The 1951–52 NHL season was the 35th season of the National Hockey League (NHL) which lasted from October 11, 1951 to April 15, 1952.

The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup by sweeping the Montreal Canadiens four games to none.

League BusinessEdit

A long standing feud between Boston president Weston Adams and general manager Art Ross ended on October 12, 1951, when Adams sold his stock in Boston Garden to Walter Brown.

The Chicago Black Hawks (who had made the mammoth nine player deal the previous season) now decided to make the largest cash deal for players to this time by paying $75,000 for Jim McFadden, George Gee, Jimmy Peters, Clare Martin, Clare Raglan and Max McNab.

Rule ChangesEdit

The league mandated that road teams would now wear a basic white uniform, while home teams will wear coloured uniforms.

The goal crease is enlarged from 3 × 7 feet to 4 × 8 feet. The faceoff circles are expanded from a 10-foot radius to a 15-foot radius.

Regular SeasonEdit

Conn Smythe offered $10,000 for anyone who found Bill Barilko (who had been missing since August 26, 1951). Barilko and Dr. Henry Hudson had left Rupert House on James Bay in the doctor's light plane for Timmins, Ontario, Canada after a weekend fishing trip and had not been found.

For the fourth straight season, the Detroit Red Wings finished first overall in the NHL.


On November 25 in Chicago, Chicago goalie Harry Lumley hurt a knee. At the age of 46, trainer Moe Roberts, who played his first game in the NHL for Boston in 1925–26, played the third period in goal for Chicago and didn't yield a goal. Roberts would stand as the oldest person to ever play an NHL game until Gordie Howe returned to the NHL at age 51 in 1979.

Chicago wasn't drawing well and so they decided to experiment with afternoon games. It worked, as the largest crowd of the season, 13,600 fans, showed up for a January 20th game in which Chicago lost to Toronto 3–1.

Elmer Lach night was held March 8 at the Forum in Montreal as the Canadiens tied Chicago 4–4. 14,452 fans were on hand to see Lach presented with a car, rowboat, TV set, deep-freeze chest, bedroom and dining room suites, a refrigerator and many other articles.

On the last night of the season on March 23, 1952, with nothing at stake at Madison Square Garden, 3,254 fans saw Chicago's Bill Mosienko score the fastest hat trick in NHL history, 3 goals in 21 seconds.

Lorne Anderson was the goaltender who gave up the goals to Chicago. Gus Bodnar also set a record with the fastest three assists in NHL history as he assisted on all three goals Mosienko scored. Chicago beat the New York Rangers 7–6.


In the playoffs, Detroit finished 8–0, sweeping the defending Stanley Cup champions Toronto (the first time in NHL history the cup champs were swept in the first round) and Montreal, the first time a team had gone undefeated in the playoffs since the 1934-35 Montreal Maroons.

The Wings scored 24 goals in the playoffs, compared to a combined five goals for their opponents. Detroit goaltender Terry Sawchuk did not give up a goal on home ice during the playoffs.


Award winners
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer)
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Sid Smith, Toronto Maple Leafs
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with best goals-against average)
Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings
All-Star teams
First team   Position   Second team
Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings G Jim Henry, Boston Bruins
Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings D Hy Buller, New York Rangers
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Jimmy Thomson, Toronto Maple Leafs
Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens C Milt Schmidt, Boston Bruins
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings RW Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Sid Smith, Toronto Maple Leafs

Player StatisticsEdit

Scoring leadersEdit

(Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes)

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 47 39 86 78
Ted Lindsay Detroit Red Wings 70 30 39 69 123
Elmer Lach Montreal Canadiens 70 15 50 65 36
Don Raleigh New York Rangers 70 19 42 61 14
Sid Smith Toronto Maple Leafs 70 27 30 57 6
Bernie Geoffrion Montreal Canadiens 67 30 24 54 66
Bill Mosienko Chicago Black Hawks 70 31 22 53 10
Sid Abel Detroit Red Wings 70 17 36 53 32
Ted Kennedy Toronto Maple Leafs 70 19 33 52 33
Milt Schmidt Boston Bruins 69 21 29 50 57

Leading goaltendersEdit

(Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts)

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Terry Sawchuk Detroit Red Wings 70 4200 133 1.90 44 14 12 12
Al Rollins Toronto Maple Leafs 70 4170 154 2.22 29 24 16 5
Gerry McNeil Montreal Canadiens 70 4200 164 2.34 34 26 10 5
Jim Henry Boston Bruins 70 4200 176 2.51 25 29 16 7
Chuck Rayner New York Rangers 53 3180 159 3.00 18 25 10 2
Emile Francis New York Rangers 14 840 42 3.00 4 7 3 0


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1951–52:

Last GamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1951–52: