1990–91 NHL season

The 1990–91 NHL season was the 74th season of the National Hockey League. The Stanley Cup winners were the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the best of seven series 4–2 against the Minnesota North Stars. This was the last NHL season to end in May.

1990–91 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 4, 1990 – May 25, 1991
Number of games80
Number of teams21
Top draft pickOwen Nolan
Picked byQuebec Nordiques
Regular season
Presidents' TrophyChicago Blackhawks
Season MVPBrett Hull (Blues)
Top scorerWayne Gretzky (Kings)
Eastern championsPittsburgh Penguins
  Eastern runners-upBoston Bruins
Western championsMinnesota North Stars
  Western runners-upEdmonton Oilers
Playoffs MVPMario Lemieux (Penguins)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsPittsburgh Penguins
  Runners-upMinnesota North Stars

League business

At meetings in Florida on December 6, 1990, the NHL Board of Governors awarded provisional franchises to groups from Ottawa and Tampa. The Ottawa franchise marked a return to one of the original cities of the NHL, while Tampa meant the first franchise in the sunbelt state of Florida. In a later book published by NHL president Gil Stein, Stein revealed that the two groups were the only ones of the applicants who agreed to the $50 million expansion fee without question.[1] The Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning began play in the 1992–93 season.

Regular season

Final standings

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF= Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points

Wales Conference
Adams Division
Boston Bruins80442412299264100
Montreal Canadiens8039301127324989
Buffalo Sabres8031301929227881
Hartford Whalers8031381123827673
Quebec Nordiques8016501423635446


Patrick Division
Pittsburgh Penguins804133634230588
New York Rangers8036311329726585
Washington Capitals803736725825881
New Jersey Devils8032331527226479
Philadelphia Flyers8033371025226776
New York Islanders8025451022329060


Wales Conference[3]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1Boston BruinsADM80442412299264100
2Montreal CanadiensADM8039301127324989
3Pittsburgh PenguinsPTK804133634230588
4New York RangersPTK8036311329726585
5Washington CapitalsPTK803736725825881
6Buffalo SabresADM8031301929227881
7New Jersey DevilsPTK8032331527226479
8Philadelphia FlyersPTK8033371025226776
9Hartford WhalersADM8031381123827673
10New York IslandersPTK8025451022329060
11Quebec NordiquesADM8016501423635446

Divisions: PTK – Patrick, ADM – Adams

bold – Qualified for playoffs

Campbell Conference
Norris Division
Chicago Blackhawks8049238284211106
St. Louis Blues80472211310250105
Detroit Red Wings803438827329876
Minnesota North Stars8027391425626668
Toronto Maple Leafs8023461124131857


Smythe Division
Los Angeles Kings80462410340254102
Calgary Flames8046268344263100
Edmonton Oilers803737627227280
Vancouver Canucks802843924331565
Winnipeg Jets8026431126028863


Campbell Conference[4]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1p – Chicago BlackhawksNRS8049238284211106
2St. Louis BluesNRS80472211310250105
3Los Angeles KingsSMY80462410340254102
4Calgary FlamesSMY8046268344263100
5Edmonton OilersSMY803737627227280
6Detroit Red WingsNRS803438827329876
7Minnesota North StarsNRS8027391425626668
8Vancouver CanucksSMY802843924331565
9Winnipeg JetsSMY8026431126028863
10Toronto Maple LeafsNRS8023461124131857

Divisions: NRS – Norris, SMY – Smythe

bold – Qualified for playoffs; p – Won Presidents' Trophy


Playoff bracket

  Division Semifinals Division Finals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals
A1 Boston 4  
A4 Hartford 2  
  A1 Boston 4  
  A2 Montreal 3  
A2 Montreal 4
A3 Buffalo 2  
  A1 Boston 2  
Prince of Wales Conference
  P1 Pittsburgh 4  
P1 Pittsburgh 4  
P4 New Jersey 3  
  P1 Pittsburgh 4
  P3 Washington 1  
P2 NY Rangers 2
P3 Washington 4  
  P1 Pittsburgh 4
  N4 Minnesota 2
N1 Chicago 2  
N4 Minnesota 4  
  N4 Minnesota 4
  N2 St. Louis 2  
N2 St. Louis 4
N3 Detroit 3  
  N4 Minnesota 4
Clarence Campbell Conference
  S3 Edmonton 1  
S1 Los Angeles 4  
S4 Vancouver 2  
  S1 Los Angeles 2
  S3 Edmonton 4  
S2 Calgary 3
S3 Edmonton 4  

The North Stars defeated the Edmonton Oilers to become the first Norris Division team to appear in the Stanley Cup Finals since the 1981 realignment. At the time a record of 92 playoff games were played, and for the first time since the 1973 playoffs, no team was swept in a playoff series.

