1997–98 NHL season

The 1997–98 NHL season was the 81st regular season of the National Hockey League. The Stanley Cup champions were the Detroit Red Wings, who swept the Washington Capitals in four games.

1997–98 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 1, 1997 – June 16, 1998
Number of games82
Number of teams26
Top draft pickJoe Thornton
Picked byBoston Bruins
Regular season
Presidents' TrophyDallas Stars
Season MVPDominik Hasek (Sabres)
Top scorerJaromir Jagr (Penguins)
Eastern championsWashington Capitals
  Eastern runners-upBuffalo Sabres
Western championsDetroit Red Wings
  Western runners-upDallas Stars
Playoffs MVPSteve Yzerman (Red Wings)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsDetroit Red Wings
  Runners-upWashington Capitals

League business

On June 25, 1997, the National Hockey League approved of four expansion franchises for Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, and Saint Paul expanding the league to 30 teams by 2000. These franchises became the Nashville Predators in 1998, the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999, and the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild in 2000.

This was the first season for the Carolina Hurricanes, who were previously known as the Hartford Whalers. The Hurricanes played their home games at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, a temporary home while awaiting the construction of their permanent home arena in Raleigh. They would remain in the Northeast Division until realignment the following season. It would be another 14 years before another NHL team would relocate.

This was the first season for Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who until the 2012–13 season was the longest-tenured NHL coach.

The controversial "FoxTrax" puck system was last used this season as well. In August 1998, the NHL signed a five-year, $600 million rights agreement with ABC Sports/ESPN. FOX elected not to use the system in the subsequent "lame duck" season.

This was the last season the Toronto Maple Leafs were in the Western Conference.

This was the last season of the four-division quasi-geographic alignment inherited from the traditional Adams/Patrick/Norris/Smythe set. The league would change the following season to a six-division, more purely geographic alignment.

For the first time since 1968–69 season, the Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs.

Regular season

The all-time record for most shutouts in a season, set at 127 just a year earlier,[1] was broken again as 160 shutouts were recorded, 13 of which were earned by Dominik Hasek,[2] who set a League record with 11 teams shut-out. He zeroed the New York Rangers three times, and Los Angeles, Anaheim, Tampa Bay, Boston, Calgary, Washington, Montreal, Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Edmonton once each. Only two teams, the St. Louis Blues and the Detroit Red Wings, averaged more than three goals scored per game.[3] In addition, only one player, Jaromir Jagr, reached the 100-point plateau during the regular season.[4]


Jari Kurri reached 600 goals in his career, finishing with 601.

The Vancouver Canucks and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim opened the season with a two-game series in Tokyo, Japan, the first time the NHL played regular games outside of North America.

Final standings

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
No. GP W L T GF GA Pts
1New Jersey Devils82482311225166107
2Philadelphia Flyers8242291124219395
3Washington Capitals8240301221920292
4New York Islanders8230411121222571
5New York Rangers8225391819723168
6Florida Panthers8224431520325663
7Tampa Bay Lightning8217551015126944
Northeast Division
No. GP W L T GF GA Pts
1Pittsburgh Penguins8240241822818898
2Boston Bruins8239301322119491
3Buffalo Sabres8236291721118789
4Montreal Canadiens8237321323520887
5Ottawa Senators8234331519320083
6Carolina Hurricanes823341820021974
Eastern Conference[5]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1New Jersey DevilsATL82482311225166107
2Pittsburgh PenguinsNE8240241822818898
3Philadelphia FlyersATL8242291124219395
4Washington CapitalsATL8240301221920292
5Boston BruinsNE8239301322119491
6Buffalo SabresNE8236291721118789
7Montreal CanadiensNE8237321323520887
8Ottawa SenatorsNE8234331519320083
9Carolina HurricanesNE823341820021974
10New York IslandersATL8230411121222571
11New York RangersATL8225391819723168
12Florida PanthersATL8224431520325663
13Tampa Bay LightningATL8217551015126944

Divisions: ATL – Atlantic, NE – Northeast

bold – Qualified for playoffs

Western Conference
Central Division
11Dallas Stars82492211242167109
23Detroit Red Wings82442315250196103
34St. Louis Blues824529825620498
47Phoenix Coyotes8235351222422782
59Chicago Blackhawks8230391319219973
612Toronto Maple Leafs823043919423769
Pacific Division
No. GP W L T GF GA Pts
1Colorado Avalanche8239261723120595
2Los Angeles Kings8238331122722587
3Edmonton Oilers8235371021522480
4San Jose Sharks8234381021021678
5Calgary Flames8226411521725267
6Mighty Ducks of Anaheim8226431320526165
7Vancouver Canucks8225431422427364
Western Conference[6]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1p – Dallas StarsCEN82492211242167109
2x – Colorado AvalanchePAC8239261723120595
3Detroit Red WingsCEN82442315250196103
4St. Louis BluesCEN824529825620498
5Los Angeles KingsPAC8238331122722587
6Phoenix CoyotesCEN8235351222422782
7Edmonton OilersPAC8235371021522480
8San Jose SharksPAC8234381021021678
9Chicago BlackhawksCEN8230391319219973
10Toronto Maple LeafsCEN823043919423769
11Calgary FlamesPAC8226411521725267
12Mighty Ducks of AnaheimPAC8226431320526165
13Vancouver CanucksPAC8225431422427364

Divisions: CEN – Central, PAC – Pacific

bold – Qualified for playoffs; x – Won Division; p – Won Presidents' Trophy


Stanley Cup Final

The 1998 Stanley Cup Final was played in the 105th year of the Stanley Cup. The series was played between the Western Conference champion Detroit Red Wings and the Eastern Conference champion Washington Capitals. The Red Wings were led by captain Steve Yzerman, Head Coach Scotty Bowman and goaltender Chris Osgood. The Capitals were led by captain Dale Hunter, Head Coach Ron Wilson and goaltender Olaf Kolzig. Detroit swept the series in four games and Steve Yzerman won the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Washington vs. Detroit
Date Away Score Home OT
June 9Washington1 – 2Detroit
June 11Washington4 – 5DetroitOT
June 13Detroit2 – 1Washington
June 16Detroit4 – 1Washington
Detroit wins series 4–0
and Stanley Cup

Playoff bracket

  Conference Quarterfinals Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals
1 New Jersey 2     4 Washington 4  
8 Ottawa 4     8 Ottawa 1  
2 Pittsburgh 2 Eastern Conference
7 Montreal 4  
    4 Washington 4  
  6 Buffalo 2  
3 Philadelphia 1  
6 Buffalo 4  
4 Washington 4   6 Buffalo 4
5 Boston 2     7 Montreal 0  
  E4 Washington 0
(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)
  W3 Detroit 4
1 Dallas 4     1 Dallas 4
8 San Jose 2     7 Edmonton 1  
2 Colorado 3
7 Edmonton 4  
  1 Dallas 2
  3 Detroit 4  
3 Detroit 4  
6 Phoenix 2   Western Conference
4 St. Louis 4   3 Detroit 4
5 Los Angeles 0     4 St. Louis 2  
  • During the first three rounds home ice is determined by seeding number, not position on the bracket. In the Finals the team with the better regular season record has home ice.


The NHL Awards took place in Toronto, Ontario

Presidents' Trophy:Dallas Stars
Prince of Wales Trophy:Washington Capitals
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Trophy:Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:Jamie McLennan, St. Louis Blues
Calder Memorial Trophy:Sergei Samsonov, Boston Bruins
Frank J. Selke Trophy:Jere Lehtinen, Dallas Stars
Hart Memorial Trophy:Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres
Conn Smythe Trophy:Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings
Jack Adams Award:Pat Burns, Boston Bruins
James Norris Memorial Trophy:Rob Blake, Los Angeles Kings
King Clancy Memorial Trophy:Kelly Chase, St. Louis Blues
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:Ron Francis, Pittsburgh Penguins
Lester B. Pearson Award:Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres
Lester Patrick Trophy:Peter Karmanos, Max McNab, Neal Broten, John Mayasich
NHL Plus/Minus Award:Chris Pronger, St. Louis Blues
Vezina Trophy:Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres
William M. Jennings Trophy:Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

All-Star teams

First Team  Position  Second Team
Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres G Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings D Chris Pronger, St. Louis Blues
Rob Blake, Los Angeles Kings D Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey Devils
Peter Forsberg, Colorado Avalanche C Wayne Gretzky, New York Rangers
Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins RW Teemu Selanne, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
John LeClair, Philadelphia Flyers LW Keith Tkachuk, Phoenix Coyotes

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Regular seasonPlayoffs
Player Team GP G A PTS
Jaromir JagrPittsburgh773567102
Peter ForsbergColorado72256691
Pavel BureVancouver82513990
Wayne GretzkyNY Rangers82236790
John LeClairPhiladelphia82513687
Zigmund PalffyNY Islanders82454287
Ron FrancisPittsburgh81256287
Teemu SelanneAnaheim73523486
Jason AllisonBoston81335083
Jozef StumpelLos Angeles77215879

Source: NHL.[7]

Steve YzermanDetroit2261824
Sergei FedorovDetroit22101020
Tomas HolmstromDetroit2271219
Nicklas LidstromDetroit2261319
Joe JuneauWashington2171017
Adam OatesWashington2161117
Martin LapointeDetroit219615
Larry MurphyDetroit2231215
Vyacheslav KozlovDetroit226814
Mike ModanoDallas1741014

Note: GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points

Leading goaltenders

Regular season

Player Team GP MIN GA SO GAA
Ed BelfourDallas65358111291.88
Martin BrodeurNew Jersey704128130101.89
Tom BarrassoPittsburgh63354212272.07
Dominik HasekBuffalo724220147132.09
Ron HextallPhiladelphia4626889742.17
Trevor KiddCarolina4726859732.17
Jamie McLennanSt. Louis3016586022.17
Jeff HackettChicago58344112682.20
Olaf KolzigWashington64378813952.20
Chris OsgoodDetroit64380714062.21



Eastern Conference

Western Conference



The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1997–98 (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 1997–98 (listed with their last team):

Trading deadline

  • Trading Deadline: March 24, 1998 [8]
  • March 24, 1998: D Dave Babych traded from Vancouver to Philadelphia for Philadelphia's third round pick in 1998 Entry Draft. Vancouver also returns the conditional pick previously acquired from Philadelphia in the Mike Sillinger trade dated Feb. 5, 1998.
  • March 24, 1998: D Dmitri Mironov traded from Anaheim to Detroit for D Jamie Pushor and Detroit's fourth round pick in 1998 Entry Draft.
  • March 24, 1998: G Kirk McLean traded from Carolina to Florida for RW Ray Sheppard.
  • March 24, 1998: D Jeff Brown traded from Toronto to Washington for D Sylvain Cote.
  • March 24, 1998: RW Jason Dawe traded from Buffalo to NY Islanders for D Jason Holland and LW Paul Kruse.
  • March 24, 1998: D Dan McGillis and Edmonton's second round pick in 1998 Entry Draft traded from Edmonton to Philadelphia for D Janne Niinimaa.
  • March 24, 1998: C Mark Janssens traded from NY Islanders to Phoenix for Phoenix's ninth round pick in 1998 Entry Draft.
  • March 24, 1998: LW Warren Rychel and a conditional pick in 1999 Entry Draft traded from Anaheim to Colorado for C Josef Marha.
  • March 24, 1998: C Sean Pronger traded from Anaheim to Pittsburgh for the rights to G Patrick Lalime.
  • March 24, 1998: D Todd Gill traded from San Jose to St. Louis for RW Joe Murphy.
  • March 24, 1998: RW Andrei Nazarov and future considerations traded from San Jose to Tampa Bay for D Bryan Marchment, D David Shaw and a conditional exchange of first round picks in 1998 Entry Draft.
  • March 24, 1998: C Mike Eastwood traded from NY Rangers to St. Louis for C Harry York.
  • March 24, 1998: RW Mike Kennedy traded from Toronto to Dallas for Dallas' eighth round pick in 1998 Entry Draft.
  • March 24, 1998: RW Sandy McCarthy, Calgary's third round pick in 1998 Entry Draft and a fifth round pick in 1998 Entry Draft traded from Calgary to Tampa Bay for LW Jason Wiemer.
  • March 24, 1998: RW Todd Harvey, LW Bob Errey and a fourth round pick in 1998 Entry Draft traded from Dallas to NY Rangers for C Brian Skrudland, RW Mike Keane and a conditional pick in either the 1998 or 1999 Entry Draft.
  • March 24, 1998: RW Tom Fitzgerald traded from Florida to Colorado for the rights to LW Mark Parrish and Anaheim's third round pick in 1998 Entry Draft (previously acquired).
  • March 24, 1998: D Rich Brennan traded from San Jose to NY Rangers for G Jason Muzzatti.
  • March 24, 1998: D Ryan Risidore traded from Chicago to NY Rangers for RW Ryan Vandenbussche.
  • March 24, 1998: D Jamie Macoun traded from Toronto to Detroit for Tampa Bay's fourth round pick in 1998 Entry Draft (previously acquired)

See also


  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, NY: 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.
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