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.

Division Lineups[edit]

1967–1970[edit]

Changes from the 1966–67 season[edit]

  • The East Division is formed as the result of NHL realignment
  • All Original Six teams are placed in the division

1970–1972[edit]

Changes from the 1969–70 season[edit]

  • The Chicago Black Hawks move to the West Division
  • The Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks are added as expansion teams

1972–1974[edit]

  • Boston Bruins
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • New York Islanders
  • New York Rangers
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Vancouver Canucks

Changes from the 1971–72 season[edit]

  • The New York Islanders are added as an expansion team

After the 1973–74 season[edit]

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

Division Champions[edit]

Season results[edit]

Season 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
1967–68 Montreal (94) NY Rangers (90) Boston (84) Chicago (80) Toronto (76) Detroit (66)
1968–69 Montreal (103) Boston (100) NY Rangers (91) Toronto (85) Detroit (78) Chicago (77)
1969–70 Chicago (99) Boston (99) Detroit (95) NY Rangers (92) Montreal (92) Toronto (71)
1970–71 Boston (121) NY Rangers (109) Montreal (97) Toronto (82) Buffalo (63) Vancouver (56) Detroit (55)
1971–72 Boston (119) NY Rangers (109) Montreal (108) Toronto (80) Detroit (76) Buffalo (51) Vancouver (48)
1972–73 Montreal (120) Boston (107) NY Rangers (102) Buffalo (88) Detroit (86) Toronto (64) Vancouver (53) NY Islanders (30)
1973–74 Boston (113) Montreal (99) NY Rangers (94) Toronto (86) Buffalo (76) Detroit (68) Vancouver (59) NY Islanders (56)
  • Green background denotes qualified for playoffs

Stanley Cup winners produced[edit]

  1. 1968—Montreal Canadiens
  2. 1969—Montreal Canadiens
  3. 1970—Boston Bruins
  4. 1971—Montreal Canadiens
  5. 1972—Boston Bruins
  6. 1973—Montreal Canadiens

References[edit]

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