1995–96 NHL season

The 1995–96 NHL season was the 79th regular season of the National Hockey League. The Stanley Cup winners were the Colorado Avalanche (formerly the Quebec Nordiques), who, in their first year as the Avalanche, swept the Florida Panthers in the finals, in four games.

1995–96 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 6, 1995 – June 10, 1996
Number of games82
Number of teams26
Top draft pickBryan Berard
Picked byOttawa Senators
Regular season
Presidents' TrophyDetroit Red Wings
Season MVPMario Lemieux (Penguins)
Top scorerMario Lemieux (Penguins)
Eastern championsFlorida Panthers
  Eastern runners-upPittsburgh Penguins
Western championsColorado Avalanche
  Western runners-upDetroit Red Wings
Playoffs MVPJoe Sakic (Avalanche)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsColorado Avalanche
  Runners-upFlorida Panthers

League business

The 1995–96 season was the first season in Denver for the Avalanche, who had relocated from Quebec City where they were previously known as the Quebec Nordiques. Prior to the season, Colorado was assigned to the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. They played at McNichols Arena, the building that the New Jersey Devils played in from 1976 to 1982 when they were known as the Colorado Rockies. The Avs would play in that building until they moved to the Pepsi Center in 1999.

It was also the last season of existence for the original Winnipeg Jets, as they announced that they would be moving from Manitoba to Arizona and become the Phoenix Coyotes at the season's end. The NHL would not return to Manitoba until the Atlanta Thrashers moved there to become the "new" Winnipeg Jets following the 2010–11 season.

This season would mark the last season the Buffalo Sabres would play in the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, the Philadelphia Flyers at the CoreStates Spectrum, the Senators at the Ottawa Civic Centre, and the Canadiens at the Montreal Forum. The Sabres made their new home at the Marine Midland Arena, the Flyers at the CoreStates Center, the Senators at the Corel Centre, and the Canadiens at the Molson Centre. The latter two arenas opened before the end of this season. With the Montreal Forum closed, Maple Leaf Gardens was the last remaining arena from the Original Six era at the time. The Boston Bruins played their first season at Fleet Center after spending the last 67 at the old Boston Garden, and the Vancouver Canucks played their first game at General Motors Place.

During the 1992–93 and 199394 seasons, each team played 84 games (including two neutral site games). Starting in the 1995–96 season, the neutral site games were eliminated, which reduced the regular season to 82 games per team where it remains to this very day.

Regular season

The Detroit Red Wings had a spectacular season, finishing with the second-highest regular-season point total in NHL history (131 points), and setting the NHL record for most wins ever in the regular season (62). However, they fell to the Avalanche in the Western Conference Final, the sixth game of which marked the beginning of the heated Detroit-Colorado rivalry, which would last for years to come. Jaromir Jagr broke the record for assists and points by a right winger in a single season . Mario Lemieux had the NHL's last 150+ point season with 161 points in 70 games. This would be the last season in which at least one player would score at least 60 goals (Jagr and Lemieux) until 2008.[1] The New Jersey Devils became the first team since the 1969–70 Montreal Canadiens to miss the playoffs after winning the Stanley Cup the previous season.

Final standings

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
No. GP W L T GF GA Pts
1Philadelphia Flyers82452413282208103
2New York Rangers8241271427223796
3Florida Panthers8241311025423492
4Washington Capitals8239321123420489
5Tampa Bay Lightning8238321223824888
6New Jersey Devils8237331221520286
7New York Islanders8222501022931554
Northeast Division
1Pittsburgh Penguins8249294362284102
2Boston Bruins8240311128226991
3Montreal Canadiens8240321026524890
4Hartford Whalers823439923725977
5Buffalo Sabres823342724726272
6Ottawa Senators821859519129141
Eastern Conference[2]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1Philadelphia FlyersATL82452413282208103
2Pittsburgh PenguinsNE8249294362284102
3New York RangersATL8241271427223796
4Florida PanthersATL8241311025423492
5Boston BruinsNE8240311128226991
6Montreal CanadiensNE8240321026524890
7Washington CapitalsATL8239321123420489
8Tampa Bay LightningATL8238321223824888
9New Jersey DevilsATL8237331221520286
10Hartford WhalersNE823439923725977
11Buffalo SabresNE823342724726273
12New York IslandersATL8222501022931554
13Ottawa SenatorsNE821859519129141

Divisions: ATL – Atlantic, NE – Northeast

bold – Qualified for playoffs

Western Conference
Central Division
No. GP W L T GF GA Pts
1Detroit Red Wings8262137325181131
2Chicago Blackhawks8240281427322094
3Toronto Maple Leafs8234361224725280
4St. Louis Blues8232341621924880
5Winnipeg Jets823640627529178
6Dallas Stars8226421422728066

Pacific Division
No. GP W L T GF GA Pts
1Colorado Avalanche82472510326240104
2Calgary Flames8234371124124079
3Vancouver Canucks8232351527827879
4Mighty Ducks of Anaheim823539823424778
5Edmonton Oilers823044824030468
6Los Angeles Kings8224401825630266
7San Jose Sharks822055725235747

Western Conference[3]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1p – Detroit Red WingsCEN8262137325181131
2Colorado AvalanchePAC82472510326240104
3Chicago BlackhawksCEN8240281427322094
4Toronto Maple LeafsCEN8234361224725280
5St. Louis BluesCEN8232341621924880
6Calgary FlamesPAC8234371124124079
7Vancouver CanucksPAC8232351527827879
8Winnipeg JetsCEN823640627529178
9Mighty Ducks of AnaheimPAC823539823424778
10Edmonton OilersPAC823044824030468
11Dallas StarsCEN8226421422728066
12Los Angeles KingsPAC8224401825630266
13San Jose SharksPAC822055725235747

Divisions: CEN – Central, PAC – Pacific

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

GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.


Stanley Cup Final

The Colorado Avalanche swept the final series over the Florida Panthers in the minimum four games. Both teams were making their first appearance in the Final. For Colorado, it followed the team's first season in Denver, Colorado after moving from Quebec City. Joe Sakic won the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Colorado won series 4–0

Playoff bracket

  Conference quarterfinals Conference semifinals Conference finals Stanley Cup Final
1 Philadelphia 4     2 Pittsburgh 4  
8 Tampa Bay 2     3 NY Rangers 1  
2 Pittsburgh 4 Eastern Conference
7 Washington 2  
    2 Pittsburgh 3  
  4 Florida 4  
3 NY Rangers 4  
6 Montreal 2  
4 Florida 4   1 Philadelphia 2
5 Boston 1     4 Florida 4  
  E4 Florida 0
(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)
  W2 Colorado 4
1 Detroit 4     1 Detroit 4
8 Winnipeg 2     5 St. Louis 3  
2 Colorado 4
7 Vancouver 2  
  1 Detroit 2
  2 Colorado 4  
3 Chicago 4  
6 Calgary 0   Western Conference
4 Toronto 2   2 Colorado 4
5 St. Louis 4     3 Chicago 2  
  • 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.


Presidents' Trophy:Detroit Red Wings
Prince of Wales Trophy:Florida Panthers
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:Colorado Avalanche
Art Ross Trophy:Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:Gary Roberts, Calgary Flames
Calder Memorial Trophy:Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators
Conn Smythe Trophy:Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche
Frank J. Selke Trophy:Sergei Fedorov, Detroit Red Wings
Hart Memorial Trophy:Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
Jack Adams Award:Scotty Bowman, Detroit Red Wings
James Norris Memorial Trophy:Chris Chelios, Chicago Blackhawks
King Clancy Memorial Trophy:Kris King, Winnipeg Jets
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:Paul Kariya, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
Lester B. Pearson Award:Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL Plus/Minus Award:Vladimir Konstantinov, Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy:Jim Carey, Washington Capitals
William M. Jennings Trophy:Chris Osgood/Mike Vernon, Detroit Red Wings
Lester Patrick Trophy:George Gund III, Ken Morrow, Milt Schmidt

All-Star teams

First teamPositionSecond team
Jim Carey, Washington Capitals G Chris Osgood, Detroit Red Wings
Chris Chelios, Chicago Blackhawks D Vladimir Konstantinov, Detroit Red Wings
Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins D Brian Leetch, New York Rangers
Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins C Eric Lindros, Philadelphia Flyers
Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins RW Alexander Mogilny, Vancouver Canucks
Paul Kariya, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim LW John LeClair, Philadelphia Flyers

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Regular seasonPlayoffs
Player Team GP G A Pts
Mario LemieuxPittsburgh706992161
Jaromir JagrPittsburgh826287149
Joe SakicColorado825169120
Ron FrancisPittsburgh772792119
Peter ForsbergColorado823086116
Eric LindrosPhiladelphia734768115
Paul KariyaAnaheim825058108
Teemu SelanneWinnipeg/
Alexander MogilnyVancouver795552107
Sergei FedorovDetroit783968107

Source: NHL.[4]

