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Presidents' Trophy facts for kids

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Presidents' Trophy
Presidents' Trophy.jpg
Sport Ice hockey
Given for National Hockey League team with the most points (best record) in the regular season
First award 1985–86 NHL season
First winner Edmonton Oilers
Most wins Detroit Red Wings (6)
Most recent Boston Bruins (4)

The Presidents' Trophy (French: Trophée des présidents) is an award presented by the National Hockey League (NHL) to the team that finishes with the most points (i.e., best overall record) during the regular season. If two teams are tied for the most points, then the Trophy goes to the team with the most regulation wins (RW). The Presidents' Trophy has been awarded 37 times to 18 different teams since its inception during the 1985–86 NHL season.

As the team with the best regular season record, the Presidents' Trophy winner is normally guaranteed home-ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup playoffs. However, winning the award does not assure playoff success, as there have been only eight instances where the Presidents' Trophy winner has gone on to win the Stanley Cup in the same season, while three Presidents' Trophy winners have been defeated in the Stanley Cup Finals. The most recent team to win both the Presidents' Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season is the 2012–13 Chicago Blackhawks. The only team to accomplish this feat more than once is the Detroit Red Wings.


The Trophy was introduced at the start of the 1985–86 by the League's Board of Governors to recognize the best team in the regular season, informally known as the regular season championship. Prior to this, the team that finished in first place when the regular season concluded was allowed to hang a banner reading "NHL League Champions."

A total of 18 teams have won the Presidents' Trophy. The Detroit Red Wings have won six Presidents' Trophies, the most of any team. The Boston Bruins are second with four. The Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are all tied for third with three. Five teams (Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks) are tied for fourth most with two Presidents' Trophy wins apiece. Among these multiple winners, Calgary, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Washington have won it in consecutive seasons. Out of these teams, Edmonton, Calgary, and Dallas have captured a Stanley Cup along with their second straight Presidents' Trophy.

If there are two or more teams tied for first in points in the League, then the NHL's standard tiebreaking procedure is applied, with the first tiebreaker being the team with the most regulation wins (that is, all games won except those won in overtime or in a shootout). During the shortened 2020–21, both the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights finished tied for first with 82 points in 56 games, with Colorado winning the trophy since they had 35 regulation wins while Vegas had 30. From the 2010–11 through 2018–19 seasons, the first tiebreaker was most regulation and overtime wins. Before 2010–11, the first tiebreaker was the most wins including both overtime and shootout wins. The most notable of the pre-2010–11 protocol is from the 2006–07, where both the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings finished tied first with 113 points, with the Sabres winning the Trophy since they had 53 wins, three more than Detroit, who had 50.

Past trophies

From 1937 to 1967, the same criterion now observed for winning the Presidents' Trophy was used to award the Prince of Wales Trophy. With the Modern Era expansion in the 1967–68 season and the creation of the West Division, the Wales Trophy was awarded to the team that finished in first place in the East Division during the regular season. However, no trophy was awarded to the team that finished with the best overall record in the entire League during this period, and no trophy at all was awarded based on the results of the regular season from the 1981–82 through 1984–85 seasons. A cash bonus of $350,000 was awarded to the winning team with the NHL's best regular season record during these years, to which the Presidents' Trophy was added in 1985–86. The cash bonus is split amongst the players on the active roster of the winning team.

Factoring all NHL seasons prior to the introduction of the Presidents' Trophy, the Montreal Canadiens have finished first overall 21 times, the most times in League history (although this was most recently accomplished in 1977–78, before the Trophy was introduced; since its inception, the Canadiens have been Presidents' runners-up three times, in 1987–88, 1988–89, and 2014–15). Detroit is second with 18 first-overall finishes.

Playoff implications

"It is the reality of the sport. If your particular strength happens to be that you're really good offensively, and you come up against a hot goaltender and a team that is stout defensively, it might not matter that you were good on a nightly basis scoring goals. And that one particular opponent: you'll have to beat them four times."

NHL broadcaster Darren Eliot explaining the lack of success of Presidents' Trophy winners winning the Stanley Cup.

