Inside the 2017/2018 NHL season on Twitter

By Christopher Doyle
Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The puck is about to drop on a new @NHL season and Twitter will once again be home to top highlights, original player content and real-time reactions to #WhatsHappening across the league.

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This past Spring, the Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) defeated the Nashville Predators (@NHLPreds) to capture their third #StanleyCup in the last nine years.

The @penguins enter the 2017/2018 as the third most-followed @NHL team on Twitter. Here’s a snapshot of the five most followed teams in league.

  1. Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks)
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs)
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins)
  4. Montreal Canadiens (@CanadiensMTL)
  5. Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers)

In total, nine @NHL teams have more than 1,000,000 followers. Look for the Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) to become the third Canadian team and tenth overall to reach the 1,000,000 follower milestone early in the season. The team enters 2017/2018 with more than 985,000 followers.

Top teams and players

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On the player side, Nashville Predators defenceman P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) became just the third active @NHL player to reach 1,000,000 Twitter followers this past August, joining Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) and Evgeni Malkin (@malkin71_).

Entering 2017/2018 season, these are the five most followed active @NHL players:

  1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (@ovi8)
  2. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins (@malkin71_)
  3. P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators (@PKSubban1)
  4. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (@88PKane)
  5. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers (@strombone1)

Several big name @NHL players swapped addresses this past offseason, including a number of top talents heading to Nevada to play for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights).

These were the five @NHL players switching teams in recent months that had the most Twitter mentions during the offseason:

  1. Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights
  2. Patrick Marleau, Toronto Maple Leafs
  3. Jonathan Drouin, Montreal Canadiens
  4. Kevin Shattenkirk, New York Rangers
  5. James Neal, Vegas Golden Knights

Neal is also the Golden Knight with the most Twitter followers, entering the season with just over 189,000.

The @NHL Entry Draft also fueled an influx of new names for @NHL fans to follow with everyone of the league’s top 10 drafts picks active on Twitter. Of this list, these are the five 2017 #Top10 draft picks with the most Twitter followers:

  1. Nico Hischier, New Jersey Devils (@nicohischier)
  2. Nolan Patrick, Philadelphia Flyers (@nolan_patrick19)
  3. Casey Mittelstadt, Buffalo Sabres (@CMittelstadt)
  4. Lias Andersson, New York Rangers (@liasandersson)
  5. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks (@_EPettersson)


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2016/2017 was a banner season for Canada’s @NHL teams with five different squads making the #StanleyCup playoffs and the Ottawa Senators (@Senators) coming within one win of a finals appearance.

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This is how these five teamed ranked in terms of Twitter account mentions during this past @NHL season, combining both regular and postseason mentions:

  1. Montreal Canadiens (@CanadiensNHL)
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs)
  3. Edmonton Oilers (@edmontonoilers)
  4. Ottawa Senators (@Senators)
  5. Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames)

From this list, the Canadiens owned a commanding lead with 1.6x more combined mentions than the Maple Leafs, 1.9x more than the Oilers, 2.6x more than the Senators and 4.2x more than the Flames

Canada’s seven @NHL team also feature dozens of the top pro hockey talents on Twitter with players sharing photos, insights and reactions with @NHL plans across the planet.

Here are the most followed active @NHL players on Twitter for each of Canada’s seven teams:

  • Calgary: Eddie Lack (@eddielack)
  • Edmonton: Connor McDavid (@cmcdavid97)
  • Montreal: Andrew Shaw (@shawz15er)
  • Ottawa: Erik Karlsson (@ErikKarlsson65)
  • Toronto: James van Riemsdyk (@JVReemer21)
  • Vancouver: Michael Del Zotto (@MichaelDelZotto)
  • Winnipeg: Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke)


Toronto rookie Auston Matthews (@AM34) and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (@cmcdavid97) were the @NHL superstars with the second and third most Twitter mentions, respectively, during the past hockey season, both trailing only @penguins forward Sidney Crosby.

Here are the #Top10 @NHL players with the most combined regular and playoff mentions during the 2016/2017 season with half playing for Canadian teams:

  1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
  3. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
  4. P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators
  5. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
  6. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
  7. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
  8. Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs
  9. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
  10. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators


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While Matthews had 2.8x more regular season mentions than McDavid, it was McDavid who lead in #StanleyCup playoff mentions with 1.4x mentions than Matthews in the postseason. Matthews had the most single-day mentions of any @NHL player in 2016/2017, that coming during the Maple Leafs’ first regular season game where Matthews tallied four goals.

In terms of Twitter followers, McDavid has gained 1.3x more followers than Matthews in the past 12 months.

Look for these two young superstars to continue owning the Twitter conversation in 2017/2018 and make sure to stay close to Twitter during this campaign for the best player and team content from all 31 @NHL squads.


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Christopher Doyle


Head of Sports, Twitter Canada