Joe SakicColorado22181634
Mario LemieuxPittsburgh18111627
Jaromir JagrPittsburgh18111223
Valeri KamenskyColorado22101222
Peter ForsbergColorado22101121
Petr NedvedPittsburgh18101020
Steve YzermanDetroit1881220
Sergei FedorovDetroit1921820
Sandis OzolinshColorado2251419
Dave LowryFlorida2210717
Mike RicciColorado2261117
Adam DeadmarshColorado2251217

Note: GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points

Leading goaltenders

Regular season

Player Team GP MIN GA SO GAA
Ron HextallPhiladelphia53310211242.17
Chris OsgoodDetroit50293310652.17
Jim CareyWashington71406915392.26
Mike VernonDetroit3218557032.26
Martin BrodeurNew Jersey77443317362.34
Jeff HackettChicago3520008042.40
Daren PuppaTampa Bay57318913152.46
Mike RichterNew York Rangers41239610732.68
John VanbiesbrouckFlorida57317814222.68
Ed BelfourChicago50295613512.74




The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1995–96 (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 1995–96 (listed with their last team):

Trading deadline

Trading deadline: March 20, 1996.[6]

  • March 20, 1996: C Jesse Belanger traded from Florida to Vancouver for Vancouver's third round pick in 1996 Entry Draft and future considerations.
  • March 20, 1996: LW Ken Baumgartner traded from Toronto to Anaheim for Winnipeg's fourth round pick in 1996 Entry Draft (previously acquired).
  • March 20, 1996: D J. J. Daigneault traded from St. Louis to Pittsburgh for Pittsburgh's sixth round pick in 1996 Entry Draft.
  • March 20, 1996: LW Kevin Miller traded from San Jose to Pittsburgh for Pittsburgh's fifth round choice in 1996 Entry Draft and future considerations.
  • March 20, 1996: LW Pat Conacher and Calgary's sixth round pick in 1997 Entry Draft traded from Calgary to NY Islanders for C Bob Sweeney.
  • March 20, 1996: RW Kirk Maltby traded from Edmonton to Detroit for D Dan McGillis.
  • March 20, 1996: D Jaroslav Modry and Ottawa's eighth round pick in 1996 Entry Draft traded from Ottawa to Los Angeles for RW Kevin Brown.
  • March 20, 1996: LW Patrick Poulin, D Igor Ulanov and Chicago's second round pick in 1996 Entry Draft traded from Chicago to Tampa Bay for D Enrico Ciccone and Tampa Bay's second round pick in 1996 Entry Draft.
  • March 20, 1996: LW Yuri Khmylev and Buffalo's eighth round pick in 1996 Entry Draft traded from Buffalo to St. Louis for D Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre, Ottawa's second round pick in 1996 Entry Draft (previously acquired) and St. Louis' third round pick in 1997 Entry Draft.
  • March 20, 1996: C Dave Hannan traded from Buffalo to Colorado for Colorado's sixth round pick in 1996 Entry Draft.
  • March 20, 1996: RW Alek Stojanov traded from Vancouver to Pittsburgh for RW Markus Naslund.
  • March 20, 1996: RW Ravil Gusmanov traded from Winnipeg to Chicago for Chicago's fourth round pick in 1996 Entry Draft.
  • March 20, 1996: RW Joe Kocur traded from NY Rangers to Vancouver for G Kay Whitmore.


Eastern Conference

Team Coach Comments
Boston Bruins Steve Kasper
Buffalo Sabres Ted Nolan
Florida Panthers Doug MacLean
Hartford Whalers Paul Holmgren Replaced midseason by Paul Maurice
Montreal Canadiens Jacques Demers Replaced early in the season by Mario Tremblay
New Jersey Devils Jacques Lemaire
New York Islanders Mike Milbury
New York Rangers Colin Campbell
Ottawa Senators Rick Bowness Replaced early in the season by Dave Allison, who would be replaced after 25 games by Jacques Martin
Philadelphia Flyers Terry Murray
Pittsburgh Penguins Eddie Johnston
Tampa Bay Lightning Terry Crisp
Washington Capitals Jim Schoenfeld

Western Conference

Team Coach Comments
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Ron Wilson
Calgary Flames Pierre Page
Chicago Blackhawks Craig Hartsburg
Colorado Avalanche Marc Crawford
Dallas Stars Bob Gainey Replaced midseason by Ken Hitchcock
Detroit Red Wings Scotty Bowman
Edmonton Oilers Ron Low
Los Angeles Kings Larry Robinson
St. Louis Blues Mike Keenan
San Jose Sharks Kevin Constantine Replaced early in the season by Jim Wiley
Toronto Maple Leafs Pat Burns Replaced late in the season by Nick Beverley
Vancouver Canucks Rick Ley Replaced late in the season by Pat Quinn
Winnipeg Jets Terry Simpson

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: 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.
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