1980–81 NHL season
The 1980–81 NHL season was the 64th season of the National Hockey League. The New York Islanders were the top regular season team and the top playoff team, winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
|1980–81 NHL season|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 9, 1980 – May 21, 1981|
|Number of games||80|
|Number of teams||21|
|Top draft pick||Doug Wickenheiser|
|Picked by||Montreal Canadiens|
|Season champions||New York Islanders|
|Season MVP||Wayne Gretzky (Oilers)|
|Top scorer||Wayne Gretzky (Oilers)|
|Playoffs MVP||Butch Goring (Islanders)|
|Champions||New York Islanders|
|Runners-up||Minnesota North Stars|
The season featured notable individual scoring milestones.
Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers broke Bobby Orr's single season assist record, scoring 109 assists, and Phil Esposito's point record, scoring 164 points. He won his second of an unmatched eight straight Hart Trophies as the league's most valuable player
Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders became only the second man in NHL history to score 50 goals in his first 50 games. In the 50th game, played at his home rink, he had 48 goals going into the 3rd and final period (before the advent of overtime games). Bossy admitted being so embarrassed and upset that he contemplated not going out on the ice for the final period. However, Bossy got his 49th goal with 5:15 left to go in the game and the 50th with 1:50 remaining, sending the Nassau Coliseum into a delirium. Maurice Richard, the only other man to accomplish this feat, was on hand to congratulate Bossy.
Bossy's Islanders finished as regular season champions with 110 points with the St. Louis Blues finishing a close second at 107 points.
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
Prince of Wales Conference
|Minnesota North Stars||80||35||28||17||291||263||1624||87|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||80||28||37||15||322||367||1830||71|
|Los Angeles Kings||80||43||24||13||337||290||99|
|Detroit Red Wings||80||19||43||18||252||339||56|
Clarence Campbell Conference
|New York Islanders||80||48||18||14||355||260||110|
|New York Rangers||80||30||36||14||312||317||74|
|St. Louis Blues||80||45||18||17||352||281||107|
|Chicago Black Hawks||80||31||33||16||304||315||78|
The Stanley Cup playoffs would see the New York Islanders dominate on their way to winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup. Notably, in the first round against the Maple Leafs, the Isles swept a three-game series, outscoring Toronto 20-4. The Islanders would go on to defeat Edmonton in six games in the quarter-finals, and in the semi-finals, the Islanders swept the Rangers and outscored them 22-8.
In game one of the Edmonton-Montreal series, Wayne Gretzky had five assists. This was a single game playoff record. Another distinction was in the Minnesota North Stars' sweep of the Boston Bruins; the two games the North Stars won in Boston Garden were the first games that the team had won in Boston, either regular season or playoff, since the team had joined the NHL in 1967.
|Preliminary Round||Quarterfinals||Semifinals||Stanley Cup Finals|
|(Pairings are re-seeded after the first and second rounds.)|
Stanley Cup Finals
The Islanders easily defeated the Minnesota North Stars in the finals in five games. The Islanders were defeated three times during the playoffs.
New York Islanders vs. Minnesota North Stars
|May 12||Minnesota North Stars||3–6||New York Islanders||Nassau Coliseum||Recap|
|May 14||Minnesota North Stars||3–6||New York Islanders||Nassau Coliseum||Recap|
|May 17||New York Islanders||7–5||Minnesota North Stars||Met Center||Recap|
|May 19||New York Islanders||2–4||Minnesota North Stars||Met Center||Recap|
|May 21||Minnesota North Stars||1–5||New York Islanders||Nassau Coliseum||Recap|
|New York won series 4–1|
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Wayne Gretzky||Edmonton Oilers||80||55||109||164||28|
|Marcel Dionne||Los Angeles Kings||80||58||77||135||70|
|Kent Nilsson||Calgary Flames||80||49||82||131||26|
|Mike Bossy||New York Islanders||79||68||51||119||32|
|Dave Taylor||Los Angeles Kings||72||47||65||112||130|
|Peter Stastny||Quebec Nordiques||77||39||70||109||37|
