The 1944–45 NHL season was the 28th season of the National Hockey League which lasted from October 28, 1944 to April 22, 1945 where six teams each played 50 games.
NHL president Red Dutton offered to resign because of business concerns, but the league's board of governors dissuaded him. At one point, Conn Smythe was offered the presidency, but turned it down. Dutton then stayed on.
It was the year of the "Punch Line" as Rocket Richard scored 50 goals in 50 games, breaking Joe Malone's record of 44 goals and when Richard scored his 45th, Malone was on hand to present him with the record-breaking puck.
Richard had a five-goal, three-assist night against Detroit at the Montreal Forum on December 28, 1944. His centreman, Elmer Lach won the scoring race with 26 goals and 80 points.
Toe Blake finished third with 29 goals, 38 assists, and for the second time, an entire line finished first, second, third scoring. The previous time had been in 1939–40 when the Boston Bruins' "Kraut Line" of Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart accomplished the feat. Schmidt finished with 52 points in 48 games that year, and Bauer and Dumart 43 apiece.
Montreal dared not loan Paul Bibeault to Toronto again with his fine year the previous season and loaned him instead to Boston, but the Maple Leafs came up with a fine rookie named Frank McCool who won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie.
For the first time, a team produced three consecutive top rookies. McCool and Chicago netminder Mike Karakas tied for the league lead in shutouts with four each.
Bill Durnan won his second consecutive Vezina Trophy with Montreal. Flash Hollett became the first defenceman to score twenty goals in one season. The record would stand until Bobby Orr broke it several decades later.
- March 20, 1945: 1-0 (Winner: Toronto)
- March 22, 1945: 3-2 (Winner: Toronto)
- March 24, 1945: 4-1 (Winner: Montreal)
- March 27, 1945: 4-1 (Winner: Montreal)
- March 29, 1945: 4-3 Overtime (Winner: Toronto)
- March 31, 1945: 3-2 (Winner: Toronto)
Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 2.
- March 20, 1945: 4-3 (Winner: Boston)
- March 22, 1945: 4-2 (Winner: Boston)
- March 24, 1945: 3-2 (Winner: Detroit)
- March 27, 1945: 3-2 (Winner: Detroit)
- March 29, 1945: 3-2 Overtime (Winner: Detroit)
- April 1, 1945: 5-3 (Winner: Boston)
- April 3, 1945: 5-3 (Winner: Detroit)
Detroit wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 3
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings
- April 6, 1945: 1-0 (Winner: Toronto)
- April 8, 1945: 2-0 (Winner: Toronto)
- April 12, 1945: 1-0 (Winner: Toronto)
- April 14, 1945: 5-3 (Winner: Detroit)
- April 19, 1945: 2-0 (Winner: Detroit)
- April 21, 1945: 1-0 Overtime (Winner: Detroit)
- April 22, 1945: 2-1 (Winner: Toronto)
Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 3.
|Detroit Red Wings|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:|
(Regular season champion)
|Calder Memorial Trophy:|
(Best first-year player)
|Frank McCool, Toronto Maple Leafs|
(Most valuable player)
|Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens|
|Lady Byng Trophy:|
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
|Bill Mosienko, Chicago Black Hawks|
(Fewest goals allowed)
|Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens|
|First team||Position||Second team|
|Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens||G||Mike Karakas, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Émile Bouchard, Montreal Canadiens||D||Glen Harmon, Montreal Canadiens|
|Flash Hollett, Detroit Red Wings||D||Babe Pratt, Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens||C||Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins|
|Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens||RW||Bill Mosienko, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens||LW||Syd Howe, Detroit Red Wings|
|Dick Irvin, Montreal Canadiens||Coach||Jack Adams, Detroit Red Wings|
(Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes)
|Elmer Lach||Montreal Canadiens||50||26||54||80||37|
|Maurice Richard||Montreal Canadiens||50||50||23||73||46|
|Toe Blake||Montreal Canadiens||49||29||38||67||25|
|Bill Cowley||Boston Bruins||49||25||40||65||12|
|Ted Kennedy||Toronto Maple Leafs||49||29||25||54||14|
|Bill Mosienko||Chicago Black Hawks||50||28||26||54||0|
|Joe Carveth||Detroit Red Wings||50||26||28||54||6|
|Ab DeMarco||New York Rangers||50||24||30||54||10|
|Clint Smith||Chicago Black Hawks||50||23||31||54||0|
|Syd Howe||Detroit Red Wings||46||17||36||53||6|
(Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts)
|Bill Durnan||Montreal Canadiens||50||3000||121||2.42||38||8||4||1|
|Frank McCool||Toronto Maple Leafs||50||3000||161||3.22||24||22||4||4|
|Harry Lumley||Detroit Red Wings||37||2220||119||3.22||24||10||3||1|
|Connie Dion||Detroit Red Wings||12||720||39||3.25||6||4||2||0|
|Mike Karakas||Chicago Black Hawks||48||2880||187||3.90||12||29||7||4|
|Harvey Bennett||Boston Bruins||24||1470||103||4.20||10||12||2||0|
|Paul Bibeault||Boston Bruins||26||1530||116||4.55||6||18||2||0|
|Ken McAuley||New York Rangers||46||2760||227||4.93||11||25||10||1|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1944–45:
- Fern Flaman, Boston Bruins
- Murray Henderson, Boston Bruins
- Pete Horeck, Chicago Black Hawks
- Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings
- Bill Ezinicki, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Frank McCool, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1944–45: