1974–75 NHL season

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1974–75 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 9, 1974 – May 27, 1975
Number of games 80
Number of teams 18
Regular season
Season champions Philadelphia Flyers
Season MVP Bobby Clarke, (Philadelphia Flyers)
Top scorer Bobby Orr, (Boston Bruins)
Playoffs MVP Bernie Parent, (Philadelphia Flyers)
Stanley Cup
Champions Philadelphia Flyers
  Runners-up Buffalo Sabres
NHL seasons

The 1974–75 NHL season was the 58th season of the National Hockey League. Two new teams, the Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts were added, increasing the number of teams to 18. To accommodate the new teams, the NHL re-organized its divisional structure and playoff format. The Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive year.

League business[edit]

With the addition of two new teams, the Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts, the NHL bumped up the number of games from 78 to 80 and split the previously two-division league into four divisions and two conferences. Because the new conferences and divisions had little to do with North American geography, geographical references were also removed until 1993. The East Division became the Prince of Wales Conference and consisted of the Adams Division and Norris Division. The West Division became the Clarence Campbell Conference and consisted of the Patrick Division and Smythe Division. The Capitals had the worst season ever recorded in the history of major professional hockey, and the third worst in the postwar era the following season, while the Scouts the following season would have the fifth worst record of the postwar era.

In early 1975, newspapers reported that the California Golden Seals and Pittsburgh Penguins were to be relocated to Denver and Seattle respectively, in an arrangement that would have seen the two teams sold to groups in those cities that had already been awarded "conditional" franchises for the 1976-77 season. After staunchly rejecting previous franchise relocation attempts, league president Clarence Campbell saw this as a method by which the NHL might extricate itself from two problem markets, while honoring the expansion commitments it had made. The Penguins ended up staying in Pittsburgh (and ultimately, over time, made Pittsburgh one of the NHL's stronger markets),[1][2] while the Golden Seals would move to Cleveland in 1976 to become the Cleveland Barons before merging with the Minnesota North Stars in 1978. While Seattle has yet to have an NHL team, the Scouts gave up on Kansas City after two seasons and made the 604-mile (972 km) trip west along Interstate 70 to Denver to become the Colorado Rockies in 1976 before moving east to East Rutherford, New Jersey in 1982 and becoming the New Jersey Devils; Denver would return to the NHL in 1995 when the Quebec Nordiques moved there and became the Colorado Avalanche, where they remain to this day.

Regular season[edit]

For the first time ever in the National Hockey League, there was a three-way tie for first place overall. The respective divisional leaders of the Norris, Patrick, and Adams all had 113 points. The Vancouver Canucks, which had been playing in the original East Division since they debuted in the league, were moved over to the Campbell Conference and led the way in the Smythe Division with a meager 86 points. Bobby Orr won the scoring title for the second time, the only defenceman in the history of the NHL to accomplish this feat.

The surprise team of the year were the Los Angeles Kings. When the new divisional lineup was announced, many hockey experts felt the Montreal Canadiens were in the weakest division and joked they would clinch first place by Christmas.[citation needed] But the Kings, with their disciplined defensive style, and excellent goaltending tandem of Rogie Vachon and Gary Edwards, battled Montreal all year for first place. The Kings opened their season by beating the defending champion Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia and tying the Canadiens in Montreal. The Kings lost only twice in their first 26 games, and on Christmas, Montreal had only a two-point lead in the standings. When L.A. won in Montreal in mid-January, they were back in first place. The teams continued to battle, with the Canadiens finally clinching first place with three games to play.

