1991–92 NHL season
The 1991–92 NHL season was the 75th regular season of the National Hockey League. The league expanded to 22 teams with the addition of the expansion San Jose Sharks. For the first time, the Stanley Cup Finals extended into June, with the Pittsburgh Penguins repeating as Stanley Cup champions, winning the best of seven series four games to none against the Chicago Blackhawks.
|1991–92 NHL season|
The NHL 75th anniversary logo
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 3, 1991 – June 1, 1992|
|Number of games||80|
|Number of teams||22|
|Top draft pick||Eric Lindros|
|Picked by||Quebec Nordiques|
|Presidents' Trophy||New York Rangers|
|Season MVP||Mark Messier (Rangers)|
|Top scorer||Mario Lemieux (Penguins)|
|Eastern champions||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Eastern runners-up||Boston Bruins|
|Western champions||Chicago Blackhawks|
|Western runners-up||Edmonton Oilers|
|Playoffs MVP||Mario Lemieux (Penguins)|
This was the first season for the San Jose Sharks, the first expansion team in the NHL since 1979. The birth of the Sharks returned NHL hockey to the San Francisco Bay Area after the California Golden Seals had relocated to Cleveland, Ohio in 1976.
This was also the last season for John Ziegler as NHL president. He would be succeeded by Gil Stein, who held the position for one year before being replaced by newly named commissioner Gary Bettman, during and after the 1992–93 season. After Stein's departure, the league presidency was merged into the new office of commissioner.
A new rule was added in which the final minute of every period is measured in tenths of a second, unlike whole seconds as in past seasons. This timekeeping procedure matches that of the IIHF, which began doing so in 1990.
75th season celebration
To celebrate the 75th anniversary season for the NHL, all players wore a special anniversary patch on their uniforms during this season.
Taking cues from Major League Baseball's "Turn Back The Clock" uniform program, throwback uniforms were worn by Original Six teams for select games, and throwbacks were also worn for the All-Star Game.
The uniform styles that were worn include:
- Boston Bruins – c. 1933
- Chicago Blackhawks – c. 1940
- Detroit Red Wings – c. 1928
- Montreal Canadiens – c. 1926
- New York Rangers – c. 1940
- Toronto Maple Leafs – c. 1940
- Wales All-Stars – white All-Star jersey c. 1952
- Campbell All-Stars – red All-Star jersey c. 1952
The throwback uniforms would influence future seasons in the NHL, as several teams adopted throwbacks as alternate jerseys. The National Football League and National Basketball Association would follow the NHL's lead, with teams wearing throwbacks to celebrate their leagues' 75th and 50th anniversaries, respectively.
New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch became the fifth, and last as of 2018, defenseman to score 100 points in a season. He finished the season with 102 points and captured the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league's best defenseman. The Rangers ended the season with 105 points, winning the Presidents' Trophy as the top regular-season team in the NHL. It was the first time the Rangers had topped the league since 1942.
For the first time, the NHL finished play in the month of June. A primary reason for this was the 10-day NHL strike, the first work stoppage in league history, that started on April 1. The games that were supposed to be played during the strike were not canceled, but rescheduled and made up when play resumed on April 12.
For the first time in his NHL career, Wayne Gretzky failed to finish in the top two in scoring. The Pittsburgh Penguins' Kevin Stevens became only the third person in NHL history to outscore Gretzky in the regular season (Marcel Dionne tied Gretzky in Wayne's rookie year, but had more goals, and Mario Lemieux won the Art Ross Trophy over Gretzky in 1988 and 1989).
