Monday, May 20, 2024
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#NHLStats Pack: 2023-24 Regular Season Recap

It started with the highly-anticipated debut of an 18-year-old No. 1 pick, was filled from start to finish by star-powered performances not seen in generations, spanned three countries (and four continents when including the preseason) and culminated with “sweet, beautiful, end of the season mayhem” that featured down-to-the-wire scoring and playoff races that had people calling 2023-24 the “greatest regular season in NHL history.”

A summary of #NHLStats from the first season in 31 years with three 130-point players, which saw the highest goal total by any skater in 28 years, produced new records for century-old franchises, witnessed veterans accelerate their climbs up all-time NHL lists, included a nine-team battle for the No. 1 overall seed entering the last weekend of play and featured a dramatic playoff race in which five teams separated by three points battled for two remaining playoff spots within their final two contests of the season – decided over a two-minute span within the last 16 games of 2023-24. Take a look back at a memorable six-month journey:

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For a second straight season, 140 points was not enough to win a scoring title. Nikita Kucherov (44-100—144 in 81 GP) and Nathan MacKinnon (51-89—140 in 82 GP) both set franchise records for points in a season to make 2023-24 the seventh campaign in League history with multiple 140-point scorers, bumping Connor McDavid (32-100—132 in 76 GP) outside the top two in NHL scoring for the first time since his rookie campaign of 2015-16 – despite that he became the seventh player in NHL history with consecutive 130-point campaigns.


* Kucherov became the third player in League history to notch 40 goals and 100 assists in the same season, following Wayne Gretzky (11x) and Mario Lemieux. In the process Kucherov became the fourth active player to win the Art Ross Trophy more than once, after McDavid (5x), Sidney Crosby (2x) and Evgeni Malkin (2x).

* Only three different players had recorded 100 assists in a season through the first 105 campaigns in League history but Kucherov and McDavid added their names to that list within a span of three days to join Gretzky (11x), Lemieux and Bobby Orr on the exclusive 100-assist list. McDavid and Kucherov joined Gretzky and Lemieux (1988-89) as the second set of players in NHL history to hit the mark in the same season.

* Kucherov factored on exactly half of Tampa Bay’s 288 total goals (excluding shootout-deciding goals), marking the 12th instance in NHL history of a player registering points on at least 50 percent of his team’s scoring within a single season – and just the third occasion this century.

* MacKinnon recorded 77 of his 140 total points (55.0%) during a historic 35-game home point streak that finished as the second longest in NHL history, totaling a point in 39 of 41 Colorado home games, and chased history alongside McDavid who had a lengthy home point streak of his own. His 140-point season would have been enough to win the scoring title in 89 of 106 seasons in League history.

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Auston Matthews (69-38—107 in 81 GP) held the outright goals lead for 122 consecutive days (Dec. 19 onward) to claim his third career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. Matthews’ franchise-record 69 goals bested Alex Ovechkin (65 in 2007-08) for the most in a campaign by an active player and marked the highest single-season total by any skater since 1995-96 (Mario Lemieux: 69).

* Matthews opened the season by becoming the fifth player in League history – and second since the NHL’s inaugural campaign – to record back-to-back hat tricks, before concluding 2023-24 as the 10th different player to score at least six hat tricks in one season (last, Mario Lemieux:6 in 1995-96). Overall, he had 18 multi-goal outings, found the back of the net in 45 of 81 contests (55.6%) – highlighted by a career-high eight-game goal streak and became the eighth different player in NHL history with 51+ even-strength goals in a single campaign.

* Matthews topped a list that included four 50-goal scorers, with Sam Reinhart (57-37—94 in 82 GP), Zach Hyman (54-23—77 in 80 GP) and Nathan MacKinnon (51-89—140 in 82 GP) all setting career highs. The 2023-24 campaign became 16th in NHL history, and second in as many seasons (4 in 2022-23), to include at least three first-time 50-goal scorers, while Matthews’ 12-goal gap over Reinhart marked the largest between the NHL’s top two goal-scorers since 2007-08, when Ovechkin (65) finished 13 ahead of Ilya Kovalchuk (52).

* Reinhart became the second 50-goal scorer in franchise history and the second player in League history with at least 25 power-play goals and five shorthanded goals in the same season, joining Lemieux (2x). Hyman tallied 44 of his goals from the high-danger zone – tops among all players according to NHL EDGE – and became the fourth player in NHL history to record his first career 50-goal season at age 31 or older. MacKinnon became the sixth 50-goal scorer in Avalanche franchise history, hitting the mark with his team record-tying third hat trick of the season.

* The top four goal scorers combined for 14 of the 115 total hat tricks in 2023-24, the fourth most in a season in NHL history. A total of 85 players scored a hat trick this season, second most all time behind 1981-82 (86). The first 100 hat tricks in 2023-24 garnered a $500,000 donation by AstraZeneca to Hockey Fights Cancer Fund of the V Foundation.