|Charlie Simmer||Los Angeles Kings||65||56||49||105||62|
|Mike Rogers||Hartford Whalers||80||40||65||105||32|
|Bernie Federko||St. Louis Blues||78||31||73||104||47|
|Jacques Richard||Quebec Nordiques||78||52||51||103||39|
|Rick Middleton||Boston Bruins||80||44||59||103||16|
|Bryan Trottier||New York Islanders||73||31||72||103||74|
|Rick St. Croix||Philadelphia||27||1567||65||2||2.49|
|Glenn Resch||New York Islanders/Colorado||40||2266||121||3||3.20|
|Mario Lessard||Los Angeles||64||3746||203||2||3.25|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1980–81 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Barry Pederson, Boston Bruins
- Steve Kasper, Boston Bruins
- Denis Savard, Chicago Black Hawks
- Steve Larmer, Chicago Black Hawks
- Andy Moog, Edmonton Oilers
- Charlie Huddy, Edmonton Oilers
- Glenn Anderson, Edmonton Oilers
- Jari Kurri, Edmonton Oilers
- Paul Coffey, Edmonton Oilers
- Larry Murphy, Los Angeles Kings
- Dino Ciccarelli, Minnesota North Stars
- Don Beaupre, Minnesota North Stars
- Neal Broten, Minnesota North Stars
- Doug Wickenheiser, Montreal Canadiens
- Guy Carbonneau, Montreal Canadiens
- Rick Wamsley, Montreal Canadiens
- Brent Sutter, New York Islanders
- Rollie Melanson, New York Islanders
- Tim Kerr, Philadelphia Flyers
- Mike Bullard, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Anton Stastny, Quebec Nordiques
- Peter Stastny, Quebec Nordiques
- Dale Hunter, Quebec Nordiques
- Paul MacLean, St. Louis Blues
- Dave Babych, Winnipeg Jets
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1980–81 (listed with their last team):
- Jean Ratelle, Boston Bruins
- Terry Harper, Colorado Rockies
- Pete Mahovlich, Detroit Red Wings
- Tom Bladon, Detroit Red Wings
- Phil Esposito, New York Rangers
- Walt Tkaczuk, New York Rangers
- Ron Ellis, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Dennis Kearns, Vancouver Canucks
- Bobby Schmautz, Vancouver Canucks
- Dennis Ververgaert, Washington Capitals
- Guy Charron, Washington Capitals
- Wayne Stephenson, Washington Capitals
- Jude Drouin, Winnipeg Jets
1981 Trading Deadline
- Trading Deadline: MARCH 10, 1981
- March 8, 1981: Doug Halward traded from Los Angeles to Vancouver for Vancouver's fifth round choice in 1982 Entry Draft (
- March 10, 1981: Bill Baker traded from Montreal to Colorado for Colorado's third round choice in 1983 Entry Draft.
- March 10, 1981: Ken Berry and Garry Lariviere traded from Vancouver to Edmonton for Blair MacDonald and Lars-Gunnar Petersson.
- March 10, 1981: Pat Hughes traded from Pittsburgh to Edmonton for Pat Price.
- March 10, 1981: Jari Kaarela and Mike McEwen traded from Colorado to NY Islanders for Glenn Resch and Steve Tambellini.
- March 10, 1981: Michel Larocque traded from Montreal to Toronto for Robert Picard.
- March 10, 1981: Don Luce traded from Buffalo to Los Angeles for Los Angeles' sixth round choice in 1982 Entry Draft (Jeff Parker).
- March 10, 1981: Ray Markham traded from NY Rangers to Edmonton for John Hughes.
- March 10, 1981: Mario Marois traded from Vancouver to Quebec for Garry Lariviere.
- March 10, 1981: Rick Martin traded from Buffalo to Los Angeles for Los Angeles' third round choice in 1981 Entry Draft (Colin Chisholm) and Los Angeles' first round choice in 1983 Entry Draft (Tom Barrasso).
- March 10, 1981: Jim Rutherford traded from Toronto to Los Angeles for Los Angeles' fifth round choice in 1981 Entry Draft (Barry Brigley).
- March 10, 1981: Garry Unger traded from Los Angeles to Edmonton for Edmonton's seventh round choice in 1981 Entry Draft (Craig Hurley).
- March 10, 1981: Ron Zanussi and Minnesota's third round choice in 1981 Entry Draft traded from Minnesota to Toronto for Toronto's second round choice in 1981 Entry Draft(Ernie Godden).
- 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.
- "1980-81 NHL Playoff Results". hockeyDB.com.
- Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 152. ISBN 9781894801225.
- Jenish, D'Arcy (2009). The Montreal Canadiens:100 Years of Glory. Doubleday. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-385-66325-0.
- Dinger 2011, p. 152.
- NHL trade deadline: Deals since 1980 | Habs Inside/Out Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine