East Division (NHL)

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East Division
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice Hockey
Founded 1967
Ceased 1974
Replaced by Prince of Wales Conference
Most titles Tie: Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens (3)

The East Division of the National Hockey League existed from 1967 until 1974 when the league realigned into two conferences of two divisions each.

In 1967, the NHL doubled in size, going from six teams to twelve. The Original Six, as the pre-1967 teams became retroactively known, were grouped into the East Division, while the expansion teams were placed into the new West Division. This was done in order to keep teams of similar competitive strength in the same division, regardless of geographic distance,[1] and to ensure playoff revenue for the new franchises. This competitive imbalance would lead to East Division teams winning the Stanley Cup in six of the seven years the league was divided into two divisions. Another consequence was that in 1969–70, the Montreal Canadiens, who had finished the season with 92 points (more than any team in the West Division), missed the playoffs – the only time between 1948–49 and 1993–94 that they did so.

When the NHL expanded again in 1970, the two new teams, the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres, were placed into the stronger East Division. In an effort to create more balanced competition, the Chicago Black Hawks were transferred into the West Division. When the NHL expanded again in 1972, each division was given one of the expansion clubs, with the New York Islanders joining the East Division and the Atlanta Flames joining the West Division.

By 1974, another two teams (the Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts) entered the NHL, and as a result the league underwent a major overhaul. The East and West Divisions were renamed the Prince of Wales and Clarence Campbell Conferences, respectively, composed of nine teams each. The conferences were further divided into two divisions: the Norris and Adams Divisions for the Wales Conference, and the Patrick and Smythe Divisions for the Campbell Conference. Because the Conferences were not geographically based, the league opted to name the conferences and divisions after notable persons associated with the NHL.

Composition of the East Division[edit]

Seasons[edit]

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 highlighted in bold

1967–68[edit]

1967–68 GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Montreal Canadiens 74 42 22 10 94 236 167 700
New York Rangers 74 39 23 12 90 226 183 673
Boston Bruins 74 37 27 10 84 259 216 1043
Chicago Black Hawks 74 32 26 16 80 212 222 606
Toronto Maple Leafs 74 33 31 10 76 209 176 634
Detroit Red Wings 74 27 35 12 66 245 257 759

1968–69[edit]

1968–69 GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Montreal Canadiens 76 46 19 11 103 271 202 780
Boston Bruins 76 42 18 16 100 303 221 1297
New York Rangers 76 41 26 9 91 231 196 806
Toronto Maple Leafs 76 35 26 15 85 234 217 961
Detroit Red Wings 76 33 31 12 78 239 221 885
Chicago Black Hawks 76 34 33 9 77 280 246 842

1969–70[edit]

1969–70 GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Chicago Black Hawks 76 45 22 9 99 250 170 901
Boston Bruins 76 40 17 19 99 277 216 1196
Detroit Red Wings 76 40 21 15 95 246 199 907
New York Rangers 76 38 22 16 92 246 189 853
Montreal Canadiens 76 38 22 16 92 244 201 892
Toronto Maple Leafs 76 29 34 13 71 222 242 898

1970–71[edit]

Two expansion teams, Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks, are added. Chicago moved to the West Division.

1970–71 GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Boston Bruins 78 57 14 7 121 399 207 1154
New York Rangers 78 49 18 11 109 259 177 952
Montreal Canadiens 78 42 23 13 97 291 216 1271
Toronto Maple Leafs 78 37 33 8 82 248 211 1133
Buffalo Sabres 78 24 39 15 63 217 291 1188
Vancouver Canucks 78 24 46 8 56 229 296 1371
Detroit Red Wings 78 22 45 11 55 209 308 988

1971–72[edit]

1971–72 GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Boston Bruins 78 54 13 11 119 330 204 1112
New York Rangers 78 48 17 13 109 317 192 1010
Montreal Canadiens 78 46 16 16 108 307 205 783
Toronto Maple Leafs 78 33 31 14 80 209 208 887
Detroit Red Wings 78 33 35 10 76 261 262 850
Buffalo Sabres 78 16 43 19 51 203 289 831
Vancouver Canucks 78 20 50 8 48 203 297 1092

1972–73[edit]

An expansion team, the New York Islanders, are added.

1972–73 GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Montreal Canadiens 78 52 10 16 120 329 184 783
Boston Bruins 78 51 22 5 107 330 235 1097
New York Rangers 78 47 23 8 102 297 208 765
Buffalo Sabres 78 37 27 14 88 257 219 940
Detroit Red Wings 78 37 29 12 86 265 243 893
Toronto Maple Leafs 78 27 41 10 64 247 279 716
Vancouver Canucks 78 22 47 9 53 233 339 943
New York Islanders 78 12 60 6 30 170 347 881

1973–74[edit]

1973–74 GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Boston Bruins 78 52 17 9 113 349 221 968
Montreal Canadiens 78 45 24 9 99 293 240 761
New York Rangers 78 40 24 14 94 300 251 782
Toronto Maple Leafs 78 35 27 16 86 274 230 903
Buffalo Sabres 78 32 34 12 76 242 250 787
Detroit Red Wings 78 29 39 10 68 255 319 917
Vancouver Canucks 78 24 43 11 59 224 296 952
New York Islanders 78 19 41 18 56 182 247 1075

After the 1973–74 season[edit]

The league was reformatted into two conferences with two divisions each:

East Division Champions[edit]

Stanley Cup champions produced[edit]

As the East Division was composed of the Original Six franchises, these teams had a competitive advantage over the West Division teams for several years.

References[edit]

  1. ^ MacKinnon, John (1996). NHL Hockey: The Official Fans' Guide. Vancouver: Raincoast Book Distribution Ltd. p. 128.