Final standings[edit]

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold

Prince of Wales Conference[edit]

Adams Division[3]
1 Buffalo Sabres 80 49 16 15 354 240 +114 113
2 Boston Bruins 80 40 26 14 345 245 +100 94
3 Toronto Maple Leafs 80 31 33 16 280 309 -29 −29 78
4 California Golden Seals 80 19 48 13 212 316 -104 −104 51
Norris Division[3]
1 Montreal Canadiens 80 47 14 19 374 225 +149 113
2 Los Angeles Kings 80 42 17 21 269 185 +84 105
3 Pittsburgh Penguins 80 37 28 15 326 289 +37 89
4 Detroit Red Wings 80 23 45 12 259 335 -76 −76 58
5 Washington Capitals 80 8 67 5 181 446 -265 −265 21

Clarence Campbell Conference[edit]

Patrick Division[3]
1 Philadelphia Flyers 80 51 18 11 293 181 +112 113
2 New York Rangers 80 37 29 14 319 276 +43 88
3 New York Islanders 80 33 25 22 264 221 +43 88
4 Atlanta Flames 80 34 31 15 243 233 +10 83
Smythe Division[3]
1 Vancouver Canucks 80 38 32 10 271 254 +17 86
2 St. Louis Blues 80 35 31 14 269 267 +2 84
3 Chicago Blackhawks 80 37 35 8 268 241 +27 82
4 Minnesota North Stars 80 23 50 7 221 341 -120 −120 53
5 Kansas City Scouts 80 15 54 11 184 328 -144 −144 41


With the new conference and division structure, the 1975 playoffs used a new format. The playoffs were expanded from 8 to 12 teams with the top 3 teams in each division qualifying for the playoffs. The first place teams in each division earned a first round bye, while the second and third place teams were seeded 1–8 based on their regular season record and played a best 2 out of 3 "mini-series." The four division winners then joined the 4 mini series winners in the quarter finals, and they were again re-seeded 1–8 based on regular season record. This re-seeding would take place again in the semi finals, and is used in the current playoff format (although it was not used between 1982 and 1993). Proponents of this re-seeding state that it makes the regular season more important by rewarding teams with better records with potentially easier matchups. In addition, it avoids the potential issue of two lower seeded teams (who may have pulled early round upsets) playing each other in the next round while two higher seeded teams are playing each other (as is possible in a "bracketed" playoff format like in the NBA). The biggest beneficiary of this format was the Vancouver Canucks, who were ninth overall in the regular season but received a first-round bye for winning the relatively weak Smythe Division. The ones who suffered from this were the Los Angeles Kings, who had the 4th best overall record but had to play in the risky mini series where they were upset by the Toronto Maple Leafs 2 games to 1.

During the 1975 Stanley Cup playoffs, the New York Islanders, playing in their first playoffs since their inception in the 1972–73 NHL season, nearly managed an incredible series of upsets to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. After upsetting the New York Rangers two games to one in the preliminary round, the Islanders found themselves behind the Pittsburgh Penguins three games to none in the best-of-seven series in the quarterfinal round. The Islanders rallied to win the next four games and take the series 4–3. The only other sports teams to accomplish the feat of rallying from a 3–0 game deficit to win, were the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1942 Stanley Cup Finals, the MLB Boston Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS, the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, and the 2014 Los Angeles Kings. In the semifinal round of the playoffs, the Islanders nearly did it again. Rallying from another three games to none deficit, they won the next three games to force a seventh game against the defending Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers took the decisive seventh game at home to win the series and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Playoff bracket[edit]

  Preliminary Round Quarter-finals Semi-finals Stanley Cup Final
  1  Philadelphia 4  
    12  Toronto 0  
4  Los Angeles 1
12  Toronto 2  
  1  Philadelphia 4  
  8  NY Islanders 3  
6  Pittsburgh 2  
10  St. Louis 0  
  6  Pittsburgh 3
    8  NY Islanders 4  
7  NY Rangers 1
8  NY Islanders 2  
  1  Philadelphia 4
  2  Buffalo 2
  2  Buffalo 4
    11  Chicago 1  
5  Boston 1
11  Chicago 2  
  2  Buffalo 4
  3  Montreal 2  
  3  Montreal 4
    9  Vancouver 1  

Preliminary Round[edit]

(4) Los Angeles Kings vs. (12) Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

Toronto won series 2-1

(6) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (10) St. Louis Blues[edit]

Pittsburgh won series 2-0

(7) New York Rangers vs. (8) New York Islanders[edit]

New York Islanders won series 2-1

(5) Boston Bruins vs. (11) Chicago Black Hawks[edit]

Chicago won series 2-1


(1) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (12) Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

