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NHL Presidents’ Trophy for Best NHL Record

Each year, the team with the NHL best regular-season record receives the Presidents’ Trophy. The definition of best NHL record is the team with the most points; in the case of a tie, the Presidents’ cup for hockey goes to the team with the most regular-season wins. Regular-season wins include victories in regulation and overtime, but not shootout wins.

As many fans have learned the hard way, Presidents’ Trophy winners aren’t guaranteed a Stanley Cup victory, but winning does guarantee home-ice advantage as long as the team stays alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Presidents’ Cup - Hockey History

The President’s cup in the NHL was established in the 1985-86 season. Prior to 1985-96, the league recognized the team with the best NHL record in a variety of ways, and at times, in no way at all. Before 1937, the league had no trophy for teams with the best NHL record for regular-season play. In 1937, the NHL introduced the Prince of Wales Trophy, which was calculated in the same way as the current award.

Things rolled along smoothly enough until 1967-68, when league expansion created the Western Division. At that point, the Prince of Wales Trophy was awarded to the Eastern Division team with the best record, and no overall regular-season trophy was awarded. Starting in 1981-82, however, the team with best NHL record received a bonus of $350,000 that was split between the team and active player roster — this bonus continues to be awarded along with the Presidents’ Trophy as things stand today.

Presidents’ Cup – NHL Trivia

  • We said earlier that the best NHL record does not guarantee a Stanley Cup win. Indeed, since the 1985-86 season, Presidents’ Trophy winners have won the Stanley Cup only eight times: 1986-87 Edmonton Oilers, 1988-89 Calgary Flames, 1993-94 New York Rangers, 1998-99 Dallas Stars, 2000-01 Colorado Avalanche, 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings, 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings and 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks.
  • Believe it or not, Presidents’ Trophy winners have lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs six times. As their fans undoubtedly know, these teams were: 1990-91 Chicago Blackhawks, 1999-2000 St. Louis Blues, 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings, 2008-09 San Jose Sharks, 2009-10 Washington Capitals and 2011-12 Vancouver Canucks.
  • The Detroit Red Wings have won six NHL Presidents’ Trophies. The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals have each won three.
  • The Detroit Red Wings recorded the most points among Presidents’ Trophy winners, with 131 — their record that year was 62-13-7. The Red Wings lost to the Colorado Avalanche four games to two in the Eastern Conference Final. Colorado went on to sweep the Florida Panthers in the Stanley Cup Final.

NHL Presidents’ Trophy Winners — Complete List

  • 2018: Nashville Predators, 53-18-11, 117 points
  • 2017: Washington Capitals, 55-19-8, 118 points
  • 2016: Washington Capitals, 56-18-8, 120 points
  • 2015: New York Rangers, 53-22-7, 113 points
  • 2014: Boston Bruins, 54-19-9, 117 points
  • 2013: Chicago Blackhawks, 36-7-5, 77 points
  • 2012: Vancouver Canucks, 51-22-9, 111 points
  • 2011: Vancouver Canucks, 54-19-9, 117 points
  • 2010: Washington Capitals, 54-15-13, 121 points
  • 2009: San Jose Sharks, 53-18-11, 117 points
  • 2008: Detroit Red Wings, 54-21-7, 115 points
  • 2007: Buffalo Sabres, 53-22-7, 113 points
  • 2006: Detroit Red Wings, 58-16-8, 124 points
  • 2004: Detroit Red Wings, 48-21-11-2, 109 points
  • 2003: Ottawa Senators, 52-21-8-1, 113 points
  • 2002: Detroit Red Wings, 51-17-10-4, 116 points
  • 2001: Colorado Avalanche, 52-16-10-4, 118 points
  • 2000: St. Louis Blues, 51-19-11-1, 114 points
  • 1999: Dallas Stars, 51-19-12, 114 points
  • 1998: Dallas Stars, 49-22-11, 109 points
  • 1997: Colorado Avalanche, 49-24-9, 107 points
  • 1996: Detroit Red Wings, 62-13-7, 131 points
  • 1995: Detroit Red Wings, 33-11-4, 70 points
  • 1994: New York Rangers, 52-24-8, 112 points
  • 1993: Pittsburgh Penguins, 56-21-7, 119 points
  • 1992: New York Rangers, 50-25-5, 105 points
  • 1991: Chicago Blackhawks, 49-23-8, 106 points
  • 1990: Boston Bruins, 46-25-9, 101 points
  • 1989: Calgary Flames, 54-17-9, 117 points
  • 1988: Calgary Flames, 48-23-9, 105 points
  • 1987: Edmonton Oilers, 50-24-6, 106 points
  • 1986: Edmonton Oilers, 56-17-7, 119 points