1993–94 NHL season
The 1993–94 NHL season was the 77th regular season of the National Hockey League. The league expanded to 26 teams with the addition of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Florida Panthers. The New York Rangers were the Stanley Cup champions. It was the Rangers' fourth championship overall, and their first in 54 seasons, since 1939–40.
|1993–94 NHL season|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 5, 1993 – June 14, 1994|
|Number of games||84|
|Number of teams||26|
|Top draft pick||Alexandre Daigle|
|Picked by||Ottawa Senators|
|Presidents' Trophy||New York Rangers|
|Season MVP||Sergei Fedorov (Red Wings)|
|Top scorer||Wayne Gretzky (Kings)|
|Eastern champions||New York Rangers|
|Eastern runners-up||New Jersey Devils|
|Western champions||Vancouver Canucks|
|Western runners-up||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Playoffs MVP||Brian Leetch (Rangers)|
|Champions||New York Rangers|
The spectacular play of Dominik Hasek of the Buffalo Sabres ushered in a new era of goaltending dominance in the NHL. Only three teams reached the 300-goal plateau, and only one team, the Detroit Red Wings, averaged more than four goals scored per game. Goaltenders combined for 99 shutouts during the regular season, a mark that broke the all-time regular-season record of 85 set in 1974–75.
For this season, the names of the conferences were changed from Campbell and Wales to Western and Eastern respectively, and the divisions' names were changed from Adams, Patrick, Norris, and Smythe to Northeast, Atlantic, Central, and Pacific respectively. Each division had changes. The Northeast Division would welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins, previously from the Patrick Division. The Atlantic Division would welcome the newcomer Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, previously from the Norris Division. The Central Division would welcome the Winnipeg Jets, previously from the Smythe Division. The Pacific Division would welcome the newcomer Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. New league commissioner Gary Bettman, who had previously worked in the National Basketball Association (NBA), thought the old names could be confusing to non-traditional fans and believed that a change to geographically-named divisions, as used in the NBA and most other North American professional sports, would be more easily understandable to new fans.
In addition, the playoff format was changed to a conference based seeding over division specific brackets: the division winners were seeded one-two by order of point finish, then the top six remaining teams in the conference were seeded three through eight. However, unlike the NBA, the NHL matched the highest-seeded winners against the lowest-seeded winners in the second round. In order to reduce the number of long trips to and from the West Coast, whenever a Central Division team played a Pacific Division team in the playoffs, the format was 2–3–2 rather than the traditional 2–2–1–1–1, a format that was only used for the 1993–94 season.
- The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Florida Panthers started play this season.
- The Minnesota North Stars relocated to Dallas, Texas to become the Dallas Stars. It was the first franchise relocation for the NHL since the Colorado Rockies became the New Jersey Devils in 1982–83.
- This was the first season that the San Jose Sharks actually played in San Jose, moving into the new San Jose Arena after spending their first two years at the Cow Palace in nearby Daly City.
- It was the final season that the St. Louis Blues played at the St. Louis Arena and the Chicago Blackhawks played at Chicago Stadium.
The Panthers and Mighty Ducks set new records for first-year expansion teams. Both teams finished with 33 wins, surpassing the 31 wins of the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings in 1967–68. That mark would not be topped by another expansion team until the Vegas Golden Knights notched their 34th win in their inaugural season on February 1, 2018, finishing with 51 wins. The Panthers also set a high-water mark in points, with 83 points, surpassing the previous record set by the Flyers' 73 points in 1968. The Golden Knights would eventually shatter this inaugural expansion team record by 26 points notching a total of 109 points in 2017-18.
The division first-place finishers qualify for the playoffs as 1-2 seeding. The next six per conference are the teams with the six best records of the non-division winners.
bold – Qualified for playoffs; x – Won division; p – Won Presidents' Trophy (and division); * – Division leader
|1||y- Detroit Red Wings *||CEN||84||46||30||8||356||275||100|
|2||x- Calgary Flames *||PAC||84||42||29||13||302||256||97|
|3||Toronto Maple Leafs||CEN||84||43||29||12||280||243||98|
|5||St. Louis Blues||CEN||84||40||33||11||270||283||91|
|8||San Jose Sharks||PAC||84||33||35||16||252||265||82|
|9||Mighty Ducks of Anaheim||PAC||84||33||46||5||229||251||71|
|10||Los Angeles Kings||PAC||84||27||45||12||294||322||66|
Divisions: CEN – Central, PAC – Pacific
bold – Qualified for playoffs; x – Won division; y – Won Conference (and division); * – Division leader
No = Division rank, CR = Conference rank, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.
For the first time, all four former WHA teams (Edmonton, Hartford, Quebec, and Winnipeg) failed to make the playoffs in the same season.
The Final pitted the New York Rangers, seeking to win their first Cup since 1940, versus the Vancouver Canucks, looking for their first-ever Cup win. The series was hard-fought and went the full seven games. The Rangers took a 3–1 series lead, but the Canucks won the next two to force a game seven in New York. The Rangers won the game 3–2 to win their fourth Stanley Cup.
|Conference Quarterfinals||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||Stanley Cup Finals|
|1||NY Rangers||4||1||NY Rangers||4|
|(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)|
|8||San Jose||4||8||San Jose||3|
- During the first three rounds home ice is determined by seeding number, not position on the bracket. In the Finals the team with the better regular season record has home ice.
The NHL awards presentation took place on June 16, 1994.
|Wayne Gretzky||Los Angeles||81||38||92||130|
|Brendan Shanahan||St. Louis||81||52||50||102|
|Martin Brodeur||New Jersey||47||2625||105||3||2.40|
|Mike Richter||New York Rangers||68||3710||159||5||2.57|
|Daren Puppa||Tampa Bay||63||3653||165||4||2.71|
|Chris Terreri||New Jersey||44||2340||106||2||2.72|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1993–94 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Mariusz Czerkawski, Boston Bruins
- Chris Osgood, Detroit Red Wings
- Darren McCarty, Detroit Red Wings
- Greg Johnson, Detroit Red Wings
- Jason Arnott, Edmonton Oilers
- Kirk Maltby, Edmonton Oilers
- Rob Niedermayer, Florida Panthers
- Chris Pronger, Hartford Whalers
- Donald Brashear, Montreal Canadiens
- Jason Smith, New Jersey Devils
- Zigmund Palffy, New York Islanders
- Mattias Norstrom, New York Rangers
- Todd Marchant, New York Rangers
- Alexandre Daigle, Ottawa Senators
- Alexei Yashin, Ottawa Senators
- Pavol Demitra, Ottawa Senators
- Mikael Renberg, Philadelphia Flyers
- Markus Naslund, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Jocelyn Thibault, Quebec Nordiques
- Ian Laperriere, St. Louis Blues
- Chris Gratton, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Yanic Perreault, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Michael Peca, Vancouver Canucks
- Pat Peake, Washington Capitals
- Jason Allison, Washington Capitals
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1993–94 (listed with their last team):
- Gordie Roberts, Boston Bruins
- Dave Christian, Chicago Blackhawks
- Michel Goulet, Chicago Blackhawks
- Mike Foligno, Florida Panthers
- Mike McPhee, Dallas Stars
- Brian Propp, Hartford Whalers
- Dave Taylor, Los Angeles Kings
- Mark Hardy, Los Angeles Kings
- Keith Acton, New York Islanders
- Rob Ramage, Philadelphia Flyers
- Bryan Trottier, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Brian Curran, Washington Capitals
- March 19, 1994: Donald Dufresne traded from Tampa Bay to Los Angeles for Los Angeles's sixth round pick in 1994 Entry Draft.
- March 19, 1994: Jeff Daniels traded from Pittsburgh to Florida for Greg Hawgood.
- March 19, 1994: Doug Zmolek and Mike Lalor traded from San Jose to Dallas for Ulf Dahlen.
- March 21, 1994: Joe Juneau traded from Boston to Washington for Al Iafrate.
- March 21, 1994: Craig Janney traded from Vancouver to St. Louis for Jeff Brown, Bret Hedican and Nathan Lafayette.
- March 21, 1994: Jim Johnson traded from Dallas to Washington for Alan May and Washington's seventh round pick in 1995 Entry Draft.
- March 21, 1994: Joe Reekie traded from Tampa Bay to Washington for Enrico Ciccone and Washington's third round pick in 1994 Entry Draft and a conditional draft pick.
- March 21, 1994: Steve Konroyd traded from Detroit to Ottawa for Daniel Berthiaume.
- March 21, 1994: Phil Bourque traded from NY Rangers to Ottawa for future considerations.
- March 21, 1994: Tony Amonte and the rights to Matt Oates traded from NY Rangers to Chicago for Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan.
- March 21, 1994: Peter Andersson traded from NY Rangers to Florida for future considerations.
- March 21, 1994: Robert Dirk traded from Vancouver to Chicago for Chicago's fourth round pick in 1994 Entry Draft.
- March 21, 1994: Mike Gartner traded from NY Rangers to Toronto for Glenn Anderson, the rights to Scott Malone and Toronto's fourth round pick in 1994 Entry Draft.
- March 21, 1994: Craig MacTavish traded from Edmonton to NY Rangers for Todd Marchant.
- March 21, 1994: Paul Ysebaert traded from Winnipeg to Chicago for Chicago's third round pick in 1995 Entry Draft.
- March 21, 1994: Alexei Kasatonov traded from Anaheim to St. Louis for Maxim Bets and St. Louis' sixth round pick in 1995 Entry Draft.
- March 21, 1994: Mike Needham traded from Pittsburgh to Dallas for Jim McKenzie.
- March 21, 1994: Kevin Todd traded from Chicago to Los Angeles for Los Angeles's fourth round pick in the 1994 Entry Draft.
- March 21, 1994: Pelle Eklund traded from Philadelphia to Dallas for future considerations.
- March 21, 1994: Roy Mitchell and Reid Simpson traded from Dallas to New Jersey for future considerations.
- March 21, 1994: Steve Passmore traded from Quebec to Edmonton for Brad Werenka.
Neutral site games
As a part of the 1992 strike settlement, the NHL and Bruce McNall's Multivision Marketing and Public Relations Co. organized 26 regular season games in cities without a franchise as a litmus test for future expansion.
The Stars played a neutral-site game in their previous market of Minnesota at the Target Center in Minneapolis, where they were greeted enthusiastically. The Minnesota North Stars' tradition of playing on New Year's Eve and holding a post-game skate on the ice was also continued with a game between the Flyers and Bruins.
The Lightning vs. Red Wings contest in Minneapolis was scheduled for Martin Luther King Day, a Monday, necessitating an afternoon face-off at 2:05 PM. However, due to an error on the NHL's part, the Lightning believed themselves to be playing at 7:35 PM, an error that was only discovered two weeks prior to the game by reporters. The Lightning ended up playing an 8:05 PM game in Winnipeg, flying back to the U.S., and playing again 18 hours later in Minneapolis.
The Panthers, in the midst of a playoff race, played a March "home" game against the Maple Leafs 30 miles from Toronto, at Hamilton.
