1985–86 NHL season

The 1985–86 NHL season was the 69th season of the National Hockey League. This season saw the league's Board of Governors introduce the Presidents' Trophy, which would go to the team with the best overall record in the NHL regular season. The Edmonton Oilers would be the first winners of this award.

1985–86 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 10, 1985 – May 24, 1986
Number of games80
Number of teams21
Top draft pickWendel Clark
Picked byToronto Maple Leafs
Regular season
Presidents' TrophyEdmonton Oilers
Season MVPWayne Gretzky (Oilers)
Top scorerWayne Gretzky (Oilers)
Playoffs MVPPatrick Roy (Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsMontreal Canadiens
  Runners-upCalgary Flames

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Calgary Flames four games to one in the final series to win the Stanley Cup.

League business

On June 13, 1985, the NHL board of governors voted 17–4 in favour of amending a penalty rule. Previously, coincidental minor penalties would result in 4-on-4 play. The amendment allowed teams to substitute another player to keep the play 5-on-5. It was seen by many as a shot at trying to slow down the high-flying Edmonton Oilers. Wayne Gretzky was quoted as saying, "I think the NHL is making a big mistake. I think the NHL should be more concerned with butt-ending, spearing, and three-hour hockey games than getting rid of 4-on-4 situations." It wasn't until 1993, with the Oiler dynasty (five cups in seven years) a thing of the past, that the NHL reverted to the original 4-on-4 rules.

Regular season

The Edmonton Oilers once again regained control of top spot in the NHL and were awarded with the Presidents' Trophy -- the first time the trophy had been awarded for the best record -- while last year's best team, the Philadelphia Flyers slipped to second. The Flyers continued their dominance of the Wales Conference despite the death of their Vezina-winning goaltender, Pelle Lindbergh, in a car accident on November 11. Edmonton's Wayne Gretzky won his seventh straight Hart Memorial Trophy and his sixth straight Art Ross Trophy. This season saw Gretzky score 52 goals, and set records of 163 assists and 215 points. This was the fourth time in five years that Gretzky reached the 200 point plateau; no other player has reached 200 point mark, although Mario Lemieux would garner 199 points in 76 games in 1988–89. Edmonton's defenceman Paul Coffey broke Bobby Orr's record of 46 goals for most goals in a season by a defenceman by scoring 48 times.

Final standings

Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF= Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points, PIM = Penalty Minutes

Prince of Wales Conference

Adams Division
Quebec Nordiques804331633028992
Montreal Canadiens804033733028087
Boston Bruins8037311231128886
Hartford Whalers804036433230284
Buffalo Sabres803737629629180


Patrick Division
  GP W L T GF GA Pts
Philadelphia Flyers8053234335241110
Washington Capitals8050237315272107
New York Islanders8039291232728490
New York Rangers803638628027678
Pittsburgh Penguins803438831330576
New Jersey Devils802849330037459


Clarence Campbell Conference

Norris Division
Chicago Black Hawks803933835134986
Minnesota North Stars803833932730585
St. Louis Blues803734930229183
Toronto Maple Leafs802548731138657
Detroit Red Wings801757626641540


Smythe Division[1]
Edmonton Oilers8056177426310119
Calgary Flames804031935431589
Winnipeg Jets802647729537259
Vancouver Canucks8023441328233359
Los Angeles Kings802349828438954


The playoffs of 1986 saw three first place teams eliminated in the opening round and the fourth, Edmonton, bowed out in the second.

The Montreal Canadiens decided to go with a rookie goaltender by the name of Patrick Roy. This decision proved to be a good one just like when the Canadiens rode rookie goalie Ken Dryden to a Stanley Cup championship in 1971. In the Final, the Canadiens beat the Calgary Flames, who were also riding a rookie netminder, Mike Vernon. Patrick Roy won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP and had a sparkling 1.92 goals against average along with 15 wins.

The 1986 Stanley Cup playoffs are the last time to date (as of 2019) that all active Canadian teams have qualified in the same season. It is also the second time that all seven active teams at the time qualified, the first occurring three years earlier. Also, the Hartford Whalers won their only playoff series during their tenure in Hartford against the Quebec Nordiques.

