1995–96 NHL season

Last updated
1995–96 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
DurationOctober 6, 1995 – June 10, 1996
Number of games82
Number of teams26
Top draft pick Bryan Berard
Picked by Ottawa Senators
Regular season
Presidents' Trophy Detroit Red Wings
Season MVP Mario Lemieux (Penguins)
Top scorer Mario Lemieux (Penguins)
Eastern champions Florida Panthers
  Eastern runners-up Pittsburgh Penguins
Western champions Colorado Avalanche
  Western runners-up Detroit Red Wings
Playoffs MVP Joe Sakic (Avalanche)
Stanley Cup
Champions Colorado Avalanche
  Runners-up Florida Panthers
NHL seasons

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 four games.

National Hockey League North American professional ice hockey league

The National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league in North America, currently comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season.

Colorado Avalanche hockey team of the National Hockey League

The Colorado Avalanche are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver, Colorado. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Avalanche are the only team in their division not based in the Central Time Zone; the team is situated in the Mountain Time Zone. Their home arena is Pepsi Center. Their general manager is Joe Sakic.

Quebec Nordiques former hockey team of the National Hockey League and World Hockey Association

The Quebec Nordiques were a professional ice hockey team based in Quebec City, Quebec. The Nordiques played in the World Hockey Association (1972–1979) and the National Hockey League (1979–1995). The franchise was relocated to Denver, Colorado in May 1995 and renamed the Colorado Avalanche.


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.

McNichols Sports Arena

McNichols Sports Arena was an indoor arena located in Denver, Colorado. Located adjacent to Mile High Stadium and completed in 1975, at a cost of $16 million, it seated 16,061 for hockey games, 17,171 for basketball games and contained 27 luxury suites, which were installed as part of a 1986 renovation. It was named after Denver mayor William H. McNichols, Jr., who served from 1968 to 1983. A small-scale scandal surrounded the naming, because McNichols was in office at the time. The 1986 renovations also saw the original Stewart-Warner end-zone scoreboards, which each had color matrix screens, upgraded by White Way Sign with new digits and to include new color video screens . Brian was the owner of this facility.

Pepsi Center architectural structure

Pepsi Center is a multi-purpose arena located in Denver, Colorado, USA. The arena is home to the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). When not in use by one of Denver's sports teams, the building frequently serves as a concert venue.

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.

Winnipeg Jets (1972–96) former hockey team of the National Hockey League

The Winnipeg Jets were a professional ice hockey team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. They began play in the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1972. The club joined the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1979 after the NHL merged with the WHA. Due to mounting financial troubles, in 1996 the franchise moved to Phoenix, Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes. In 2011 the Atlanta Thrashers franchise relocated to Winnipeg and restored the Jets name, although the prior Jets club history is retained by the Arizona club.

Manitoba Province of Canada

Manitoba is a province at the longitudinal centre of Canada. It is often considered one of the three prairie provinces and is Canada's fifth-most populous province with its estimated 1.3 million people. Manitoba covers 649,950 square kilometres (250,900 sq mi) with a widely varied landscape, stretching from the northern oceanic coastline to the southern border with the United States. The province is bordered by the provinces of Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west, the territories of Nunavut to the north, and Northwest Territories to the northwest, and the U.S. states of North Dakota and Minnesota to the south.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

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 two latter 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.

Buffalo Memorial Auditorium

Buffalo Memorial Auditorium was an indoor arena in downtown Buffalo, New York. Opened on October 14, 1940, it hosted the AHL's Buffalo Bisons, the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, the NBA's Buffalo Braves, the MSL's Buffalo Stallions, the MILL's Buffalo Bandits, the second NPSL's Buffalo Blizzard and the RHI's Buffalo Stampede. It also hosted a number of NCAA basketball games, as well as entertainment events such as concerts, the Ringling Brothers circus and Disney on Ice. The Aud was renovated in 1970 and 1990, and it closed in 1996 after the Sabres', Bandits', and Blizzard's seasons ended. It remained vacant until the city demolished it in 2009.

Montreal Forum former arena in Montreal, Québec Province, Canada; now an entertainment complex

Montreal Forum was an indoor arena located facing Cabot Square in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Called "the most storied building in hockey history" by Sporting News, it was the home of the National Hockey League's Montreal Maroons from 1924 to 1938 and the Montreal Canadiens from 1926 to 1996. The Forum was built by the Canadian Arena Company in 159 days.

Maple Leaf Gardens former indoor arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, later re-built into grocery store and athletic centre

Maple Leaf Gardens is an historic building located at the northwest corner of Carlton Street and Church Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The building was initially constructed as an arena to host ice hockey games, but has since been reconstructed for other uses. Today, Maple Leaf Gardens is a multi-purpose facility, with Loblaws occupying retail space on the lower floors and an arena for Toronto's Ryerson University, known as Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens, occupying the top level.

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.

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. Jaromír Jágr 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.

Detroit Red Wings hockey team of the National Hockey League

The Detroit Red Wings are a professional ice hockey team based in Detroit. They are members of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL) and are one of the Original Six teams of the league. Founded in 1926, the team was known as the Detroit Cougars from then until 1930. For the 1930–31 and 1931–32 seasons the team was called the Detroit Falcons, and in 1932 changed their name to the Red Wings.