Stanley Cup Finals

Pittsburgh won series 4–2


Presidents' Trophy:Chicago Blackhawks
Prince of Wales Trophy:Pittsburgh Penguins
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:Minnesota North Stars
Art Ross Trophy:Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:Dave Taylor, Los Angeles Kings
Calder Memorial Trophy:Ed Belfour, Chicago Blackhawks
Conn Smythe Trophy:Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
Frank J. Selke Trophy:Dirk Graham, Chicago Blackhawks
Hart Memorial Trophy:Brett Hull, St. Louis Blues
Jack Adams Award:Brian Sutter, St. Louis Blues
James Norris Memorial Trophy:Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
King Clancy Memorial Trophy:Dave Taylor, Los Angeles Kings
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings
Lester B. Pearson Award:Brett Hull, St. Louis Blues
NHL Plus/Minus Award:Marty McSorley, Los Angeles Kings & Theo Fleury, Calgary Flames
Vezina Trophy:Ed Belfour, Chicago Blackhawks
William M. Jennings Trophy:Ed Belfour, Chicago Blackhawks
Lester Patrick Trophy:Rod Gilbert, Mike Ilitch

All-Star teams

First Team  Position  Second Team
Ed Belfour, Chicago Blackhawks G Patrick Roy, Montreal Canadiens
Chris Chelios, Chicago Blackhawks D Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
Al MacInnis, Calgary Flames D Paul Coffey, Pittsburgh Penguins
Wayne Gretzky, Los Angeles Kings C Adam Oates, St. Louis Blues
Brett Hull, St. Louis Blues RW Cam Neely, Boston Bruins
Luc Robitaille, Los Angeles Kings LW Kevin Stevens, Pittsburgh Penguins

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes, PPG = Powerplay goals, SHG = Shorthanded goals, GWG = Game winning goals

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM +/- PPG SHG GWG
Wayne GretzkyLos Angeles Kings784112216316+30805
Brett HullSt. Louis Blues78864513122+2329011
Adam OatesSt. Louis Blues61259011529+15313
Mark RecchiPittsburgh Penguins7840731134801209
John CullenPittsburgh Penguins/Hartford Whalers783971110101-61403
Joe SakicQuebec Nordiques80486110924-261237
Steve YzermanDetroit Red Wings80515710834-21264
Theoren FleuryCalgary Flames795153104136+48979
Al MacInnisCalgary Flames78287510390+421701
Steve LarmerChicago Blackhawks80445710179+371729


Leading goaltenders

GP = Games played; Min = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts; GAA = Goals against average

Player Team GP Min W L T SO GAA
Ed BelfourChicago Blackhawks7441274319742.47
Tim CheveldaeDetroit Red Wings6536153026523.55
Bill RanfordEdmonton Oilers6034152727303.2
Ron TugnuttQuebec Nordiques56314412291004.05
Peter IngToronto Maple Leafs5631261629813.84
Jon CaseyMinnesota North Stars55318521201132.98
Bob EssensaWinnipeg Jets5529161924643.15
Mike VernonCalgary Flames5431213119313.31
Glenn HealyNew York Islanders5329991824903.32
Chris TerreriNew Jersey Devils5329702421712.91


Patrick Division

Adams Division

Norris Division

Smythe Division



The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1990–91 (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 1990–91 (listed with their last team):

Trading deadline

  • Trading Deadline: March 5, 1991[5]
  • March 4, 1991: Ron Francis, Grant Jennings, and Ulf Samuelsson traded from Hartford to Pittsburgh for John Cullen, Jeff Parker, and Zarley Zalapski.
  • March 5, 1991: Allan Bester traded from Toronto to Detroit for Detroit's sixth round pick in 1991 Entry Draft.
  • March 5, 1991: Geoff Courtnall, Robert Dirk, Sergio Momesso, Cliff Ronning, and future considerations traded from St. Louis to Vancouver for Dan Quinn and Garth Butcher.
  • March 5, 1991: Mark Hunter traded from Calgary to Hartford for Carey Wilson.
  • March 5, 1991: Mark Pederson traded from Montreal to Philadelphia for Philadelphia's second round pick in 1991 Entry Draft and future considerations.
  • March 5, 1991: Keith Osborne traded from St. Louis to Toronto for Darren Veitch and future considerations.
  • March 5, 1991: Ken Priestlay traded from Buffalo to Pittsburgh for Tony Tanti.
  • March 5, 1991: Dana Murzyn traded from Calgary to Vancouver for Ron Stern, Kevan Guy and future considerations.
  • March 5, 1991: Kim Issel traded from Edmonton to Pittsburgh for Brad Aitken.
  • March 5, 1991: Steve Weeks traded from Vancouver to Buffalo for future considerations.
  • March 5, 1991: Marc Bureau traded from Calgary to Minnesota for Minnesota's third round choice in 1991 Entry Draft.
  • March 5, 1991: Joey Kocur and Per Djoos traded from Detroit to NY Rangers for Kevin Miller, Jim Cummins, and Dennis Vial.
  • March 5, 1991: Bobby Reynolds traded from Toronto to Washington for Robert Mendel.
  • March 5, 1991: Mike McNeill and Ryan McGill traded from Chicago to Quebec for Paul Gillis and Daniel Vincelette.
  • March 5, 1991: Ilkka Sinisalo traded from Minnesota to Los Angeles for Los Angeles' eighth round choice in 1991 Entry Draft.


See also


  • 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. Stein, Gil (1997). Power Play: An Inside Look at the Big Business of the National Hockey League. Birch Lane Press.
  2. Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 153. ISBN 9781894801225.
  3. "1990–1991 Conference Standings". National Hockey League. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  4. "1990-1991 Conference Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". NHL.
  5. NHL trade deadline: Deals since 1980 | Habs Inside/Out Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine
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