Playoff bracket

  Division Semifinals Division Finals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals
A1 Quebec 0  
A4 Hartford 3  
  A4 Hartford 3  
  A2 Montreal 4  
A2 Montreal 3
A3 Boston 0  
  A2 Montreal 4  
Prince of Wales Conference
  P4 NY Rangers 1  
P1 Philadelphia 2  
P4 NY Rangers 3  
  P4 NY Rangers 4
  P2 Washington 2  
P2 Washington 3
P3 NY Islanders 0  
  A2 Montreal 4
  S2 Calgary 1
N1 Chicago 0  
N4 Toronto 3  
  N4 Toronto 3
  N3 St. Louis 4  
N2 Minnesota 2
N3 St. Louis 3  
  N3 St. Louis 3
Clarence Campbell Conference
  S2 Calgary 4  
S1 Edmonton 3  
S4 Vancouver 0  
  S1 Edmonton 3
  S2 Calgary 4  
S2 Calgary 3
S3 Winnipeg 0  

Stanley Cup Finals

Montreal won series 4–1


1986 NHL awards
Presidents' Trophy:
Team with most points, regular season
Edmonton Oilers
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Wales Conference champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(Campbell Conference champion)
Calgary Flames
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer, regular season)
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:
(Perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication)
Charlie Simmer, Boston Bruins
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Gary Suter, Calgary Flames
Conn Smythe Trophy:
(Most valuable player, playoffs)
Patrick Roy, Montreal Canadiens
Frank J. Selke Trophy:
(Best defensive forward)
Troy Murray, Chicago Black Hawks
Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player, regular season)
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Jack Adams Award:
(Best coach)
Glen Sather, Edmonton Oilers
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Paul Coffey, Edmonton Oilers
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Mike Bossy, New York Islanders
Lester B. Pearson Award:
(Outstanding player, regular season)
Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL Plus/Minus Award:
(Player with best plus/minus record)
Mark Howe, Philadelphia Flyers
William M. Jennings Trophy:
(Goaltender(s) of team(s) with best goaltending record)
Bob Froese/Darren Jensen, Philadelphia Flyers
Vezina Trophy:
(Best goaltender)
John Vanbiesbrouck, New York Rangers
Lester Patrick Trophy:
(Service to hockey in the U.S.)
John MacInnes, Jack Riley

All-Star teams

First Team  Position  Second Team
John Vanbiesbrouck, New York Rangers G Bob Froese, Philadelphia Flyers
Paul Coffey, Edmonton Oilers D Larry Robinson, Montreal Canadiens
Mark Howe, Philadelphia Flyers D Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers C Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
Mike Bossy, New York Islanders RW Jari Kurri, Edmonton Oilers
Michel Goulet, Quebec Nordiques LW Mats Naslund, Montreal Canadiens

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Player Team GP G A Pts
Wayne GretzkyEdmonton Oilers8052163215
Mario LemieuxPittsburgh Penguins794893141
Paul CoffeyEdmonton Oilers794890138
Jari KurriEdmonton Oilers786863131
Mike BossyNew York Islanders806162123
Peter StastnyQuebec Nordiques764181122
Denis SavardChicago Black Hawks804769116
Mats NaslundMontreal Canadiens804367110
Dale HawerchukWinnipeg Jets804659105
Neal BrotenMinnesota North Stars802976105

Source: NHL[2]

Leading goaltenders

Player Team GP MIN GA SO GAA
Bob FroesePhiladelphia Flyers51272811652.55
Al JensenWashington Capitals44243712923.18
Clint MalarchukQuebec Nordiques46265714243.21
Kelly HrudeyNew York Islanders45256313713.21
John VanbiesbrouckNew York Rangers61332618433.32
Patrick RoyMontreal Canadiens47265114813.35
Pat RigginWashington Capitals / Boston Bruins46264115013.41
Rick WamsleySt. Louis Blues42251714413.43
Pete PeetersBoston Bruins / Washington Capitals42250614413.45
Don BeaupreMinnesota North Stars52307318213.55

Source: NHL[2]


Patrick Division

Adams Division

Norris Division

Smythe Division



The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1985–86 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1985–86 (listed with their last team):

Trading deadline

See also


  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, New York: Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto: 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, Illinois: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
  1. Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 153. ISBN 9781894801225.
  2. Dinger 2011.
  3. NHL trade deadline: Deals since 1980 | Habs Inside/Out Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine
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