Western Conference (NHL) one of two conferences in the National Hockey League

The Western Conference is one of two conferences in the National Hockey League (NHL) used to divide teams. Its counterpart is the Eastern Conference. Previously known as the Clarence Campbell Conference, it was created in 1974 when the NHL realigned its teams into two conferences and four divisions. Because the new conferences and divisions had little to do with North American geography, geographical references were removed. The conferences and divisions were re-aligned in 1981 to better reflect the geographical locations of the teams, but the existing names were retained with the Campbell Conference becoming the conference for the NHL's westernmost teams.

Jaromír Jágr Czech ice hockey winger

Jaromír Jágr is a Czech professional ice hockey right winger who is currently playing for HC Kladno in the 1st Czech Republic Hockey League. He has played in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers, and the Calgary Flames, serving as captain of the Penguins and the Rangers. After leaving the Rangers in 2008, he played three seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with Avangard Omsk. However, he returned to the NHL in 2011 with the Flyers, and remained in the league for seven more years before being assigned by the Flames in 2018 to HC Kladno, which he owns.

Final standings

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
1 Philadelphia Flyers 82452413282208103
2 New York Rangers 8241271427223796
3 Florida Panthers 8241311025423492
4 Washington Capitals 8239321123420489
5 Tampa Bay Lightning 8238321223824888
6 New Jersey Devils 8237331221520286
7 New York Islanders 8222501022931554
Northeast Division
1 Pittsburgh Penguins 8249294362284102
2 Boston Bruins 8240311128226991
3 Montreal Canadiens 8240321026524890
4 Hartford Whalers 823439923725977
5 Buffalo Sabres 823342724726272
6 Ottawa Senators 821859519129141
Eastern Conference [2]
1 Philadelphia Flyers ATL82452413282208103
2 Pittsburgh Penguins NE8249294362284102
3 New York Rangers ATL8241271427223796
4 Florida Panthers ATL8241311025423492
5 Boston Bruins NE8240311128226991
6 Montreal Canadiens NE8240321026524890
7 Washington Capitals ATL8239321123420489
8 Tampa Bay Lightning ATL8238321223824888
9 New Jersey Devils ATL8237331221520286
10 Hartford Whalers NE823439923725977
11 Buffalo Sabres NE823342724726273
12 New York Islanders ATL8222501022931554
13 Ottawa Senators NE821859519129141

Divisions:ATL – Atlantic, NE – Northeast

bold – Qualified for playoffs

Western Conference
Central Division
1 Detroit Red Wings 8262137325181131
2 Chicago Blackhawks 8240281427322094
3 Toronto Maple Leafs 8234361224725280
4 St. Louis Blues 8232341621924880
5 Winnipeg Jets 823640627529178
6 Dallas Stars 8226421422728066

Pacific Division
1 Colorado Avalanche 82472510326240104
2 Calgary Flames 8234371124124079
3 Vancouver Canucks 8232351527827879
4 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 823539823424778
5 Edmonton Oilers 823044824030468
6 Los Angeles Kings 8224401825630266
7 San Jose Sharks 822055725235747

Western Conference [3]
1p – Detroit Red Wings CEN8262137325181131
2 Colorado Avalanche PAC82472510326240104
3 Chicago Blackhawks CEN8240281427322094
4 Toronto Maple Leafs CEN8234361224725280
5 St. Louis Blues CEN8232341621924880
6 Calgary Flames PAC8234371124124079
7 Vancouver Canucks PAC8232351527827879
8 Winnipeg Jets CEN823640627529178
9 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim PAC823539823424778
10 Edmonton Oilers PAC823044824030468
11 Dallas Stars CEN8226421422728066
12 Los Angeles Kings PAC8224401825630266
13 San Jose Sharks PAC822055725235747

Divisions:CEN – Central, PAC – Pacific

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

Presidents Trophy

The Presidents' Trophy is an award presented by the National Hockey League (NHL) to the team that finishes with the most points during the NHL regular season. If two teams tie for the most points, then the Trophy goes to the team with the most wins. The Presidents' Trophy has been awarded 32 times to 16 different teams since its inception during the 1985–86 season.

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 quarterfinalsConference semifinalsConference finalsStanley 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
Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh706992161
Jaromir Jagr Pittsburgh826287149
Joe Sakic Colorado825169120
Ron Francis Pittsburgh772792119
Peter Forsberg Colorado823086116
Eric Lindros Philadelphia734768115
Paul Kariya Anaheim825058108
Teemu Selanne Winnipeg/
Alexander Mogilny Vancouver795552107
Sergei Fedorov Detroit783968107

Source: NHL. [4]

Joe Sakic Colorado22181634
Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh18111627
Jaromir Jagr Pittsburgh18111223
Valeri Kamensky Colorado22101222
Peter Forsberg Colorado22101121
Petr Nedved Pittsburgh18101020
Steve Yzerman Detroit1881220
Sergei Fedorov Detroit1921820
Sandis Ozolinsh Colorado2251419
Dave Lowry Florida2210717
Mike Ricci Colorado2261117
Adam Deadmarsh Colorado2251217

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

Leading goaltenders

Regular season

Ron Hextall Philadelphia53310211242.17
Chris Osgood Detroit50293310652.17
Jim Carey Washington71406915392.26
Mike Vernon Detroit3218557032.26
Martin Brodeur New Jersey77443317362.34
Jeff Hackett Chicago3520008042.40
Daren Puppa Tampa Bay57318913152.46
Mike Richter New York Rangers41239610732.68
John Vanbiesbrouck Florida57317814222.68
Ed Belfour Chicago50295613512.74




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]


Eastern Conference

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

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

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