The 1939-40 NHL season was the 23rd season for the National Hockey League. Of the league's seven teams, the Boston Bruins were the best in the 48-game regular season, but the Stanley Cup winners were the New York Rangers, who defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the best-of-seven Finals 4-2 for their third Stanley Cup in 14 seasons of existence. It would be another 54 years before their fourth.


Training Camp Sites:

Boston Bruins - Hershey, Pennsylvania
Chicago Black Hawks - Hibbing, Minnesota
Detroit Red Wings - Detroit, Michigan
Montreal Canadiens - Montreal, Quebec
New York Americans - Port Arthur, Ontario
New York Rangers - Winnipeg, Manitoba
Toronto Maple Leafs - St. Catharines, Ontario

Regular seasonEdit

Tragedy struck the Montreal Canadiens when Babe Siebert, named coach of the struggling club, drowned along with his daughter in August. It put a big hole in the Habs defence and the team finished last under Pit Lepine. An all-star benefit was held in Siebert's memory.

The New York Americans, in financial trouble, decided to trade their star left wing Sweeney Schriner to Toronto for Harvey "Busher" Jackson, Buzz Boll, Murray Armstrong, and minor-leaguer Jimmy Fowler. Late in the season, they traded Eddie Wiseman and $5000 to Boston for Eddie Shore. The Americans then managed to make the playoffs by finishing a poor sixth. They also obtained Charlie Conacher and used him as a defenceman.

The first place Boston Bruins had a new coach in Cooney Weiland, their one-time captain, and were once again led by their "Kraut Line", Milt Schmidt, Woody Dumart, and Bobby Bauer as they finished 1-2-3 in overall league scoring. Unfortunately, the potient three were unable to help the Bruins get past the first round of the playoffs as the Bruins lost in 6 to the Rangers.

The New York Rangers were coasting in first place and went 19 consecutive games without a loss. They slumped in the second half, though, and Boston edged them out for first place.

The New York Rangers-Montreal Canadiens 6-2 game on February 25 1940 was the first ice hockey game ever in the USA to be shown on TV.

Final standingsEdit

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 highligted in bold

National Hockey League GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Boston Bruins48 31 12 5 67 170 98 330
New York Rangers 48 27 11 10 64 136 77 520
Toronto Maple Leafs48 25 17 6 56 134 110 485
Chicago Black Hawks 4823 19 6 52 112 120 351
Detroit Red Wings 48 16 26 6 38 90 126 250
New York Americans 48 15 29 4 34 106 140 236
Montreal Canadiens 48 10 33 5 25 90 167 338

Scoring leadersEdit

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Milt Schmidt Boston Bruins48 22 30 52
Woody Dumart Boston Bruins48 22 21 43
Bobby Bauer Boston Bruins48 17 26 43
Bill Cowley Boston Bruins48 13 27 40
Gordie Drillon Toronto Maple Leafs 4321 19 40
Bryan Hextall New York Rangers 48 24 15 39
Neil Colville New York Rangers 48 19 19 38
Syd Howe Detroit Red Wings 48 14 23 37
Murray Armstrong New York Americans 48 16 20 36
Toe Blake Montreal Canadiens 4817 19 36

Stanley Cup playoffsEdit

The Boston Bruins were expected to make the Stanley Cup finals after a first overall finish during the regular season riding the shoulders of the "Kraut Line". But the New York Rangers were too much for the Bruins who lost in six and were out-scored 14 to 8 and shut-out twice in the first round. The third seed Toronto Maple Leafs swept the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks en route to the Stanley Cup finals.

Note: All dates in 1940

Playoff bracketEdit

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  1  Boston Bruins 2  
    2  New York Rangers 4  
    2  New York Rangers 4
  3  Toronto Maple Leafs 2
  3  Toronto Maple Leafs 2  
4  Chicago Black Hawks 0  
3  Toronto Maple Leafs 2
    5  Detroit Red Wings 0  
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> New York Americans</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>

Quarterfinals and SemifinalsEdit

Series A: Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers

Date Home Score Away Score Notes
March 19New York Rangers4Boston Bruins0
March 21Boston Bruins4New York Rangers3
March 24Boston Bruins4New York Rangers2
March 26New York Rangers1Boston Bruins0
March 28Boston Bruins0New York Rangers1
March 30New York Rangers4Boston Bruins1

Rangers win best of seven series 4 games to 2

Series B: Chicago Black Hawks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
March 19Chicago Black Hawks2Toronto Maple Leafs3 6:35 of OT
March 21Toronto Maple Leafs2Chicago Black Hawks1

Toronto wins best of three series 2 games to 0

Series C: New York Americans vs. Detroit Red Wings

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
March 19New York Americans1Detroit Red Wings20:25 of OT
March 22Detroit Red Wings4New York Americans5
March 24New York Americans1Detroit Red Wings3

Detroit wins best of three series 2 games to 1

Series D: Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
March 26Detroit Red Wings1Toronto Maple Leafs2
March 28Toronto Maple Leafs2Detroit Red Wings1

Toronto wins best of three series 2 games to 0


Toronto Maple Leafs vs. New York Rangers

Date Away Score Home Score Notes
April 2Toronto Maple Leafs1New York Rangers215:30 of OT
April 3Toronto Maple Leafs2New York Rangers6
April 6New York Rangers1Toronto Maple Leafs2
April 9New York Rangers0Toronto Maple Leafs3
April 11New York Rangers2Toronto Maple Leafs111:43 of OT
April 13New York Rangers3Toronto Maple Leafs22:07 of OT

New York wins best of seven series 4 games to 2

Playoff scoring leadersEdit

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Phil Watson New York Rangers 12 3 6 9
Neil Colville New York Rangers 12 2 7 9

1940 New York Rangers rosterEdit

General Manager: Lester Patrick
Head Coach: Frank Boucher
Trainer: Harry Westerby
Players: Art Coulter (Captain), Mac Colville, Neil Colville, Ott Heller, Bryan Hextall, Dutch Hiller, Dave Kerr, Kilby MacDonald, Lynn Patrick, Muzz Patrick, Alf Pike, Babe Pratt, Alex Shibicky, Clint Smith, Phil Watson

NHL awardsEdit

O'Brien Trophy: Toronto Maple Leafs
Prince of Wales Trophy: Boston Bruins
Calder Memorial Trophy: Kilby MacDonald, New York Rangers
Hart Memorial Trophy: Ebbie Goodfellow, Detroit Red Wings
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Bobby Bauer, Boston Bruins
Vezina Trophy: Dave Kerr, New York Rangers

All-Star teamsEdit

First Team   Position   Second Team
Dave Kerr, New York Rangers G Frank Brimsek, Boston Bruins
Dit Clapper, Boston Bruins D Art Coulter, New York Rangers
Ebbie Goodfellow, Detroit Red Wings D Earl Seibert, Chicago Black Hawks
Milt Schmidt, Boston Bruins C Neil Colville, New York Rangers
Bryan Hextall, New York Rangers RW Bobby Bauer, Boston Bruins
Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens LW Woody Dumart, Boston Bruins
Paul Thompson, Chicago Black Hawks Coach Frank Boucher, New York Rangers


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1939-40 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last gamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1939-40 (listed with their last team):


  1. Chicago Blackhawks: 275,032
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs: 271,031
  3. Boston Bruins: 245,795
  4. New York Rangers: 239,928
  5. New York Americans: 170,905
  6. Montreal Canadiens: 121,792
  7. Detroit Red Wings: 107,512

See alsoEdit


NHL seasons

1935-36 | 1936-37 | 1937-38 | 1938-39 | 1939-40 | 1940-41 | 1941-42 | 1942-43 | 1943-44

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