1969-70 was definitely not a glorious year for most of the six teams in the NHL’s West Division. It was the last year that the division would be completely comprised of expansion teams from 1967. The Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks would join the National Hockey League for the 1970-71 season with both new teams landing in the East Division, while the Chicago Black Hawks moved to the West.
Other than the St. Louis Blues, who finished first in the West but just sixth overall, all teams in the West Division had lower points totals that any team in the East Division. The Los Angeles Kings finished dead last, winning just 14 of 76 games and ending the season with 20 less points than the Oakland Seals and Philadelphia Flyers.
Phil Goyette led the first place Blues with 78 points. It was a career high for Phil, who’d played his first game in the NHL during the 1956-57 season with the Montreal Canadiens. Goyette ended his career just three years later in 1971-72. Along with the Blues and Canadiens, Goyette also appeared with the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres. St. Louis finished 22 points ahead of the second place Pittsburgh Penguins and were the Stanley Cup finalists for the third year in a row.
J.P. Parise led the Minnesota North Stars with 72 points, the seventh best total in the league. Parise was a player saved by the 1967 expansion. Previous to the league doubling in size, Jean-Paul played sparingly with the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, appearing in just 22 games over three seasons. Parise played a total of 890 games in the NHL, retiring with the North Stars after 1978-79. He also played for the New York Islanders and Cleveland Barons during his career.
Andre Lacroix needed just 58 points to lead the Philadelphia Flyers. Lacroix was an Eddie Powers Trophy winner as leading scorer in junior hockey with the Peterborough Petes. He went on to be one of the WHA’s most prominent offensive players, winning the Bill Hunter Trophy twice as that league’s scoring leader. Andre totalled just 198 points in 325 NHL games but contributed a whopping 798 points in 551 WHA games.
Ted Hampson was the leader of the Oakland Seals with 52 points. The Seals narrowly made the post season for the only time in the franchise’s history but were swept in the first round by Pittsburgh. Hampson played in the NHL from 1959-60 to 1971-72 before jumping to the World Hockey Association for the rebel league’s inaugural season. Besides the Seals, Ted also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota North Stars.
Dean Prentice led the Pittsburgh Penguins with 51 points. The Penguins finished second in the West, despite losing 12 more games than they won. The team averaged just under 7,000 fans per game during the regular season, yet advanced to the West Division final before losing out to the Blues in six games. Prentice played his first NHL games way back in 1952-53 with the New York Rangers. Dean played nearly 1,400 regular season games between then and 1973-74 with the Rangers, Bruins, Red Wings, Penguins and North Stars.
Ross Lonsberry accumulated just 42 points in 1969-70 but led the Los Angeles Kings in scoring. It was his first full season in the NHL after playing sparingly for the Boston Bruins for the past three seasons. Lonsberry played in the NHL until the end of the 1980-81 season, also appearing with the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. He was part of two Stanley Cup winning teams with the Flyers.