East Division (NHL)

East Division (NHL)

The East Division of the National Hockey League existed from 1967 until 1974 when the league realigned into two conferences of two divisions each.

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 new West Division. This was done in order to keep teams of similar competitive strength in the same division, regardless of geographic distance, and to ensure playoff revenue for the new franchises. This competitive imbalance would lead to East Division teams winning the Stanley Cup in five of the six years the league was divided into two divisions. Another consequence was that in 1969–70, the Montreal Canadiens, who had finished the season with 92 points (more than any team in the West Division), missed the playoffs – the only time between 1948–49 and 1993–94 that they did so.

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 NHL, and as a result 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, and the Patrick and Smythe Divisions for the Campbell Conference. Because the Conferences were not geographically based, the league opted to name the conferences and divisions after notable persons associated with the NHL.

Read more about East Division (NHL):  Composition of The East Division, Seasons

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East Division (NHL) - East Division Champions - Stanley Cup Champions Produced
... As the EastDivision was composed of the Original Six franchises, these teams had a competitive advantage over the West Divisionteams for several years ...

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