlantic Division and failed to contend for the playoffs for the second consecutive season. He led the team to a 33–37–12 record during the 2016–17 season and a 68–73–23 overall record in two full seasons. On June 15, Housley was named the Sabres' new head coach. He had spent the previous four seasons as assistant coach for the Nashville Predators and previously played for the Sabres from 1982 to 1990.
||On April 9, 2017, the Stars announced that Ruff's contract would not be renewed for the 2017–18 season. Ruff led the team to a 34–37–11 record during the 2016–17 season as the Stars missed the playoffs and a 165–122–41 record since taking over in 2013. Ruff joined the New York Rangers as an assistant coach. On April 13, Hitchcock, most recently with the St. Louis Blues, was named the new head coach. He previously coached the Stars from 1996 to 2002.
||Gallant, who compiled a record of 11–10–1 for the first part of the season (and a 96–65–25 record over his full 2¼-season tenure with the team, the highest win percentage of any coach in Panthers history), was fired on November 10, 2016. Rowe, the team's general manager, stepped into the position and compiled a 24–26–10 record. Gallant joined the Vegas Golden Knights, while Rowe, despite losing both the head coach and general manager titles, will remain with the Panthers as an advisor. On June 12, Boughner was named the team's new head coach. He was the assistant coach of the San Jose Sharks before being hired by the Panthers.
|Los Angeles Kings
||On April 10, 2017, the Kings fired Sutter after missing the playoffs for the second time in three years. He led the Kings to two Stanley Cup victories in 2012 and 2014. The Kings finished the season with a record of 39–35–8 and an overall record of 225–147–53 over six seasons with Sutter, which is the most wins for any coach in Kings' history. On April 23, Stevens was named the new head coach. He had been the Kings' assistant coach since 2010 and was also an interim coach for four games during the 2011–12 season.
||On April 10, 2017, the Canucks fired Desjardins after his team failed to contend for the playoffs for the second consecutive year. He led the team to a 30–43–9 record during the 2016–17 season and a 109–110–27 overall record in three full seasons. Desjardins will coach the Canadian Olympic team for this season. On April 26, Green was named the new head coach. Prior to his hiring, Green was the head coach for the Canucks' AHL affiliate Utica Comets, where he amassed a 155–110–39 record through four seasons.
|Vegas Golden Knights
||On April 13, 2017, the Golden Knights hired Gerard Gallant as the team's first ever head coach.
The regular season began on October 4, 2017, and will end on April 8, 2018. Each team will receive a five-day "bye week", and all of them will take place in mid-January.
Two regular season games between the Colorado Avalanche and the Ottawa Senators were played at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden on November 10 and 11, 2017, branded as the SAP NHL Global Series.
- The NHL 100 Classic was held on December 16, 2017 at TD Place Stadium in Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, featuring the Montreal Canadiens against the Ottawa Senators.
- The Winter Classic was held on January 1, 2018 at Citi Field in Flushing, New York, with the New York Rangers playing the Buffalo Sabres.
- The Stadium Series will be held on March 3, 2018 at Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, featuring two of last season's playoff teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Washington Capitals.
The 63rd National Hockey League All-Star Game will be held in Tampa, Florida at Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, on January 28, 2018. The format will not change and will follow the format used in two previous All-Star games.
The Florida Panthers – Boston Bruins game scheduled for January 4, 2018, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts was postponed due to the effects of the January 2018 nor'easter. The game was rescheduled for April 8.
The following players led the league in regular season points at the conclusion of games played on January 21, 2018.
|Kucherov, NikitaNikita Kucherov
||Tampa Bay Lightning
|MacKinnon, NathanNathan MacKinnon
|Tavares, JohnJohn Tavares
||New York Islanders
|Giroux, ClaudeClaude Giroux
|Kessel, PhilPhil Kessel
|Stamkos, StevenSteven Stamkos
||Tampa Bay Lightning
|Gaudreau, JohnnyJohnny Gaudreau
|Wheeler, BlakeBlake Wheeler
|McDavid, ConnorConnor McDavid
|Bailey, JoshJosh Bailey
||New York Islanders
The following goaltenders led the league in regular season goals against average at the conclusion of games played on January 21, 2018, while playing at least 1,500 minutes.
|Rask, TuukkaTuukka Rask
|Crawford, CoreyCorey Crawford
|Vasilevskiy, AndreiAndrei Vasilevskiy
||Tampa Bay Lightning
|Hellebuyck, ConnorConnor Hellebuyck
|Quick, JonathanJonathan Quick
||Los Angeles Kings
|Rinne, PekkaPekka Rinne
|Smith, MikeMike Smith
|Bobrovsky, SergeiSergei Bobrovsky
||Columbus Blue Jackets
|Bishop, BenBen Bishop
|Lundqvist, HenrikHenrik Lundqvist
||New York Rangers
The following is a list of notable players who played their first NHL game during the 2017–18 season, listed with their first team.
The following is a list of players of note who played their last NHL game in 2017–18, listed with their team:
Major milestones reached
- On October 4, 2017, Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds scored his 400th point.
- On October 4, 2017, San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns scored his 500th point.
- On October 5, 2017, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp scored his 600th point.
- On October 7, 2017, Anaheim Ducks forward Antoine Vermette scored his 500th point.
- On October 15, 2017, New York Islanders forward Andrew Ladd scored his 500th point.
- On October 17, 2017, Vancouver Canucks forward Thomas Vanek scored his 700th point.
- On October 18, 2017, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Patrick Marleau played his 1,500th NHL game, becoming the 18th player to do so.
- On October 19, 2017, St. Louis Blues forward Paul Stastny scored his 600th point.
- On October 20, 2017, Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler scored his 200th goal.
- On October 20, 2017, Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice won his 600th game, becoming the 17th coach to reach the mark.
- On October 21, 2017, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos scored his 600th point.
- On October 24, 2017, Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek scored his 500th point.
- On October 26, 2017, New York Rangers forward Rick Nash played his 1,000th game, becoming the 314th player to reach the mark.
- On October 26, 2017, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel scored his 300th goal.
- On November 2, 2017, San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton scored his 1,400th career point, becoming the 20th player in league history to reach this milestone.
- On November 4, 2017, St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 300th point.
- On November 4, 2017, Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano played his 800th consecutive game, becoming the 4th player in league history to reach this milestone.
- On November 10, 2017, Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby reached his 200th NHL win, becoming the second-fastest goaltender to reach this mark.
- On November 15, 2017, Anaheim Ducks forward Antoine Vermette played his 1,000th game, becoming the 315th player to reach the mark.
- On November 24, 2017, Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux scored his 700th point.
- On November 30, 2017, Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin became the 87th player in league history to score 1,000 points.
- On December 1, 2017, San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski scored his 300th goal.
- On December 1, 2017, Carolina Hurricanes forward Justin Williams scored his 700th point.
- On December 4, 2017, Boston Bruins forward David Backes scored his 500th point.
- On December 5, 2017, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber scored his 500th point.
- On December 5, 2017, Los Angeles Kings forward Marian Gaborik scored his 400th goal and 800th point.
- On December 12, 2017, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward reached his 300th win, becoming the 32nd goaltender to reach the mark.
- On December 13, 2017, Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen reached his 300th win, becoming the 33rd goaltender to reach the mark.
- On December 15, 2017, Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel scored his first NHL hat trick in a 5–4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
- On December 15, 2017, Los Angeles Kings forward Marian Gaborik played his 1,000th game, becoming the 316th player to reach the mark.
- On December 18, 2017, Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Strome scored the 10,000th goal in Oilers history.
- On December 19, 2017, Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk scored the 20,000th goal in Maple Leafs history.
- On December 21, 2017, Dallas Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock became the 3rd coach in league history to reach 800th wins.
- On December 21, 2017, Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown played his 1,000th game, becoming the 317th player to reach the mark and the 30th to play 1,000 games with one franchise.
- On December 23, 2017, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane scored his 300th goal.
- On December 31, 2017, Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist scored his 100th goal.
- On January 6, 2018, Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron scored his 700th point.
- On January 12, 2018, Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal scored his 200th goal.
- On January 14, 2018, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel scored his 700th point.
- On January 16, 2018 New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist became the first goaltender to win 20 games in 13 consecutive NHL seasons.
- Adidas is the official uniform and apparel provider of the NHL beginning with the 2017–18 season. As part of the transition from Reebok to Adidas, no third jerseys will be worn this season. New or updated uniforms for all teams were unveiled on June 20, 2017.
- The Ottawa Senators are wearing stickers on their helmets honouring former general manager Bryan Murray, who died in August 2017.
- All jerseys will continue to have patches of the NHL's centennial emblem, located above or below the numbers on their right sleeves, for at least up to the playing of the NHL 100 Classic on December 16.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs wore Toronto Arenas throwback jerseys during their game on December 19, 2017.
- The Buffalo Sabres introduced a new third jersey at the 2018 NHL Winter Classic, wearing the uniform for three additional games later in the season.
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But the important thing here is the name, as well as the logo which works the letter “V” (for Vegas, obviously) into the knight’s mask.
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Watch for Team Canada to extend an invitation for Jarome Iginla at the Karjala Cup. (...) It will give us a first look at potential Canadian Olympians.
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