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF= Goals For, GA = Goals Against
|1||P - New York Rangers||80||50||25||5||321||246||105|
|4||New Jersey Devils||80||38||31||11||289||259||87|
|5||New York Islanders||80||34||35||11||291||299||79|
P - Clinched Presidents Trophy
|1||p – New York Rangers||PAT||80||50||25||5||321||246||105|
|5||New Jersey Devils||PAT||80||38||31||11||289||259||87|
|7||New York Islanders||PAT||80||34||35||11||291||299||79|
Divisions: ADM – Adams, PAT – Patrick
p – Clinched Presidents' Trophy
bold – Qualified for playoffs
|1||Detroit Red Wings||80||43||25||12||320||256||98|
|3||St. Louis Blues||80||36||33||11||279||266||83|
|4||Minnesota North Stars||80||32||42||6||246||278||70|
|5||Toronto Maple Leafs||80||30||43||7||234||294||67|
|2||Los Angeles Kings||80||35||31||14||287||250||84|
|6||San Jose Sharks||80||17||58||5||219||359||39|
|1||Detroit Red Wings||NRS||80||43||25||12||320||256||98|
|4||Los Angeles Kings||SMY||80||35||31||14||287||296||84|
|5||St. Louis Blues||NRS||80||36||33||11||279||266||83|
|9||Minnesota North Stars||NRS||80||32||42||6||246||278||70|
|10||Toronto Maple Leafs||NRS||80||30||43||7||234||294||67|
|11||San Jose Sharks||SMY||80||17||58||5||219||359||39|
Divisions: NRS – Norris, SMY – Smythe
bold – Qualified for playoffs
|Division Semifinals||Division Finals||Conference Finals||Stanley Cup Finals|
|Prince of Wales Conference|
|Clarence Campbell Conference|
Stanley Cup Finals
The series was held between the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the Clarence Campbell Conference champion Chicago Blackhawks. The Penguins won in four games, three out of four won by a one-goal margin. Mario Lemieux of Pittsburgh won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' MVP.
|May 26||Chicago Blackhawks||4–5||Pittsburgh Penguins||Civic Arena|
|May 28||Chicago Blackhawks||1–3||Pittsburgh Penguins||Civic Arena|
|May 30||Pittsburgh Penguins||1–0||Chicago Blackhawks||Chicago Stadium|
|June 1||Pittsburgh Penguins||6–5||Chicago Blackhawks||Chicago Stadium|
|Pittsburgh won series 4–0|
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Wayne Gretzky||Los Angeles||74||31||90||121|
|Brett Hull||St. Louis||73||70||39||109|
|Luc Robitaille||Los Angeles||80||44||63||107|
|Mark Messier||NY Rangers||79||35||72||107|
|Brian Leetch||NY Rangers||80||22||80||102|
|Adam Oates||St. Louis/Boston||80||20||79||99|
Note: GP = Games Played; TOI = Time On Ice (minutes); W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GA = Goals Against; SO = Shutouts; Sv% = Save Percentage; GAA = Goals Against Average
|John Vanbiesbrouck||NY Rangers||45||2526||27||13||3||120||2||.910||2.85|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1991–92 (listed with their first team):
- Stu Barnes, Winnipeg Jets
- Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
- Pavel Bure, Vancouver Canucks
- Keith Carney, Buffalo Sabres
- Evgeny Davydov, Winnipeg Jets
- Ted Donato, Boston Bruins
- Pat Falloon, San Jose Sharks
- Adam Foote, Quebec Nordiques
- Bill Guerin, New Jersey Devils
- Derian Hatcher, Minnesota North Stars
- Bret Hedican, St. Louis Blues
- Arturs Irbe, San Jose Sharks
- Trevor Kidd, Calgary Flames
- Igor Kravchuk, Chicago Blackhawks
- Ray Whitney, San Jose Sharks
- Joe Juneau, Boston Bruins
- Valeri Kamensky, Quebec Nordiques
- Vladimir Konstantinov, Detroit Red Wings
- Vyacheslav Kozlov, Detroit Red Wings
- Martin Lapointe, Detroit Red Wings
- Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
- Shawn McEachern, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Marty McInnis, New York Islanders
- Glen Murray, Boston Bruins
- Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey Devils
- Felix Potvin, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Jozef Stumpel, Boston Bruins
- Darryl Sydor, Los Angeles Kings
- Keith Tkachuk, Winnipeg Jets
- Rob Zamuner, New York Rangers
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1991–92 (listed with their last team):
- Barry Pederson, Boston Bruins
- Rick Vaive, Buffalo Sabres
- Tony Tanti, Buffalo Sabres
- Clint Malarchuk, Buffalo Sabres
- Greg Millen, Detroit Red Wings
- Ilkka Sinisalo, Los Angeles Kings
- Larry Robinson, Los Angeles Kings
- Chris Nilan, Montreal Canadiens
- Patrik Sundstrom, New Jersey Devils
- Rick Green, New York Islanders
- John Tonelli, Quebec Nordiques
- Mark Pavelich, San Jose Sharks
- Ken Linseman, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Mike Bullard, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Randy Gregg, Vancouver Canucks
- Mike Liut, Washington Capitals
- Mario Marois, Winnipeg Jets
- Lucien DeBlois, Winnipeg Jets
- Aaron Broten, Winnipeg Jets
- 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.
- "1991-1992 Division Standings". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- "1991-1992 Conference Standings". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
- "1991-1992 Conference Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". NHL.