1998–99 NHL season
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 9, 1998 – June 19, 1999|
|Number of games||82|
|Number of teams||27|
|Presidents' Trophy||Dallas Stars|
|Season MVP||Jaromir Jagr (Pittsburgh)|
|Top scorer||Jaromir Jagr (Pittsburgh)|
|Eastern champions||Buffalo Sabres|
|Eastern runners-up||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Western champions||Dallas Stars|
|Western runners-up||Colorado Avalanche|
|Playoffs MVP||Joe Nieuwendyk (Dallas)|
|Stanley Cup champions||Dallas Stars|
The 1998–99 NHL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Hockey League. The Dallas Stars finished first in regular season play, and won the Stanley Cup championship over the Buffalo Sabres on an overtime goal by Brett Hull.
With the addition of the expansion Nashville Predators, the NHL realigned this year to a strictly geographic six-division structure (three per conference), erasing the last vestiges of the traditional four-division structure (Adams/Patrick/Norris/Smythe) abandoned in 1993–94. Other than the necessary reassignment of Colorado to the Western Conference in 1995 due to its two-thousand mile (over 3,200 km) move west from Quebec, the divisions' membership had remained static for five years although several franchises had relocated. As part of this realignment, the Toronto Maple Leafs moved from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference. This put three of the 'Original Six' teams in the Northeast Division (Boston, Montreal, Toronto), and the three original cities of the NHL in the Northeast (Montreal, Ottawa, Detroit).
The 1998–99 season marked the retirement of Wayne Gretzky, the NHL's all-time leading scorer, who played his final three NHL seasons with the New York Rangers. The Rangers had been battling for a playoff spot up until the end of the regular season when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were able to clinch a post-season berth when Jaromir Jagr scored the winning goal.
This was the final season that Fox televised NHL games in the United States. It was also the final season for the Toronto Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens, before moving to the Air Canada Centre in February. Toronto also made its first post-season appearance since 1995–96 this season. 1998-99 was also the final year that the Carolina Hurricanes played at Greensboro Coliseum; they moved to the brand-new Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena in Raleigh for the next season. The Colorado Avalanche played their fourth and final season at McNichols Sports Arena and would move to Pepsi Center the following season. The Los Angeles Kings played their final season at the Great Western Forum after 32 seasons before moving to the Staples Center for the next season. Due to the fact that the Great Western Bank ceased to exist two seasons prior, the arena name was replaced by the team name on center ice, in anticipation of the move.
In an effort to reduce the number of disallowed goals due to the skate-in-the-crease violation, the goal crease size was significantly reduced. In spite of this, goaltenders and defensive systems continued to dominate the league, as only two teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New Jersey Devils, averaged more than three goals scored per game. In addition, no player reached the 50-goal plateau. A total of 160 shutouts were recorded for the second-straight regular season.
|1||2||New Jersey Devils||82||47||24||11||248||196||105|
|4||10||New York Rangers||82||33||38||11||217||227||77|
|5||13||New York Islanders||82||24||48||10||194||244||58|
|2||4||Toronto Maple Leafs||82||45||30||7||268||231||1095||97|
|4||14||Tampa Bay Lightning||82||19||54||9||179||292||1316||47|
|1||3||Detroit Red Wings||82||43||32||7||245||202||1202||93|
|2||5||St. Louis Blues||82||37||32||13||237||209||1308||87|
|3||6||Mighty Ducks of Anaheim||82||35||34||13||215||206||83|
|4||7||San Jose Sharks||82||31||33||18||196||191||80|
|5||11||Los Angeles Kings||82||32||45||5||189||222||69|
Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.
Stanley Cup Final
The teams split the first two games, held in Dallas, then split the following two games in Buffalo. In the fifth game, Dallas shut out Buffalo to put the Sabres on the brink of elimination. Game six was held in Buffalo and it went to triple-overtime before being decided on a controversial goal scored by Brett Hull while he was in the goal crease.Joe Nieuwendyk of Dallas was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player.
|Dallas Stars vs. Buffalo Sabres|
|June 8||Buffalo||3 – 2||Dallas||OT|
|June 10||Buffalo||2 – 4||Dallas|
|June 12||Dallas||2 – 1||Buffalo|
|June 15||Dallas||1 – 2||Buffalo|
|June 17||Buffalo||0 – 2||Dallas|
|June 19||Dallas||2 – 1||Buffalo||3OT|
|Conference Quarterfinals||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||Stanley Cup Final|
|(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)|
- 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.
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Jaromir Jagr||Pittsburgh Penguins||81||44||83||127||66|
|Teemu Selanne||Mighty Ducks of Anaheim||75||47||60||107||30|
|Paul Kariya||Mighty Ducks of Anaheim||82||39||62||101||40|
|Peter Forsberg||Colorado Avalanche||78||30||67||97||108|
|Joe Sakic||Colorado Avalanche||73||41||55||96||29|
|Alexei Yashin||Ottawa Senators||82||44||50||94||54|
|Eric Lindros||Philadelphia Flyers||71||40||53||93||120|
|Theoren Fleury||Calgary Flames /Colorado Avalanche||75||40||53||93||86|
|John LeClair||Philadelphia Flyers||76||43||47||90||30|
|Pavol Demitra||St. Louis Blues||82||37||52||89||16|
|Steve Shields||San Jose||37||2162||80||4||2.22|
|Mike Vernon||San Jose||49||2831||107||4||2.27|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1998–99 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Martin St. Louis, Calgary Flames
- Jean-Pierre Dumont, Chicago Blackhawks
- Chris Drury, Colorado Avalanche
- Milan Hejduk, Colorado Avalanche
- Tom Poti, Edmonton Oilers
- Dan Boyle, Florida Panthers
- Jason Blake, Los Angeles Kings
- David Legwand, Nashville Predators
- Karlis Skrastins, Nashville Predators
- Kimmo Timonen, Nashville Predators
- John Madden, New Jersey Devils
- Eric Brewer, New York Islanders
- Sami Salo, Ottawa Senators
- Brent Johnson, St. Louis Blues
- Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Tomas Kaberle, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1998–99 (listed with their last team):
- Tomas Sandstrom, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
- Ken Baumgartner, Boston Bruins
- Randy Cunneyworth, Buffalo Sabres
- Steve Chiasson, Carolina Hurricanes (death)
- Dale Hunter, Colorado Avalanche
- Craig Ludwig, Dallas Stars
- Jamie Macoun, Detroit Red Wings
- Joey Kocur, Detroit Red Wings
- Petr Klima, Detroit Red Wings
- Dino Ciccarelli, Florida Panthers
- Russ Courtnall, Los Angeles Kings
- Dave Babych, Los Angeles Kings
- Bob Carpenter, New Jersey Devils
- Craig Janney, New York Islanders
- Esa Tikkanen, New York Rangers
- Wayne Gretzky, New York Rangers
- Ron Hextall, Philadelphia Flyers
- Bernie Nicholls, San Jose Sharks
- Jim Carey, St. Louis Blues
- Peter Zezel, Vancouver Canucks
- Dave Gagner, Vancouver Canucks
- Brian Bellows, Washington Capitals
- Kelly Miller, Washington Capitals
- Michal Pivonka, Washington Capitals
- John Cullen, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Doug Lidster, Dallas Stars
- Jeff Beukeboom, New York Rangers
- Terry Carkner, Florida Panthers
- Brent Fedyk, New York Rangers
- Mike Hough, New York Islanders
- Jay More, Nashville Predators
- Dana Murzyn, Vancouver Canucks
- Warren Rychel, Colorado Avalanche
- Kjell Samuelsson, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Mark Tinordi, Washington Capitals
- Tony Twist, St. Louis Blues
- Neil Wilkinson, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Trent Yawney, Chicago Blackhawks
- Paul Ysebaert, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Jamie Baker, San Jose Sharks
- Kevin Todd, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
- Brad Shaw, St. Louis Blues
- Trading Deadline: March 23, 1999 
- March 23, 1999: Nashville traded RW Blair Atcheynum to St. Louis for a sixth-round pick in the 2000 Entry Draft.
- March 23, 1999: Calgary traded D Chris O’Sullivan to NY Rangers for D Lee Sorochan.
- March 23, 1999: Detroit traded G Kevin Hodson and San Jose’s second-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft (previously acquired) to Tampa Bay for LW Wendel Clark and Detroit’s sixth-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft (previously acquired).
- March 23, 1999: Washington traded C Dale Hunter and a third-round pick in the 2000 Entry Draft to Colorado for a second-round pick in the 1999 or 2000 Entry Draft.
- March 23, 1999: Florida traded D Rhett Warrener and a fifth-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft to Buffalo for D Mike Wilson.
- March 23, 1999: Calgary traded RW Greg Pankewicz to San Jose for future considerations.
- March 23, 1999: Los Angeles traded C Yanic Perreault to Toronto for C Jason Podollan and a third-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft.
- March 23, 1999: Edmonton traded RW Kevin Brown to NY Rangers for LW Vladimir Vorobiev.
- March 23, 1999: Tampa Bay traded G Bill Ranford to Detroit for a conditional draft pick.
- March 23, 1999: Chicago traded D Chris Chelios to Detroit for 1999 and 2001 first round draft picks (D Steve McCarthy and G Adam Munro)
- March 23, 1999: Montreal traded C Vincent Damphousse to San Jose for a fifth-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft and a conditional draft pick or picks in the 2000 Entry Draft.
- March 23, 1999: Vancouver traded C Peter Zezel to Anaheim for future considerations.
- March 23, 1999: Los Angeles traded D Steve Duchesne to Philadelphia for D David Babych and a fifth-round pick in the 2000 Entry Draft.
- March 23, 1999: NY Rangers trade D Stan Neckar to Phoenix for D Jason Doig and a sixth-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft.
- March 23, 1999: NY Rangers trade D Ulf Samuelsson to Detroit for a second-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft and a third-round pick in the 2000 Entry Draft.
- March 23, 1999: Toronto traded D Jason Smith to Edmonton for a fourth-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft and a second-round pick in the 2000 Entry Draft.
- March 23, 1999: Buffalo traded C Derek Plante to Dallas for a second-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft.
- March 23, 1999: Washington traded LW Craig Berube to Philadelphia for future considerations.
- March 23, 1999: Tampa Bay traded D Sami Helenius to Colorado for a conditional draft pick.
- March 23, 1999: Phoenix traded C J.F. Jomphe to Montreal for future considerations.
- March 23, 1999: Chicago traded RW Nelson Emerson to Ottawa for RW Chris Murray.
- 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.
- Dryden 2000, p. 101.
- 1998-99 NHL Season Summary | Hockey-Reference.com
- 1998-99 NHL Season Leaders | Hockey-Reference.com
- 1998-99 NHL Season Goalie Statistics | Hockey-Reference.com
- Dinger 2011, p. 155.
- NHL trade deadline: Deals since 1980 | Habs Inside/Out