1944–45 NHL season

The 1944–45 NHL season was the 28th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 50 games. The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in seven games versus the Detroit Red Wings.

1944–45 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 28, 1944 – April 22, 1945
Number of games50
Number of teams6
Regular season
Season championMontreal Canadiens
Season MVPElmer Lach (Canadiens)
Top scorerElmer Lach (Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsToronto Maple Leafs
  Runners-upDetroit Red Wings

Regular season

NHL president Red Dutton offered to resign because of business concerns, but the league's board of governors dissuaded him. Conn Smythe, at one point, was offered the presidency, but turned it down. Dutton then stayed on.

It was the year of the "Punch Line" as Rocket Richard scored 50 goals in 50 games, breaking Joe Malone's record of 44 goals, and when Richard scored his 45th, Malone was on hand to present him with the record-breaking puck. Richard had a five-goal, three-assist night against Detroit at the Montreal Forum on December 28, 1944. His centreman, Elmer Lach, though, won the scoring race with 26 goals and 80 points. Toe Blake finished third with 29 goals, 38 assists, and for the second time, an entire line finished first, second, third scoring. The previous time had been in 1939–40, when the Boston Bruins' Kraut Line of Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart accomplished the feat. Schmidt finished with 52 points in 48 games that year, and Bauer and Dumart 43 apiece.

Montreal dared not loan Paul Bibeault to Toronto again with his fine year the previous season and loaned him instead to Boston. But the Maple Leafs came up with a fine rookie named Frank McCool who won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie. For the first time, a team produced three consecutive top rookies. McCool and Chicago netminder Mike Karakas tied for the league lead in shutouts with four each.

Bill Durnan won his second consecutive Vezina Trophy with Montreal. Flash Hollett became the first defenceman to score twenty goals in one season.[1] The record would stand until Bobby Orr broke it several decades later.

A major trade that occurred this year was Chicago trading their great defenceman Earl Seibert to Detroit for Don Grosso, Cully Simon and Byron "Butch" McDonald. After team owner Frederic McLaughlin died, it was just a matter of time before Bill Tobin would trade Seibert, as the two did not get along.

Final standings

National Hockey League[2]
1Montreal Canadiens503884228121+10780
2Detroit Red Wings5031145218161+5767
3Toronto Maple Leafs5024224183161+2252
4Boston Bruins5016304179219−4036
5Chicago Black Hawks5013307141194−5333
6New York Rangers50112910154247−9332


Playoff bracket

Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
1 Montreal 2
3 Toronto 4
3 Toronto 4
2 Detroit 3
2 Detroit 4
4 Boston 3


(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (3) Toronto Maple Leafs

The Montreal Canadiens finished first in the league with 80 points. The Toronto Maple Leafs finished third with 52 points. This was the fourth playoff meeting between these two teams with Montreal winning the two of the three previous series. They last met in previous year's Stanley Cup Semifinals where the Canadiens won in five games. Toronto won this season's ten-game regular-season series earning eleven of twenty points.

Toronto won series 4–2

(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (4) Boston Bruins

The Detroit Red Wings finished second in the league with 67 points. The Boston Bruins finished fourth with 36 points. This was the fourth playoff meeting between these two teams with Detroit winning the two of the three previous series. They last met in the 1943 Stanley Cup Finals where the Red Wings won in four games. Detroit won this season's ten-game regular-season series earning nineteen of twenty points.

Detroit won series 4–3

Stanley Cup Finals

This was the eighth playoff meeting between these two teams with Toronto winning four of the seven previous series. They last met in the 1943 Stanley Cup Semifinals where Detroit won in six games. Detroit won this season's ten-game regular-season series earning seventeen of twenty points.

Toronto won series 4–3


Award winners
O'Brien Cup:
(Stanley Cup runner-up)
Detroit Red Wings
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Frank McCool, Toronto Maple Leafs
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Bill Mosienko, Chicago Black Hawks
Vezina Trophy:
(Fewest goals allowed)
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens
All-Star teams
First team  Position  Second team
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens G Mike Karakas, Chicago Black Hawks
Émile Bouchard, Montreal Canadiens D Glen Harmon, Montreal Canadiens
Flash Hollett, Detroit Red Wings D Babe Pratt, Toronto Maple Leafs
Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens C Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Bill Mosienko, Chicago Black Hawks
Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens LW Syd Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Dick Irvin, Montreal Canadiens Coach Jack Adams, Detroit Red Wings

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Elmer LachMontreal Canadiens5026548037
Maurice RichardMontreal Canadiens5050237346
Toe BlakeMontreal Canadiens4929386735
Bill CowleyBoston Bruins4925406512
Ted KennedyToronto Maple Leafs4929255414
Bill MosienkoChicago Black Hawks502826540
Joe CarvethDetroit Red Wings502628546
Ab DeMarcoNew York Rangers5024305410
Clint SmithChicago Black Hawks502331540
Syd HoweDetroit Red Wings461736536

Source: NHL[3]

Leading goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Bill DurnanMontreal Canadiens5030001212.4238841
Frank McCoolToronto Maple Leafs5030001613.22242244
Harry LumleyDetroit Red Wings3722201193.22241031
Connie DionDetroit Red Wings12720393.256420
Mike KarakasChicago Black Hawks4828801873.90122974
Harvey BennettBoston Bruins2414701034.20101220
Paul BibeaultBoston Bruins2615301164.5561820
Ken McAuleyNew York Rangers4627602274.931125101



The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1944–45 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1944–45 (listed with their last team):

See also


  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (1994). Years of glory, 1942–1967: the National Hockey League's official book of the six-team era. Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2817-2.
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.
  1. Hockey's Book of Firsts, p.23, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
  2. "1944–1945 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League.
  3. Dinger 2011, p. 148.
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