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|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 6, 1995 – June 10, 1996|
|Number of games||82|
|Number of teams||26|
|TV partner(s)||CBC, TSN, SRC (Canada)|
ESPN, Fox (United States)
|Top draft pick||Bryan Berard|
|Picked by||Ottawa Senators|
|Presidents' Trophy||Detroit Red Wings|
|Season MVP||Mario Lemieux (Penguins)|
|Top scorer||Mario Lemieux (Penguins)|
|Playoffs MVP||Joe Sakic (Avalanche)|
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 Colorado Rockies played in from 1976 to 1982 before they were purchased and moved to become the New Jersey Devils. The Avs would play in that building until they moved to the Pepsi Center in 1999.
It was also the final season for the original Winnipeg Jets, as they announced that they would be moving from Manitoba to Arizona and become the Phoenix Coyotes at 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 Tampa Bay Lightning at the Thunderdome, 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 Lightning at the Ice Palace, 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 1993–94 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.
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 future Stanley Cup champion 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. 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.
Divisions: ATL – Atlantic, NE – Northeast
bold – Qualified for playoffs
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.
|Conference Quarterfinals||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||Stanley Cup Finals|
|(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)|
- 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.
|First team||Position||Second 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|
Note: GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points
|Martin Brodeur||New Jersey||77||4433||173||6||2.34|
|Daren Puppa||Tampa Bay||57||3189||131||5||2.46|
|Mike Richter||New York Rangers||41||2396||107||3||2.68|
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):
- Martin Biron, Buffalo Sabres
- Jarome Iginla*, Calgary Flames
- Jere Lehtinen, Dallas Stars
- Miroslav Satan, Edmonton Oilers
- Ed Jovanovski, Florida Panthers
- Jeff O'Neill, Hartford Whalers
- Jose Theodore, Montreal Canadiens
- Saku Koivu, Montreal Canadiens
- Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
- Petr Sykora, New Jersey Devils
- Steve Sullivan, New Jersey Devils
- Bryan McCabe, New York Islanders
- Todd Bertuzzi, New York Islanders
- Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators
- Daymond Langkow, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Andrew Brunette, Washington Capitals
- Shane Doan, Winnipeg Jets
The following is a list of players of note who played their last game in the NHL in 1995–96 (listed with their last team):
Trading deadline: March 20, 1996.
- 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.
|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|
|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|
- 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.
- "Yahoo | Mail, Weather, Search, Politics, News, Finance, Sports & Videos".
- "1995–1996 Conference Standings". National Hockey League. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
- "1995-1996 Conference Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". NHL.
- Dinger 2011, p. 154.
- "1995-96 NHL Leaders".
- NHL trade deadline: Deals since 1980 | Habs Inside/Out Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine