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October 8, 1971

By Christopher J. Kendel, 10/08/21, 9:30AM EDT

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CSHL Celebrates Its Golden Anniversary

October 8, 1971

The NHL dropped the puck to open its 55th season on Friday, October 8, 1971.  Fourteen teams, in two divisions, each played 78 regular season games in the hopes of qualifying for the playoffs and hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup.  Making his highly anticipated debut with the Montreal Canadiens was number one draft pick and future hall of famer Guy Lafleur.  Other players of note making their NHL debut during the 1971-72 season included - Marcel Dionne*, Detroit Red Wings; Rick Kehoe, Toronto Maple Leafs; Rick Martin, Buffalo Sabres; Terry O’Reilly, Boston Bruins; Craig Ramsay, Buffalo Sabres; Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Philadelphia Flyers and Billy Smith*, Los Angeles Kings.  Playing in his final eight NHL games, as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, this season was future hall of famer Dick Duff.   

 

1971-72 NHL TEAMS
EAST DIVISION   WEST DIVISION
Boston Bruins   California Golden Seals
Buffalo Sabres   Chicago Black Hawks
Detroit Red Wings   Los Angeles Kings
Montreal Canadiens   Minnesota North Stars
New York Rangers   Philadelphia Flyers
Toronto Maple Leafs   Pittsburgh Penguins
Vancouver Canucks   St. Louis Blues


The 1971-72 season would be the last full season in Cleveland for the Barons of the AHL.  After playing 76 regular season games the Barons finished in fourth place in the West Division with a record of 32-34-10, qualifying for the Calder Cup Playoffs.  The Barons lost in the division semi-finals to the Baltimore Clippers four games to two.  Three Barons players, Fred Harvey, Terry Caffery and Gord Labossiere, were among the AHL’s scoring leaders during the regular season, finishing second, third and fourth respectively.  Caffery would be awarded the Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL Rookie-of-the-Year at the end of the season.

*Hall of Famer