The 1938-39 NHL season was the 22nd season of the National Hockey League. Seven teams each played 48 games. The Boston Bruins were the Stanley Cup winners as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs four games to one in the final series.
Just prior to the start of the 1937-38 season, the league held a meeting to decide the fate of the Maroons. They requested a shift to St. Louis, but this was rejected after considerable discussion. And so, the Montreal Maroons dropped out of the league. They sold most of their players to the Canadiens, and it was evident that the Maroons were through for good. With only seven teams left, the NHL decided to go back to the one division format.
Also prior to the start of the season, the Boston Bruins sold their star goaltender, Tiny Thompson, who had just won a record 4th Vezina Trophy, to the Detroit Red Wings The fans thought Art Ross was crazy,but soon they were applauding rookie Frank Brimsek, would go on to back-stop the Bruins to a first overall finish and a Stanley Cup victory. He wiped out Thompson's shutout sequence record with three consecutive shutouts. He nearly equalled his new record with three more. He ended the season with 10 shutouts, and earned the nickname "Mr.Zero". He also became the first goaltender to win both the Vezina Trophy and Calder Trophy in the same season.
A sad event took place December 7, as Joseph Cattarinich died of a heart attack following an eye operation. Cattarinich was the original goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens when they were formed in 1909. He was 57.
The Montreal Canadiens eroded to the point where Jules Dugal replaced Cecil Hart as manager and coach. Dugal wasn't much better and the Canadiens finished 6th. One bright note was that Toe Blake won the scoring title, however, despite the poor showing of the team.
Chicago, after its Stanley Cup win the previous season, began floundering at mid-season and owner Frederic McLaughlin was displeased. Accordingly, he fired coach Bill Stewart and hired left wing Paul Thompson in his place. But the Black Hawks continued to lose and finished last.
The New York Americans, up in third place at mid-season, proceeded to fall into a big slump in the second half and though they finished 4th, they were below .500 and had the worst defence in the league. Part of the problem was the retirements of Ching Johnson and Hap Day on defence. Al Murray was also out of action for quite a time. Still, goaltender Earl Robertson found himself on the second all-star team.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold
|National Hockey League||GP||W||L||T||Pts||GF||GA||PIM|
|New York Rangers||48||26||16||6||58||149||105||393|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||48||19||20||9||47||114||107||370|
|New York Americans||48||17||21||10||44||119||157||276|
|Detroit Red Wings||48||18||24||6||42||107||128||240|
|Chicago Black Hawks||48||12||28||8||32||91||132||367|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|Toe Blake||Montreal Canadiens||48||24||23||47||10|
|Sweeney Schriner||New York Americans||48||13||31||44||20|
|Bill Cowley||Boston Bruins||34||8||34||42||2|
|Clint Smith||New York Rangers||48||21||20||41||2|
|Marty Barry||Detroit Red Wings||48||13||28||41||4|
Stanley Cup playoffsEdit
|2||New York Rangers||3|
|3||Toronto Maple Leafs||1|
|3||Toronto Maple Leafs||2|
|4||New York Americans||0|
|3||Toronto Maple Leafs||2|
|5||Detroit Red Wings||1|
|5||Detroit Red Wings||2|
<tr> <td height="14"> </td> <td align=center bgcolor="#f2f2f2" style="border:1px solid #aaa;"> 6</td> <td style="border:1px solid #aaa;" bgcolor=#f9f9f9> Montreal Canadiens</td> <td align=center style="border:1px solid #aaa;" bgcolor=#f9f9f9>1</td> <td style="border-width:2px 0 0 0; border-style:solid;border-color:black;"> </td></tr>
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1938-39 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Roy Conacher, Boston Bruins
- Frank Brimsek, Boston Bruins
- Ab DeMarco, Chicago Black Hawks
- Don Grosso, Detroit Red Wings
- Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings
- Jack Stewart, Detroit Red Wings
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1938-39 (listed with their last team):
- Russ Blinco, Chicago Black Hawks
- Paul Thompson, Chicago Black Hawks
- Baldy Northcott, Chicago Black Hawks
- Alex Levinsky, Chicago Black Hawks
- Bob Gracie, Chicago Black Hawks
- Larry Aurie, Detroit Red Wings
- Herbie Lewis, Detroit Red Wings
- Dave Trottier, Detroit Red Wings
- Babe Siebert, Montreal Canadiens
- Jimmy Ward, Montreal Canadiens
|National Hockey League|
|1938–39 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal Canadiens • NY Americans • NY Rangers • Toronto|
|See also||1939 Stanley Cup Finals|