The Presidents' Trophy winner is normally guaranteed home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. This does not necessarily correlate to success in the playoffs, however. The Trophy has been awarded 36 times, but only eight of the winners have gone on to win the Stanley Cup in their respective years, leading to a popular superstition that the Trophy may be cursed. In addition, eight Presidents' Trophy winners have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, with first-round upsets being common in the NHL compared to other major professional sports. Since the salary cap era of the NHL from 2005–06 onwards the first-placed NHL team has had the lowest probability of winning the playoff championship, compared to the other three North American major professional sports leagues (NBA, MLB, and NFL).

NHL broadcaster Darren Eliot attributes the apparent lack of playoff success to the different style of competition compared to the regular season: instead of playing different teams every night, the goal is to advance through four best-of-seven playoff series. The Presidents' Trophy winner may have to go through other playoff clubs who might have a hotter goaltender, a better defensive team or other players that pose match-up problems. If the regular season champion's primary success was merely outscoring others, they may be out of luck facing goaltenders that can shut them out. The lack of playoff experience may have been to blame in the examples of the 1999–2000 St. Louis Blues and 2008–09 San Jose Sharks, as neither team had advanced past the second round for five or more seasons. Teams have often given up pursuit of finishing first in the League in order to avoid injuries and rest key players for the postseason.

Ian Cooper, writing for the Toronto Star, noted that "of 11 Presidents' Trophy winners to lose in the first two rounds, seven came from divisions that were among the league's weaker half ... If a team dominates a weak division, its shortcomings should become apparent once it faces stiffer competition from the rest of the conference". Jonathan Weiss, writing for the Bleacher Report in 2010, also noted that of the teams between 1982 and 2009 that led the League in points during the regular season, 12 of them (45 per cent) reached the Cup Finals, while of the other 405 teams during that same time period, only 42 (10 per cent) advanced to the final round, concluding that "the team that leads the NHL in regular season points is four to five times more likely than any other team in the playoffs to make it into the Stanley Cup finals, and seven to eight times more likely to win the Cup".

The 1995–96 Red Wings were considered a "cursed" team, as their record-setting season was cut short by the newly relocated Colorado Avalanche in the Conference Finals, sparking a particularly vicious rivalry between the two teams in subsequent seasons. In the 1996–97 season, the Avalanche were the defending Cup champions and won the Presidents' Trophy but lost the Conference Finals which was a rematch against the Red Wings, the Red Wings went on to win the Cup. The Red Wings would go onto the defeat the Presidents' Trophy-winning Dallas Stars in 1998, en route to the Red Wing's second straight Cup win. Thereafter, in three of four seasons, the Presidents' Trophy winning team went on to win the Stanley Cup (Stars in 1999, Avalanche in 2001, and Red Wings in 2002).

Since the Blackhawks won the Presidents' Trophy and Stanley Cup in the lockout-shortened 2012–13 season, the "curse" has been more pronounced. The 2018–19 Tampa Bay Lightning were swept in the first round by the Wild Card Columbus Blue Jackets after a dominant season in which they tied the 1995–96 Detroit Red Wings' record for regular season wins, becoming the first Presidents' Trophy winner to suffer this fate. Adding to the ignominy was the Blue Jackets' previous lack of postseason success, as their sweep of the Lightning was their first playoff series victory in franchise history, with only four previous playoff qualifications. By contrast, the Lightning had made several deep playoff runs in the previous seasons (including a Cup Finals appearance in 2015). Over the next three years, the Lightning did not win the Presidents' Trophy but nevertheless won two consecutive Stanley Cups while reaching a third consecutive Stanley Cup Finals. For the 2022–23 Boston Bruins; after setting new records for single-season wins and points, they proceeded to lose in the first round in seven games to the Florida Panthers after having led the series three games to one. The Panthers were incidentally the previous season's Presidents' Trophy winners, where their 2021–22 season ended when they were swept in the second round by the Lightning (en route to the Lightning's third consecutive Finals appearance).

Only three times in the history of the Presidents' Trophy has a team missed the playoffs the season after winning the award: the New York Rangers, who won the Trophy in the 1991–92 season and missed the playoffs in 1992–93 (and then rebounded to win both the Presidents' Trophy and Stanley Cup in 1993–94); the Buffalo Sabres, who won the Trophy in the 2006–07 season and missed the playoffs in 2007–08 (in part because of a debacle in which the team lost both of its top stars to free agency); and the Boston Bruins, who won the Trophy in the 2013–14 season and missed the playoffs in 2014–15 despite having a winning record.


Ottawa Senators Presidents Trophy Banner
Ottawa Senators Presidents' Trophy Banner from the 2002–03 season

     Team won the Stanley Cup.      Team lost in the Stanley Cup Finals.      Team lost in the first round of the playoffs. Bold Team with the most points ever accumulated in a season during the trophy's existence.

Year Winner Points Margin Win # Playoff result
1985–86 Edmonton Oilers 119 9 1 Lost Division Finals (CGY)
1986–87 Edmonton Oilers 106 6 2 Won Stanley Cup
1987–88 Calgary Flames 105 2 1 Lost Division Finals (EDM)
1988–89 Calgary Flames 117 2 2 Won Stanley Cup
1989–90 Boston Bruins 101 2 1 Lost Stanley Cup Finals (EDM)
1990–91 Chicago Blackhawks 106 1 1 Lost Division Semifinals (MNS)
1991–92 New York Rangers 105 7 1 Lost Division Finals (PIT)
1992–93 Pittsburgh Penguins 119 10 1 Lost Division Finals (NYI)
1993–94 New York Rangers 112 6 2 Won Stanley Cup
1994–95 Detroit Red Wings 070 5 1 Lost Stanley Cup Finals (NJD)
1995–96 Detroit Red Wings 131 27 2 Lost Conference Finals (COL)
1996–97 Colorado Avalanche 107 3 1 Lost Conference Finals (DET)
1997–98 Dallas Stars 109 2 1 Lost Conference Finals (DET)
1998–99 Dallas Stars 114 9 2 Won Stanley Cup
1999–2000 St. Louis Blues 114 6 1 Lost Conference Quarterfinals (SJS)
2000–01 Colorado Avalanche 118 7 2 Won Stanley Cup
2001–02 Detroit Red Wings 116 15 3 Won Stanley Cup
2002–03 Ottawa Senators 113 2 1 Lost Conference Finals (NJD)
2003–04 Detroit Red Wings 109 3 4 Lost Conference Semifinals (CGY)
2004–05 Season cancelled due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout
2005–06 Detroit Red Wings 124 11 5 Lost Conference Quarterfinals (EDM)
2006–07 Buffalo Sabres 113 0 (3 wins) 1 Lost Conference Finals (OTT)
2007–08 Detroit Red Wings 115 7 6 Won Stanley Cup
2008–09 San Jose Sharks 117 1 1 Lost Conference Quarterfinals (ANA)
2009–10 Washington Capitals 121 8 1 Lost Conference Quarterfinals (MTL)
2010–11 Vancouver Canucks 117 10 1 Lost Stanley Cup Finals (BOS)
2011–12 Vancouver Canucks 111 2 2 Lost Conference Quarterfinals (LAK)
2012–13 Chicago Blackhawks 77 5 2 Won Stanley Cup
2013–14 Boston Bruins 117 1 2 Lost Second Round (MTL)
2014–15 New York Rangers 113 3 3 Lost Conference Finals (TBL)
2015–16 Washington Capitals 120 11 2 Lost Second Round (PIT)
2016–17 Washington Capitals 118 7 3 Lost Second Round (PIT)
2017–18 Nashville Predators 117 3 1 Lost Second Round (WPG)
2018–19 Tampa Bay Lightning 128 21 1 Lost First Round (CBJ)
2019–20 Boston Bruins 100 6 3 Lost Second Round (TBL)
2020–21 Colorado Avalanche 82 0 (5 regulation wins) 3 Lost Second Round (VGK)
2021–22 Florida Panthers 122 3 1 Lost Second Round (TBL)
2022–23 Boston Bruins 135 22 4 Lost First Round (FLA)

Earlier best records

For reference, the following are teams that finished with the best records in the NHL for each season between 1917–18 and 1984–85.

NHL vs. PCHA/WCHL/WHL Stanley Cup era (1917–1926)

Prior to 1926–27, the Stanley Cup was then awarded as a "World Series" trophy between the champions of the NHL and a rival league (first the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, then the Western Canada Hockey League). Instead, the NHL championship trophy during this era was the O'Brien Trophy.

From 1917–18 to 1920–21, the NHL season was split, requiring separate standings, with a single playoff series between the winner of the first half of the season and the winner of the second half of the season.

     * Team won the O'Brien Trophy as the NHL playoff champion.      † Team won both the O'Brien Trophy and the Stanley Cup.      ^ Team lost in the NHL Championship/Final round.

Year Winner Points Playoff Result
1917–18 Toronto Hockey Club 26 NHL champions*, won Stanley Cup
1918–19 Ottawa Senators 24 Lost NHL Championship (MTL)^
1919–20 Ottawa Senators 38 NHL champions, won Stanley Cup†
1920–21 Toronto St. Patricks 30 Lost NHL Championship (SEN)^
1921–22 Ottawa Senators 30 Lost NHL Championship (TSP)^
1922–23 Ottawa Senators 29 NHL champions, won Stanley Cup†
1923–24 Ottawa Senators 32 Lost NHL Championship (MTL)^
1924–25 Hamilton Tigers 39 Suspended from playoffs
1925–26 Ottawa Senators 52 Lost NHL Final Round (MMR)^

NHL takes control of the Stanley Cup (since 1927)

After the 1925–26 season, the NHL became the only league left competing for the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup thus became the de facto NHL championship trophy, though the league did not take formal control of the trophy until 1947.

The Prince of Wales Trophy was awarded from 1938–39 to 1966–67 for the entire league regular season.

     * Team won the Stanley Cup.      ^ Team lost in the Stanley Cup Finals.      # Team lost in a preliminary round of the playoffs.

Year Winner Points Playoff Result
1926–27 Ottawa Senators 64 Won Stanley Cup*
1927–28 Montreal Canadiens 59 Lost semifinals (MMR)
1928–29 Montreal Canadiens 59 Lost semifinals (BOS)
1929–30 Boston Bruins 77 Lost Stanley Cup Finals^ (MTL)
1930–31 Boston Bruins 62 Lost semifinals (MTL)
1931–32 Montreal Canadiens 57 Lost semifinals (NYR)
1932–33 Boston Bruins 58 Lost semifinals (TOR)
1933–34 Toronto Maple Leafs 61 Lost semifinals (DET)
1934–35 Toronto Maple Leafs 64 Lost Stanley Cup Finals^ (MMR)
1935–36 Detroit Red Wings 56 Won Stanley Cup*
1936–37 Detroit Red Wings 59 Won Stanley Cup*
1937–38 Boston Bruins 67 Lost semifinals (TOR)
1938–39 Boston Bruins 74 Won Stanley Cup*
1939–40 Boston Bruins 67 Lost semifinals (NYR)
1940–41 Boston Bruins 67 Won Stanley Cup*
1941–42 New York Rangers 60 Lost semifinals (TOR)
1942–43 Detroit Red Wings 61 Won Stanley Cup*
1943–44 Montreal Canadiens 83 Won Stanley Cup*
1944–45 Montreal Canadiens 80 Lost semifinals# (TOR)
1945–46 Montreal Canadiens 61 Won Stanley Cup*
1946–47 Montreal Canadiens 78 Lost Stanley Cup Finals^ (TOR)
1947–48 Toronto Maple Leafs 77 Won Stanley Cup*
1948–49 Detroit Red Wings 75 Lost Stanley Cup Finals^ (TOR)
1949–50 Detroit Red Wings 88 Won Stanley Cup*
1950–51 Detroit Red Wings 101 Lost semifinals# (MTL)
1951–52 Detroit Red Wings 100 Won Stanley Cup*
1952–53 Detroit Red Wings 90 Lost semifinals# (BOS)
1953–54 Detroit Red Wings 88 Won Stanley Cup*
1954–55 Detroit Red Wings 95 Won Stanley Cup*
1955–56 Montreal Canadiens 100 Won Stanley Cup*
1956–57 Detroit Red Wings 88 Lost semifinals# (BOS)
1957–58 Montreal Canadiens 96 Won Stanley Cup*
1958–59 Montreal Canadiens 91 Won Stanley Cup*
1959–60 Montreal Canadiens 92 Won Stanley Cup*
1960–61 Montreal Canadiens 92 Lost semifinals# (CHI)
1961–62 Montreal Canadiens 98 Lost semifinals# (CHI)
1962–63 Toronto Maple Leafs 82 Won Stanley Cup*
1963–64 Montreal Canadiens 85 Lost semifinals# (TOR)
1964–65 Detroit Red Wings 87 Lost semifinals# (CHI)
1965–66 Montreal Canadiens 90 Won Stanley Cup*
1966–67 Chicago Black Hawks 94 Lost semifinals# (TOR)
1967–68 Montreal Canadiens 94 Won Stanley Cup*
1968–69 Montreal Canadiens 103 Won Stanley Cup*
1969–70 Chicago Black Hawks 99 Lost semifinals (BOS)
1970–71 Boston Bruins 121 Lost quarterfinals# (MTL)
1971–72 Boston Bruins 119 Won Stanley Cup*
1972–73 Montreal Canadiens 120 Won Stanley Cup*
1973–74 Boston Bruins 113 Lost Stanley Cup Finals^ (PHI)
1974–75 Philadelphia Flyers 113 Won Stanley Cup*
1975–76 Montreal Canadiens 127 Won Stanley Cup*
1976–77 Montreal Canadiens 132 Won Stanley Cup*
1977–78 Montreal Canadiens 129 Won Stanley Cup*
1978–79 New York Islanders 116 Lost semifinals (NYR)
1979–80 Philadelphia Flyers 116 Lost Stanley Cup Finals^ (NYI)
1980–81 New York Islanders 110 Won Stanley Cup*
1981–82 New York Islanders 118 Won Stanley Cup*
1982–83 Boston Bruins 110 Lost Conference Finals (NYI)
1983–84 Edmonton Oilers 119 Won Stanley Cup*
1984–85 Philadelphia Flyers 113 Lost Stanley Cup Finals^ (EDM)


Presidents' Trophy winners

Team Winners Year(s) won
Detroit Red Wings 6 1994–95, 1995–96, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2005–06, 2007–08
Boston Bruins 4 1989–90, 2013–14, 2019–20, 2022–23
New York Rangers 3 1991–92, 1993–94, 2014–15
Colorado Avalanche 3 1996–97, 2000–01, 2020–21
Washington Capitals 3 2009–10, 2015–16, 2016–17
Edmonton Oilers 2 1985–86, 1986–87
Calgary Flames 2 1987–88, 1988–89
Chicago Blackhawks 2 1990–91, 2012–13
Dallas Stars 2 1997–98, 1998–99
Vancouver Canucks 2 2010–11, 2011–12
Pittsburgh Penguins 1 1992–93
St. Louis Blues 1 1999–2000
Ottawa Senators 1 2002–03
Buffalo Sabres 1 2006–07
San Jose Sharks 1 2008–09
Nashville Predators 1 2017–18
Tampa Bay Lightning 1 2018–19
Florida Panthers 1 2021–22

Combined pre-trophy/trophy era best records

Team Best record Year(s) won
Montreal Canadiens 21 1927–28, 1928–29, 1931–32, 1943–44, 1944–45, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1955–56, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1977–78
Detroit Red Wings 18 1935–36, 1936–37, 1942–43, 1948–49, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1951–52, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1964–65, 1994–95, 1995–96, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2005–06, 2007–08
Boston Bruins 15 1929–30, 1930–31, 1932–33, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1939–40, 1940–41, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1973–74, 1982–83, 1989–90, 2013–14, 2019–20, 2022–23
Ottawa Senators (1883–1934) 7 1918–19, 1919–20, 1921–22, 1922–23, 1923–24, 1925–26, 1926–27
Toronto Hockey Club/St. Patricks/Maple Leafs 6 1917–18, 1920–21, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1947–48, 1962–63
New York Rangers 4 1941–42, 1991–92, 1993–94, 2014–15
Chicago Blackhawks 4 1966–67, 1969–70, 1990–91, 2012–13
Philadelphia Flyers 3 1974–75, 1979–80, 1984–85
New York Islanders 3 1978–79, 1980–81, 1981–82
Edmonton Oilers 3 1983–84, 1985–86, 1986–87
Colorado Avalanche 3 1996–97, 2000–01, 2020–21
Washington Capitals 3 2009–10, 2015–16, 2016–17
Calgary Flames 2 1987–88, 1988–89
Dallas Stars 2 1997–98, 1998–99
Vancouver Canucks 2 2010–11, 2011–12
Hamilton Tigers 1 1924–25
Pittsburgh Penguins 1 1992–93
St. Louis Blues 1 1999–2000
Ottawa Senators 1 2002–03
Buffalo Sabres 1 2006–07
San Jose Sharks 1 2008–09
Nashville Predators 1 2017–18
Tampa Bay Lightning 1 2018–19
Florida Panthers 1 2021–22
  • Defunct teams in italics.

Related pages

See also

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