Philadelphia won series 4-0

(6) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (8) New York Islanders[edit]

New York won series 4-3

(2) Buffalo Sabres vs. (11) Chicago Black Hawks[edit]

Buffalo won series 4-1

(3) Montreal Canadiens vs. (9) Vancouver Canucks[edit]

Montreal won series 4-1


(1) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (8) New York Islanders[edit]

Philadelphia won series 4-3

(2) Buffalo Sabres vs. (3) Montreal Canadiens[edit]

Buffalo won series 4-2


The Philadelphia Flyers beat the Buffalo Sabres four games to two for their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

Philadelphia won series 4-2


1975 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Wales Conference regular season champion)
Buffalo Sabres
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(Campbell Conference regular season champion)
Philadelphia Flyers
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer, regular season)
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:
(Perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication)
Don Luce, Buffalo Sabres
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Top first-year player)
Eric Vail, Atlanta Flames
Conn Smythe Trophy:
(Most valuable player, playoffs)
Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers
Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player, regular season)
Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
Jack Adams Award:
(Best coach)
Bob Pulford, Los Angeles Kings
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Marcel Dionne, Detroit Red Wings
Lester B. Pearson Award:
(Outstanding player, regular season)
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender(s) of team(s) with best goaltending record)
Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers
Lester Patrick Trophy:
(Service to hockey in the U.S.)
Donald M. Clark, William L. Chadwick, Thomas N. Ivan

All-Star teams[edit]

First Team   Position   Second Team
Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers G Rogie Vachon, Los Angeles Kings
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins D Guy Lapointe, Montreal Canadiens
Denis Potvin, New York Islanders D Borje Salming, Toronto Maple Leafs
Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers C Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens RW Rene Robert, Buffalo Sabres
Rick Martin, Buffalo Sabres LW Steve Vickers, New York Rangers

Source: NHL.[4]

Player statistics[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

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

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Bobby Orr Boston Bruins 80 46 89 135 101
Phil Esposito Boston Bruins 79 61 66 127 62
Marcel Dionne Detroit Red Wings 80 47 74 121 14
Guy Lafleur Montreal Canadiens 70 53 66 119 37
Pete Mahovlich Montreal Canadiens 80 35 82 117 64
Bobby Clarke Philadelphia Flyers 80 27 89 116 125
Rene Robert Buffalo Sabres 74 40 60 100 75
Rod Gilbert New York Rangers 76 36 61 97 22
Gilbert Perreault Buffalo Sabres 68 39 57 96 36
Rick Martin Buffalo Sabres 68 52 43 95 72

Source: NHL.[5]

Leading goaltenders[edit]

Note: GP = Games played; Min - Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Bernie Parent Philadelphia Flyers 68 4041 137 2.03 44 14 10 12
Rogatien Vachon L.A. Kings 54 3239 121 2.24 27 14 13 6
Gary Edwards L.A. Kings 27 1561 61 2.34 15 3 8 3
Chico Resch N.Y. Islanders 25 1432 59 2.47 12 7 5 3
Roger Crozier Buffalo Sabres 23 1260 55 2.62 17 2 1 3
Ken Dryden Montreal Canadiens 56 3320 149 2.69 30 9 16 4
Tony Esposito Chicago Black Hawks 58 4219 193 2.74 34 30 7 6
Billy Smith N.Y. Islanders 58 3368 156 2.78 21 18 17 3
Dan Bouchard Atlanta Flames 40 2400 111 2.78 20 15 5 3
Phil Myre Atlanta Flames 40 2400 114 2.85 14 16 10 5

Other statistics[edit]


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1974–75 (listed with their first team):

Last games[edit]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1974–75 (listed with their last team):

NOTE: Ullman would finish his major professional career in the World Hockey Association.

See also[edit]


  • 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. 
  1. ^ Anderson, Shelly (2007-11-07). "Penguins Notebook: In this case, No. 20 ranking is huge". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  2. ^ Collier, Gene (2008-05-25). "This is Hockeytown?". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d "1974-1975 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League. 
  4. ^ Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5. 
  5. ^ Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5. 

External links[edit]