1968–69 NHL season

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1968–69 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 11, 1968 – May 4, 1969
Number of games76
Number of teams12
Top draft pickMichel Plasse
Picked byMontreal Canadiens
Regular season
Season championsMontreal Canadiens
Season MVPPhil Esposito (Bruins)
Top scorerPhil Esposito (Bruins)
Playoffs MVPSerge Savard (Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsMontreal Canadiens
  Runners-upSt. Louis Blues
NHL seasons

The 1968–69 NHL season was the 52nd season of the National Hockey League. Twelve teams each played 76 games (two more than in 1967–68). For the second time in a row, the Montreal Canadiens faced the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup finals. Montreal won their second consecutive Stanley Cup as they swept the Blues in four, an identical result to the previous season.

Regular season[edit]

Prior to this season no player in NHL history had ever achieved 100 points in a season, but 1968–69 saw three achieve the feat. The Boston Bruins' Phil Esposito led the way with 49 goals and 77 assists for a new record of 126 points, as well as setting a record with linemates Wayne Cashman and Ron Murphy for most points in a season by a forward line. Bobby Hull of Chicago set a new record for goals with 58 and came in second in overall scoring with 107. Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings came in third with 103 points.

Red Berenson came up one goal short of tying an NHL record, scoring six goals[1] for the St. Louis Blues (all against goaltender Doug Favell) in an 8–0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on November 7. He became the first player to score a double hat trick in a road game.[2]

Despite finishing last in the West Division, Minnesota was led by rookie left wing Danny Grant, who along with Oakland rookie Norm Ferguson tied Nels Stewart's forty-year-old record for most goals by a rookie with 34.

On December 21, with Montreal goalies Gump Worsley (nervous breakdown) and Rogie Vachon (injured) both unavailable, rookie Tony Esposito and Boston's Gerry Cheevers both achieved shutouts in a rare scoreless tie. Esposito made 41 saves, and Cheevers made 34 saves.

Los Angeles introduced rookie goaltender Gerry Desjardins, who took over the starter's job from Wayne Rutledge, who was bothered by groin injuries most of the season. Desjardins recorded 4 shutouts during the season in helping the Kings make the playoffs and win their first round series over Oakland.

On March 2, Phil Esposito became the first NHL player to score 100 points in a season in a 4–0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In Boston-Chicago game on March 20, two milestones were accomplished. Bobby Hull broke his own record for goals with his 55th goal, and Bobby Orr broke Flash Hollett's record for goals by a defenceman with his 21st goal.

This would be the last time until the 1997–98 season that the Chicago Black Hawks missed the playoffs.

The league held a beauty pageant for the first time this season, with a contestant from every franchise. Miss Minnesota North Stars Lynn Marie Stewart was named Miss NHL 1968, and was named the NHL "ambassador" for the 1968–69 season, making various appearances and helping to present the Stanley Cup. The league held just two more pageants in 1970 and 1972 before abandoning the concept.

Final standings[edit]

East Division[3]
1 Montreal Canadiens 76 46 19 11 271 202 +69 103
2 Boston Bruins 76 42 18 16 303 221 +82 100
3 New York Rangers 76 41 26 9 231 196 +35 91
4 Toronto Maple Leafs 76 35 26 15 234 217 +17 85
5 Detroit Red Wings 76 33 31 12 239 221 +18 78
6 Chicago Black Hawks 76 34 33 9 280 246 +34 77
West Division[3]
1 St. Louis Blues 76 37 25 14 204 157 +47 88
2 Oakland Seals 76 29 36 11 219 251 −32 69
3 Philadelphia Flyers 76 20 35 21 174 225 −51 61
4 Los Angeles Kings 76 24 42 10 185 260 −75 58
5 Pittsburgh Penguins 76 20 45 11 189 252 −63 51
6 Minnesota North Stars 76 18 43 15 189 270 −81 51


Playoff bracket[edit]

Quarterfinals Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
1 Montreal 4
3 New York 0
1 Montreal 4
East Division
2 Boston 2
2 Boston 4
4 Toronto 0
E1 Montreal 4
W1 St. Louis 0
1 St. Louis 4
3 Philadelphia 0
1 St. Louis 4
West Division
4 Los Angeles 0
2 Oakland 3
4 Los Angeles 4


(E1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (E3) New York Rangers[edit]

Montreal won series 4–0

(E2) Boston Bruins v. (E4) Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

Boston won series 4–0

(W1) St. Louis Blues vs. (W3) Philadelphia Flyers[edit]

St. Louis won series 4–0

(W2) Oakland Seals vs. (W4) Los Angeles Kings[edit]

Los Angeles won series 4–3


(E1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (E2) Boston Bruins[edit]

Montreal won series 4–2

(W1) St. Louis Blues vs. (W4) Los Angeles Kings[edit]

St. Louis won series 4–0

Stanley Cup Finals[edit]

The Montreal Canadiens swept the St. Louis Blues in a rematch of the 1968 final.

Montreal won series 4–0


1968–69 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(East Division champion, regular season)
Montreal Canadiens
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(West Division champion, regular season)
St. Louis Blues
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer, regular season)
Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:
(Perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication)
Ted Hampson, Oakland Seals
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Top first-year player)
Danny Grant, Minnesota North Stars
Conn Smythe Trophy:
(Most valuable player, playoffs)
Serge Savard, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player, regular season)
Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Alex Delvecchio, Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender(s) of team with best goaltending record)
Glenn Hall & Jacques Plante, St. Louis Blues
Lester Patrick Trophy:
(Service to hockey in the U.S.)
Robert M. Hull, Edward J. Jeremiah

All-Star teams[edit]

First Team   Position   Second Team
Glenn Hall, St. Louis Blues G Ed Giacomin, New York Rangers
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins D Ted Green, Boston Bruins
Tim Horton, Toronto Maple Leafs D Ted Harris, Montreal Canadiens
Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins C Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings RW Yvan Cournoyer, Montreal Canadiens
Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks LW Frank Mahovlich, Detroit Red Wings

Player statistics[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
Phil Esposito Boston Bruins 74 49 77 126 79
Bobby Hull Chicago Black Hawks 74 58 49 107 48
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 76 44 59 103 58
Stan Mikita Chicago Black Hawks 74 30 67 97 52
Ken Hodge Boston Bruins 75 45 45 90 75
Yvan Cournoyer Montreal Canadiens 76 43 44 87 31
Alex Delvecchio Detroit Red Wings 72 25 58 83 8
Red Berenson St. Louis Blues 76 35 47 82 43
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens 69 33 49 82 55
Frank Mahovlich Detroit Red Wings 76 49 29 78 38
Jean Ratelle New York Rangers 75 32 46 78 26

Source: NHL.[4]

Leading goaltenders[edit]

Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Jacques Plante St. Louis Blues 37 2139 70 1.96 18 12 6 5
Glenn Hall St. Louis Blues 41 2354 85 2.17 19 12 8 8
Gump Worsley Montreal Canadiens 30 1703 64 2.26 19 5 4 5
Roy Edwards Detroit Red Wings 40 2099 89 2.54 18 11 6 4
Eddie Giacomin New York Rangers 70 4114 175 2.55 37 23 7 7
Bernie Parent Philadelphia Flyers 58 3365 151 2.69 17 23 16 1
Bruce Gamble Toronto Maple Leafs 61 3446 161 2.80 28 20 11 3
Gerry Cheevers Boston Bruins 52 3112 145 2.80 28 12 12 3
Johnny Bower Toronto Maple Leafs 20 779 37 2.85 5 4 3 2
Rogie Vachon Montreal Canadiens 36 2051 98 2.87 22 9 3 2

Other statistics[edit]

1968 Miss NHL Pageant[edit]

The 1968 Miss NHL Pageant was the first of three in NHL history and was held in Toronto on June 27, 1968. There were twelve contestants in the pageant, one from each of the twelve NHL teams. The winner would be named Miss NHL 1968 and would be the NHL ambassador for the 1968–69 season.

Team nominees
Miss Boston Bruins Valerie Miller
Miss Chicago Black Hawks Patricia Anne Cooper
Miss Detroit Red Wings Barbara Thomas
Miss Los Angeles Kings Julia Martin
Miss Minnesota North Stars Lynn Marie Stewart
Miss Montreal Canadiens Mary Ann Lambert
Miss New York Rangers Donna Hardy
Miss Oakland Seals Debra Lynne Smith
Miss Philadelphia Flyers Rhonda Moore
Miss Pittsburgh Penguins Karen Antkiewicz
Miss St. Louis Blues Terri Sherwood
Miss Toronto Maple Leafs Angela Miller
  • Miss Minnesota North Stars Lynn Marie Stewart was named Miss NHL 1968, with Miss New York Rangers Donna Hardy the first runner-up, and Miss Los Angeles Kings Julia Martin the second runner-up. A second-year education student at the University of Minnesota, she received a new 1969 convertible, a trip for two to Mexico, a mink stole, a movie camera and a diamond watch set. Also, she would be the NHL ambassador for the 1968–69 season, making appearances at the NHL All-Star Game, the NHL awards, and the Stanley Cup Finals where she helped NHL President Clarence Campbell present the Stanley Cup. Each contestant received $1,500 in prizes including season tickets to the team that they represented in the pageant. Stewart's prizes were worth $15,000, with those for the first-runner up worth $2,700 and the second runner-up worth $2,200.
  • Miss Pittsburgh Penguins Karen Antkiewicz was chosen Miss Personality Plus by the other contestants.
  • Selection of Miss NHL was done on the basis of personality and poise (30 points), carriage and figure (15 points), make-up and grooming (10 points), speech and projection (10 points), talent (10 points) and overall impression (10 points).





The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1968–69 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games[edit]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1968–69 (listed with their last team):

See also[edit]


  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, NY: Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: 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, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  1. ^ Joe Malone holds the record, with 7 goals in one game
  2. ^ Hockey's Book of Firsts, p. 27, James Duplacey, JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
  3. ^ a b "1968–1969 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League.
  4. ^ Dinger 2011, p. 150.

External links[edit]