1972-73 NHL Regular Season Standings
|New York Rangers||78||47||23||8||102||297||208|
|Detroit Red Wings||78||37||29||12||86||265||243|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||78||27||41||10||64||247||279|
|New York Islanders||78||12||60||6||30||170||347|
|Minnesota North Stars||78||37||30||11||85||254||230|
|St. Louis Blues||78||32||34||12||76||233||251|
|Los Angeles Kings||78||31||36||11||73||232||245|
|California Golden Seals||78||16||46||16||48||213||323|
1972-73 National Hockey League Season
The National Hockey League expanded from 14 to 16 teams for 1972-73 with the addition of two expansion franchises in the Atlanta Flames and New York Islanders. It was also the first year of competition for the World Hockey Association.
The Montreal Canadiens took out the Chicago Blackhawks in the finals for the Stanley Cup championship. There were no sweeps in any of the seven series played in the playoffs, a NHL rarity. Montreal was the favourite to win with a 52 win, 120 point regular season. Yvan Cournoyer was honoured with the Conn Smythe Trophy, scoring 15 and assisting on ten over just 17 playoff games.
Bobby Clarke of the Philadelphia Flyers won the Hart Trophy as NHL most valuable player. It was the first time since Tommy Anderson of the Brooklyn Americans in 1941-42 that a non-Original 6 player took home the award. Clarke finished second in the league, behind Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins, with 104 points. He was the only All-Star from a non-Original 6 team. In fact, in an unbalanced NHL, all First and Second Team All-Star selections came from just six of the 16 teams.
Phil Esposito won his fourth of five Art Ross Trophies, leading the league with 130 points on 55 goals and 75 assists over 78 games. Esposito was just one of three 50 goal scorers, along with Mickey Redmond of the Detroit Red Wings and Rick MacLeish of the Flyers. Phil was one of just four with 100 or more points, along with Bobby Clarke, Bobby Orr and MacLeish.
Steve Vickers of the New York Rangers was give the Calder Trophy as the top rookie with 30 goals in 61 games. Bobby Orr won his sixth of eight straight Norris Trophies as the top defenseman. Ken Dryden was the recipient of the Vezina Trophy, putting up a 2.26 GAA and six shutouts over 54 games, backed up sparingly by Wayne Thomas and Michel Plasse.
Dave Schultz hammered his way into the NHL, leading the league with 259 penalty minutes. A few years later, Schultz would set the mark for PIM that exists today.
Three Hockey Hall of Fame members made their debuts in 1972-73. Steve Shutt and Larry Robinson played their first NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens. Bill Barber played his first games with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Two Hockey Hall of Fame members finished up their careers in 1972-73: Jacques Plante and Harry Howell.