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Wayne Gretzky in 2006

The expansion era of the National Hockey League (NHL) began when six new teams were added to the original six for the 1967–68 season. The expansion teams formed the newly created West Division: the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Oakland Seals, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. By 1978, the NHL had lost the Seals and had added another six teams: the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Atlanta Flames, New York Islanders, Colorado Rockies, and Washington Capitals. They added another four teams in 1979, absorbed from the defunct World Hockey Association—the Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets—for a total of 21 teams, a figure that remained constant until the San Jose Sharks joined as an expansion franchise in 1991. The NHL became involved in international play in the Summit Series in 1972, matching NHL players against the top players of the Soviet Union, and in the Canada Cup and Super Series between 1976 and 1991. The expansion era was one of the highest-scoring periods in NHL history, led in the 1980s by the Edmonton Oilers and Wayne Gretzky (pictured in 2006), who scored 215 in 1985–86, still a league record. (Full article...)

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