Skip to main content

1967-68: NHL Expansion


The Three Stars:

Original Six Becomes Even Dozen - The largest single-season growth in National Hockey League history occurs when six expansion franchises take to the ice. The Los Angeles Kings, California Seals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues and Minnesota North Stars all begin by stocking their roster on June 6, with established teams allowed to protect only 1 goalie and 11 skaters. Los Angeles makes the great veteran goalie Terry Sawchuk the first expansion selection.


Bill Masterton Dies - Crunched by California defensemen Larry Cahan and Ron Harris in a game on January 13th, Minnesota forward Bill Masterton strikes his head on the ice and suffers massive brain injuries. The helmetless Masterton dies two days later. The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is introduced and awarded for dedication and excellence achieved in the sport of hockey.



Blockbuster Trades - The Chicago Blackhawks trade Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to Boston in exchange for Pit Martin, Gilles Marotte and Jack Norris.The Leafs also trade Frank Mahovlich, Garry Unger, Pete Stemkowski and Carl Brewer in exchange for Paul Henderson, Floyd Smith and Norm Ullman.

Season Highlights:

  • The NHL is divided into two divisions - the "East" which features all of the Original Six teams, and the "West" which features all of the new franchises, even if they are in Eastern time zones. The playoff format ensured a showdown between the winner of each division, therefore guaranteeing the new franchises a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.
  • The St. Louis Blues stumble to 4-10-2 start and replace Lynn Patrick as coach with a rookie bench boss named Scotty Bowman. Bowman would guide the Blues to the Stanley Cup final in each of their first three seasons.
  • Prior to the NHL expansion draft the Los Angeles Kings buy the entire AHL Springfield team from Eddie Shore, giving the Kings a fully stocked farm system.
  • NHL Amateur draft is set for players aged 20 and over.
  • The New York Rangers begin play in the newly constructed Madison Square Gardens. MSG debuts luxury boxes.
  • CBS begins airing the NHL game of the week, marking the first regular national broadcasting agreement with an American broadcaster.
  • Jean Beliveau scores his 400th goal and his 1000th point this season.
  • Bobby Hull leads the league in goals with 44, while teammate Stan Mikita again leads the league in points with 87. Mikita again wins the Hart and Lady Byng trophies - his second rare triple crown of hockey greatness.
  • Bobby Orr wins his first Norris trophy. He scored 11 goals and 42 points in 46 games - a season again cut short due to injuries. Phil Esposito leads the entire league in assists with 49 and finished 2nd in league scoring with 84 points.
  • Montreal defeats St. Louis in a 4 game sweep to win the Stanley Cup. They also swept Boston and lost only once to Chicago en route to their 14th Stanley Cup title.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M