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The NHL’s top 20 scorers had at least 88 points in 2023-24, which would have been enough to secure the Art Ross Trophy less than a decade ago. That group of 20 included nine players with at least 100 points, individuals born in seven different countries, 16 players under the age of 30 – Quinn Hughes, 24, was the youngest and the highest-scoring defenseman – and a quartet of No. 1 NHL Draft picks that featured 36-year-old Sidney Crosby, the oldest of the 20-player bunch.

* Players from three Original Six clubs hit the 100-point mark in the same season for the first time since 1993-94 (4) as Artemi Panarin (49-71—120 in 82 GP) nearly matched the Rangers record for points in a season, David Pastrnak (47-63—110 in 82 GP) became the first Bruins player in 30 years with consecutive 100-point campaigns and Auston Matthews (69-38—107 in 81 GP) posted the highest point total by a Maple Leafs player in 30 years.

* Three Western Conference players rounded out the remaining triple-digit scorers as Leon Draisaitl (41-65—106 in 81 GP) hit the mark for the fifth timeMikko Rantanen (42-62—104 in 80 GP) became the third Finnish player with consecutive 100-point campaigns (after Jari Kurri and Teemu Selanne) and J.T. Miller (37-66—103 in 81 GP) posted the highest point total by a Canucks player in a dozen years.

* The two highest-scoring defensemen also hailed from the West as Hughes (17-75—92 in 82 GP) became the first Canucks defenseman to lead all blueliners in points in a season, edging Cale Makar (21-69—90 in 77 GP), after both players broke their own franchise records for points in a season by a defenseman. Makar also became the Avalanche franchise leader for career goalsassists and points by a defenseman, while Hughes climbed into the top two among Canucks blueliners for career assists (tied) and points. It was the third straight season that at least one defenseman hit 90 points – a first in the NHL since a 12-season run ended 30 years ago – and the fourth all-time in which multiple blueliners hit the mark.

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The two highest-scoring active players and longest-tenured active netminder made significant moves during the 2023-24 campaign as Sidney Crosby became the first player in more than 16 years to enter the League’s top 10 in career points, Alex Ovechkin set an NHL record for career 30-goal seasons in his pursuit of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals benchmark and Marc-Andre Fleury became the second-winningest goaltender in League history.

* None of the top 20 scorers in 2023-24 were in the League when Crosby posted his first point-per-game season in 2005-06, but they all watched as he joined Gretzky as the second player in League history to maintain that scoring rate in 19 seasons. Crosby tallied 42-52—94 to match the third-highest single-season point total and the fourth-highest goal count by a player at age 36 or older. Crosby ranked second in League scoring during the final three weeks of the season – while also notching his 1,000th career assist during that span – to spur a Penguins push for a playoff spot after the club faced a nine-point deficit entering its final 11 games.

* Ovechkin (31-34—65 in 79 GP) recorded his 18th career 30-goal season to overtake Mike Gartner (17) for the most in League history, reaching the mark despite netting only nine goals before the All-Star break (44 GP). He tallied 22 times in 35 games from Feb. 5 onward, top five in the League during that span, including an All-Star break-spanning six-game goal streak that allowed him to tie Johnny Buyck (6 GP in 1974-75) for the second-longest ever by a player at age 38 or older, behind Brett Hull (7 GP in 2003-04). He is one of six different players in League history to collect at least 30 goals in a season as a 38-year-old, with his 31st and final tally of 2023-24 coming in a playoff spot-clinching win in a Capitals season finale and putting him 41 back of tying Gretzky for the most goals in NHL history. The 38-year-old also topped all forwards and ranked second in the NHL with 68 shots that registered at 90+ mph.

* Fleury (561 wins in 1,025 career games) became the fourth goaltender in NHL history to appear in at least 1,000 career games, overtook Patrick Roy (551) – who began his second NHL head coaching stint in January – for the second most wins in NHL history behind Martin Brodeur (691) and moved within one of the top 10 in career shutouts. The 39-year-old finished the campaign by signing a one-year extension with the Wild.

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The launch of NHL.com/EDGE during the 2023-24 season provided fans with new access to the game and its players and supported unique alternative broadcasts. Those animated endeavors included the NHL Big City Greens Classic 2 (during which David Pastrnak hit 40 goals), Tommy Hawk’s birthday party that featured the final goal of Connor Bedard’s rookie season and a clash between the past two Stanley Cup winners in the first-ever MultiVersus NHL Face-Off(featuring a three-goal comeback win by the reigning champions). A look at the NHL EDGE leaders from 2023-24:

Nathan MacKinnon was the only player to eclipse 300 miles skated this season, logging 300.15 miles – equivalent to more than 11 marathons during the six-month season – to edge Rasmus Dahlin (299.29 miles) atop the list. MacKinnon was in the 95th percentile or higher in more than a dozen NHL EDGE stats in 2023-24.


Owen Tippett clocked in at 24.21 mph in the dying seconds of overtime on Jan. 10 to record the NHL’s fastest max skating speed this season and also clocked a 99.97 mph shot on Oct. 12 (5th among forwards). He is the only player in the NHL to finish 2023-24 within the top five among forwards in max speed for both skating and shooting.

Colin Miller unleashed a 102.59 mph shot Jan. 20 to best Darren Raddysh on the list of hardest shots in 2023-24, just two days after Raddysh had registered a 102.40 mph shot on Jan. 18. For the third consecutive season, all campaigns for which EDGE data is available, Tage Thompson clocked in with the hardest shot among forwards (102.08 mph on Jan. 23).


Connor Hellebuyck had a League-best 39 appearances with a save percentage greater than .900 en route to his William M. Jennings Trophy win – achieving the feat while ranking above the 95th percentile for both high-danger shots against (96th) and saves (97th). Hellebuyck yielded three or fewer goals in 50 of his 60 total appearances – including a pair of 10-game streaks with two or fewer goals against as he became the ninth different goaltender in NHL history to post multiple such stretches within a single season (and third to do so in the modern era, since 1943-44).

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Connor Bedard (22-39—61 in 68 GP) completed his rookie season as the Blackhawks leader in goals (tied), assists and points despite missing 14 games due to injury. He registered the fifth five-point game by an 18-year-old in NHL history and became the third player all-time to lead a team in points at age 18 or younger, joining Sidney Crosby (2005-06) and Steve Yzerman (1983-84). Of note, Dale Hawerchuk potted 45-58—103 in 1981-82, but celebrated his 19th birthday on Winnipeg’s final game of the season (April 4, 1982).


* Bedard (22-39—61 in 68 GP) led all rookies in goalsassists (tied) and points despite missing 14 games and also paced all teenagers in scoring, besting Logan Cooley (20-24—44 in 82 GP) and Juraj Slafkovsky (15-26—41 in 72 GP). The No. 1 selection from the 2023 NHL Draft became the seventh first-overall selection since 1980-81 to lead his team in points during the season following the Draft and joined Auston Matthews (2016-17), John Tavares (2009-10), Patrick Kane (2007-08), Sidney Crosby (2005-06), Alex Ovechkin (2005-06), Mario Lemieux (1984-85) and Hawerchuk (1981-82).

* New Jersey’s Luke Hughes (9-38—47 in 82 GP) and Minnesota’s Brock Faber (8-39—47 in 82 GP) each finished with an NHL-best 47 points among rookie defensemen in 2023-24. Hughes finished with the second-most points in a season by a rookie blueliner in franchise history, while Faber established a franchise record in that scenario and did so with 17 more points than the previous mark. The 2023-24 season became just the fifth in NHL history to feature multiple rookie defensemen each register 47+ points and just the second in the past 30 years following 2019-20 (Quinn Hughes: 53 & Cale Makar: 50).

* This was the third consecutive season to average at least 6.0 goals per game (6.2 G/GP in 2023-24), the League’s longest stretch since a 24-season run from 1970-71 to 1993-94. Overall, five of the past six campaigns have been at 6.0 goals-per-game or higher.
 

* Thrilling games from start to finish saw 41% of games in 2023-24 result in a comeback win, the third-highest rate in League history (tied). The Rangers accounted for 28 of the 539 comeback wins – including the 2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series – which fell one shy of the single-season NHL record for one club. The 150 multi-goal comeback wins set an NHL record, while the 228 third-period comeback wins matched one (also 228 in 2006-07). 

* Nine teams were in contention for the Presidents’ Trophy entering the final weekend of the season before the Rangers eventually clinched first place in the NHL’s overall standings in the 82nd game (the fourth-last day of the season).
 
* Four teams, separated by two points, jockeyed for the final playoff spot with three days left in the season. Wild Card 2 in the Eastern Conference was occupied by three teams in the span of an hour on April 13, while a team clinched a postseason position in its 82nd and final game for the second straight season and seventh time since the Wild Card format was introduced in 2013-14.

*  Winnipeg (52-24-6, 110 points), Vancouver (50-23-9, 109 points), Edmonton (49-27-6, 104 points) and Toronto (46-26-10, 102 points) finished with 100 or more standings points, marking the first season in NHL history that four or more Canadian-based teams concluded a campaign with a triple-digit total. It was also the first season since 1992-93 (5) where five Canadian-based teams finished among the top 10 in the League standings.

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More than $14 million was invested in cities across the U.S. and Canada this season through numerous community impact programs and initiatives. On the ice, more than 40,000 boys and girls, a record-number, tried hockey for the first time. In arenas, more than 350 in-game awareness nights were celebrated with fans. And in the locker room, the first-ever Leaguewide inclusion educational tour was completed.

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