Complete list of neutral-site games
|Date||Winning Team||Score||Losing Team||Score||OT||City||State/Province||Arena||Attendance|
|October 21, 1993||St. Louis||5||San Jose||2||Sacramento||CA||ARCO Arena||7,144|
|October 31, 1993||NY Rangers||4||New Jersey||1||Halifax||NS||Halifax Metro Centre||8,200|
|November 3, 1993||Pittsburgh||6||Buffalo||2||Sacramento||CA||ARCO Arena||10,117|
|November 9, 1993||Anaheim||4||Dallas||2||Phoenix||AZ||America West Arena||8,143|
|November 18, 1993||NY Islanders||5||Montréal||1||Hamilton||ON||Copps Coliseum||17,008|
|December 9, 1993||Dallas||6||Ottawa||1||Minneapolis||MN||Target Center||14,058|
|December 23, 1993||Vancouver||4||Calgary||3||Saskatoon||SK||Saskatchewan Place||11,429*|
|December 31, 1993||Philadelphia||4||Boston||3||Minneapolis||MN||Target Center||10,855|
|January 4, 1994||Tampa Bay||1||Toronto||0||Hamilton||ON||Copps Coliseum||17,526*|
|January 5, 1994||Montréal||2||Québec||0||Phoenix||AZ||America West Arena||11,393|
|January 6, 1994||St. Louis||2||Hartford||1||Cleveland||OH||Richfield Coliseum||6,956|
|January 17, 1994||Detroit||6||Tampa Bay||3||Minneapolis||MN||Target Center||8,764|
|January 23, 1994||Vancouver||5||Edmonton||4||(OT)||Saskatoon||SK||Saskatchewan Place||N/A|
|January 24, 1994||Calgary||3||Los Angeles||3||(OT)||Phoenix||AZ||America West Arena||14,864|
|February 2, 1994||Washington||5||Philadelphia||2||Cleveland||OH||Richfield Coliseum||8,312|
|February 8, 1994||San Jose||4||Chicago||3||Sacramento||CA||ARCO Arena||14,182*|
|February 22, 1994||Florida||3||Winnipeg||2||Hamilton||ON||Copps Coliseum||6,291|
|February 24, 1994||Detroit||3||Hartford||0||Cleveland||OH||Richfield Coliseum||11,621|
|March 4, 1994||Winnipeg||6||Ottawa||1||Minneapolis||MN||Target Center||6,388|
|March 8, 1994||Chicago||3||Anaheim||0||Phoenix||AZ||America West Arena||13,847|
|March 9, 1994||NY Rangers||7||Washington||5||Halifax||NS||Halifax Metro Centre||9,200*|
|March 18, 1994||Buffalo||2||NY Islanders||2||(OT)||Minneapolis||MN||Target Center||8,016|
|March 23, 1994||Florida||1||Toronto||1||(OT)||Hamilton||ON||Copps Coliseum||17,096*|
|March 27, 1994||New Jersey||5||Quebec||2||Minneapolis||MN||Target Center||6,222|
|April 3, 1994||Pittsburgh||6||Boston||2||Cleveland||OH||Richfield Coliseum||17,224|
|April 3, 1994||Los Angeles||6||Edmonton||1||Sacramento||CA||ARCO Arena||10,363|
|Boston Bruins||Brian Sutter|
|Buffalo Sabres||John Muckler|
|Florida Panthers||Roger Neilson|
|Hartford Whalers||Pierre McGuire||Replaced midseason by Paul Holmgren|
|Montreal Canadiens||Jacques Demers|
|New Jersey Devils||Jacques Lemaire|
|New York Islanders||Al Arbour|
|New York Rangers||Mike Keenan|
|Ottawa Senators||Rick Bowness|
|Philadelphia Flyers||Terry Simpson|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||Eddie Johnston|
|Quebec Nordiques||Pierre Page|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||Terry Crisp|
|Washington Capitals||Terry Murray||Replaced late in the season by Jim Schoenfeld|
|Mighty Ducks of Anaheim||Ron Wilson|
|Calgary Flames||Dave King|
|Chicago Blackhawks||Darryl Sutter|
|Dallas Stars||Bob Gainey|
|Detroit Red Wings||Scotty Bowman|
|Edmonton Oilers||Ted Green||Replaced early in the season by Glen Sather|
|Los Angeles Kings||Barry Melrose|
|St. Louis Blues||Bob Berry|
|San Jose Sharks||Kevin Constantine|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||Pat Burns|
|Vancouver Canucks||Pat Quinn|
|Winnipeg Jets||John Paddock|
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- NHL trade deadline: Deals since 1980 | Habs Inside/Out Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine