NHL Western Division
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NHL Western Division
West Division
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
FormerlyPacific Division, Central Division (2020)
Founded1967 (original)
2020 (second)
Ceased1974 (original)
2021 (second)
Replaced byCampbell Conference (1974)
Championships
Last champion(s)Colorado Avalanche (1st title) (2021)
Most titlesChicago Black Hawks (3)

The West Division of the National Hockey League existed from 1967 until 1974 when the league realigned into two conferences of two divisions each. The division was reformed for the 2020-21 NHL season (and branded as the Honda West Division for sponsorship reasons) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 1967 the NHL doubled in size, going from six teams to twelve. The Original Six, as the pre-1967 teams became retroactively known, were grouped into the East Division, while the expansion teams were placed into the West Division. This was done in order to keep teams of similar competitive strength in the same division, regardless of geographic distance,[1] and to ensure playoff revenue for the new franchises.

When the NHL expanded again in 1970, the two new teams, the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres, were placed into the stronger East Division. In an effort to create more balanced competition, the Chicago Black Hawks were transferred into the West Division. When the NHL expanded again in 1972, each division was given one of the expansion clubs, with the New York Islanders joining the East Division and the Atlanta Flames joining the West Division.

By 1974, another two teams (the Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts) entered the league, and the league underwent a major overhaul. The East and West Divisions were renamed the Prince of Wales and Clarence Campbell Conferences, respectively, composed of nine teams each. The conferences were further divided into two divisions: the Norris and Adams Divisions for the Wales Conference; the Patrick and Smythe Divisions for the Campbell Conference. Because the Conferences were not composed based on geography, the league opted to name the conferences and divisions after notable persons associated with the NHL.

The East and West Divisions were re-formed for the 2020-21 season as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the NHL to radically re-structure the League and to temporarily abolish the conferences. All eight West Division teams were members of the Western Conference in the 2019-20 season.

Current standings

West Division
Pos Team GP W L OTL RW GF GA GD Pts
1 p – Colorado Avalanche 56 39 13 4 35 197 133 +64 82
2 x – Vegas Golden Knights 56 40 14 2 30 191 124 +67 82
3 x – Minnesota Wild 56 35 16 5 27 181 160 +21 75
4 x – St. Louis Blues 56 27 20 9 19 169 170 −1 63
5 e – Arizona Coyotes 56 24 26 6 19 153 176 −23 54
6 e – Los Angeles Kings 56 21 28 7 19 143 170 −27 49
7 e – San Jose Sharks 56 21 28 7 15 151 199 −48 49
8 e – Anaheim Ducks 56 17 30 9 11 126 179 −53 43
Source: National Hockey League[2]
Rules for classification: 1) Fewer number of games played (GP, only during regular season); 2) Greater number of regulation wins (RW); 3) Greater number of wins in regulation and overtime, excluding shootout wins (ROW); 4) Greater number of total wins, including shootouts (W); 5) Greater number of points earned in head-to-head play; if teams played an uneven number of head-to-head games, the result of the first game on the home ice of the team with the extra home game is discarded; 6) Greater goal differential (GD); 7) Greater number of goals scored (GF)
e – Eliminated from playoff contention; p – Clinched Presidents' Trophy; x – Clinched playoff spot

Division lineups

1967-1970

Changes from the 1966-67 season

  • The West Division is formed as the result of NHL realignment
  • All teams are added as expansion teams

1970-1972

  • California Golden Seals
  • Chicago Black Hawks
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Minnesota North Stars
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • St. Louis Blues

Changes from the 1969-70 season

  • The Oakland Seals change their name to the California Golden Seals
  • The Chicago Black Hawks come from the East Division

1972-1974

  • Atlanta Flames
  • California Golden Seals
  • Chicago Black Hawks
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Minnesota North Stars
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • St. Louis Blues

Changes from the 1971-72 season

  • The Atlanta Flames are added as an expansion team

After the 1973-74 season

The league was reformatted into two conferences with two divisions each. The California Golden Seals moved to the Adams Division. The Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins moved to the Norris Division. The Atlanta Flames and Philadelphia Flyers moved to the Patrick Division, while the Chicago Black Hawks, Minnesota North Stars, and St. Louis Blues moved to the Smythe Division.

2020-21

Changes from the 2019-20 season

  • Due to COVID-19 restrictions the NHL realigned for the 2020-21 season
  • The West Division is reformed for the 2020-21 NHL season
  • The Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights come from the Pacific Division
  • The Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues come from the Central Division

Changes from the 2020-21 season

  • The division is dissolved.
  • The Arizona Coyotes move to the Central Division.
  • All other teams rejoin the divisions they were part of in 2019-20.

Division champions

Season results

Season 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
1967-68 Philadelphia (73) Los Angeles (72) St. Louis (70) Minnesota (69) Pittsburgh (67) Oakland (47)
1968-69 St. Louis (88) Oakland (69) Philadelphia (61) Los Angeles (58) Pittsburgh (51) Minnesota (51)
1969-70 St. Louis (86) Pittsburgh (64) Minnesota (60) Oakland (58) Philadelphia (58) Los Angeles (38)
1970-71 Chicago (107) St. Louis (87) Philadelphia (73) Minnesota (72) Los Angeles (63) Pittsburgh (62) California (45)
1971-72 Chicago (107) Minnesota (86) St. Louis (67) Pittsburgh (66) Philadelphia (66) California (60) Los Angeles (49)
1972-73 Chicago (93) Philadelphia (85) Minnesota (85) St. Louis (76) Pittsburgh (73) Los Angeles (73) Atlanta (65) California (48)
1973-74 Philadelphia (112) Chicago (105) Los Angeles (78) Atlanta (74) Pittsburgh (65) St. Louis (64) Minnesota (63) California (36)
Division not used from 1974-2020
2020-21 Colorado (82) Vegas (82) Minnesota (75) St. Louis (63) Arizona (54) Los Angeles (49) San Jose (49) Anaheim (43)
  • Green background denotes qualified for playoffs

Stanley Cup winners produced

Presidents' Trophy winners produced

West Division titles won by team

Teams in bold were in the division in its most recent season.

References

  1. ^ MacKinnon, John (1996). NHL Hockey: The Official Fans' Guide. Vancouver: Raincoast Book Distribution Ltd. p. 128.
  2. ^ "NHL Hockey Standings". www.nhl.com. National Hockey League.
  3. ^ Named "California Seals" for the first month of the season, after which they were renamed "Oakland Seals"

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