1996–97 Hartford Whalers · NHL
Division 5th Northeast
1996–97 record 32–39–11
Home record 23–15–3
Road record 9–24–8
Goals for 226
Goals against 256
General Manager Jim Rutherford
Coach Paul Maurice
Captain Kevin Dineen
Team Leaders
Goals Geoff Sanderson (36)
Assists Andrew Cassels (44)
Points Geoff Sanderson (67)
Penalties in minutes Stu Grimson (218)
Wins Sean Burke (22)
Goals against average Sean Burke (2.69)
← Seasons →

The 1996–97 Hartford Whalers season was the twenty-fifth season of the franchise and the eighteenth and final season in Hartford. The Whalers would move to North Carolina the next season to become the Carolina Hurricanes.

Key dates prior to the start of the season:

Regular season[edit | edit source]

On April 13, 1997 the Whalers played their last game in Hartford, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2–1. Fittingly, team captain Kevin Dineen scored the final goal in Whaler history.

Final standings[edit | edit source]

Northeast Division
GP W L T GF GA PTS
Buffalo Sabres 82 40 30 12 237 208 92
Pittsburgh Penguins 82 38 36 8 285 280 84
Ottawa Senators 82 31 36 15 226 234 77
Montreal Canadiens 82 31 36 15 249 276 77
Hartford Whalers 82 32 39 11 226 256 75
Boston Bruins 82 26 47 9 234 300 61

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.

Game log[edit | edit source]

No. R Date Score Opponent Record
1 W October 5, 1996 1–0 Phoenix Coyotes (1996–97) 1–0–0
2 W October 8, 1996 7–3 Pittsburgh Penguins (1996–97) 2–0–0
3 L October 12, 1996 0–6 @ Florida Panthers (1996–97) 2–1–0
4 W October 17, 1996 3–1 @ New York Islanders (1996–97) 3–1–0
5 W October 19, 1996 6–2 New Jersey Devils (1996–97) 4–1–0
6 W October 24, 1996 4–1 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1996–97) 5–1–0
7 L October 26, 1996 3–6 @ Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 5–2–0
8 T October 30, 1996 2–2 OT New York Islanders (1996–97) 5–2–1
9 T October 31, 1996 4–4 OT @ Boston Bruins (1996–97) 5–2–2
10 L November 2, 1996 2–3 Los Angeles Kings (1996–97) 5–3–2
11 L November 4, 1996 1–5 @ Detroit Red Wings (1996–97) 5–4–2
12 W November 6, 1996 5–1 Boston Bruins (1996–97) 6–4–2
13 L November 8, 1996 1–4 Detroit Red Wings (1996–97) 6–5–2
14 W November 9, 1996 4–3 OT Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 7–5–2
15 W November 12, 1996 4–3 @ San Jose Sharks (1996–97) 8–5–2
16 W November 14, 1996 2–1 @ Phoenix Coyotes (1996–97) 9–5–2
17 T November 16, 1996 4–4 OT @ Colorado Avalanche (1996–97) 9–5–3
18 W November 20, 1996 3–1 Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 10–5–3
19 L November 22, 1996 1–7 Pittsburgh Penguins (1996–97) 10–6–3
20 T November 23, 1996 3–3 OT @ Ottawa Senators (1996–97) 10–6–4
21 L November 27, 1996 2–6 Vancouver Canucks (1996–97) 10–7–4
22 T November 29, 1996 1–1 OT @ Florida Panthers (1996–97) 10–7–5
23 W November 30, 1996 6–3 @ Tampa Bay Lightning (1996–97) 11–7–5
24 T December 3, 1996 4–4 OT @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1996–97) 11–7–6
25 W December 5, 1996 4–2 @ Boston Bruins (1996–97) 12–7–6
26 W December 7, 1996 6–4 Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 13–7–6
27 W December 11, 1996 5–2 Florida Panthers (1996–97) 14–7–6
28 L December 12, 1996 2–3 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1996–97) 14–8–6
29 L December 14, 1996 0–4 Philadelphia Flyers (1996–97) 14–9–6
30 L December 16, 1996 2–5 @ New York Rangers (1996–97) 14–10–6
31 W December 17, 1996 5–3 St. Louis Blues (1996–97) 15–10–6
32 L December 20, 1996 1–4 Dallas Stars (1996–97) 15–11–6
33 W December 21, 1996 6–5 OT Tampa Bay Lightning (1996–97) 16–11–6
34 L December 26, 1996 1–5 @ Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 16–12–6
35 W December 28, 1996 3–2 Ottawa Senators (1996–97) 17–12–6
36 L December 29, 1996 3–4 @ Chicago Blackhawks (1996–97) 17–13–6
37 L January 1, 1997 2–3 OT @ Washington Capitals (1996–97) 17–14–6
38 L January 2, 1997 4–5 OT Boston Bruins (1996–97) 17–15–6
39 T January 4, 1997 1–1 OT Washington Capitals (1996–97) 17–15–7
40 L January 6, 1997 4–5 @ Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 17–16–7
41 L January 9, 1997 2–3 @ Calgary Flames (1996–97) 17–17–7
42 L January 10, 1997 3–5 @ Vancouver Canucks (1996–97) 17–18–7
43 L January 12, 1997 1–2 OT @ Edmonton Oilers (1996–97) 17–19–7
44 L January 15, 1997 0–3 Pittsburgh Penguins (1996–97) 17–20–7
45 W January 20, 1997 3–1 Toronto Maple Leafs (1996–97) 18–20–7
46 W January 22, 1997 2–1 OT Florida Panthers (1996–97) 19–20–7
47 L January 24, 1997 2–5 New York Islanders (1996–97) 19–21–7
48 W January 25, 1997 5–1 @ Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 20–21–7
49 L January 30, 1997 3–5 @ Los Angeles Kings (1996–97) 20–22–7
50 L January 31, 1997 3–6 @ Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1996–97) 20–23–7
51 L February 5, 1997 2–5 @ New York Rangers (1996–97) 20–24–7
52 W February 6, 1997 5–3 @ Boston Bruins (1996–97) 21–24–7
53 L February 8, 1997 2–3 OT @ Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 21–25–7
54 L February 12, 1997 2–3 New Jersey Devils (1996–97) 21–26–7
55 L February 13, 1997 0–4 @ New Jersey Devils (1996–97) 21–27–7
56 W February 15, 1997 2–1 Ottawa Senators (1996–97) 22–27–7
57 L February 16, 1997 2–4 @ Ottawa Senators (1996–97) 22–28–7
58 T February 19, 1997 2–2 OT @ Philadelphia Flyers (1996–97) 22–28–8
59 W February 21, 1997 7–2 New York Rangers (1996–97) 23–28–8
60 W February 22, 1997 2–0 Washington Capitals (1996–97) 24–28–8
61 T February 26, 1997 2–2 OT Chicago Blackhawks (1996–97) 24–28–9
62 L February 28, 1997 2–3 San Jose Sharks (1996–97) 24–29–9
63 L March 2, 1997 2–5 Philadelphia Flyers (1996–97) 24–30–9
64 W March 5, 1997 2–0 Calgary Flames (1996–97) 25–30–9
65 W March 7, 1997 2–0 Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 26–30–9
66 T March 8, 1997 1–1 OT @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1996–97) 26–30–10
67 W March 12, 1997 6–3 Boston Bruins (1996–97) 27–30–10
68 L March 13, 1997 0–6 @ New Jersey Devils (1996–97) 27–31–10
69 L March 15, 1997 2–4 Edmonton Oilers (1996–97) 27–32–10
70 L March 16, 1997 3–5 @ Washington Capitals (1996–97) 27–33–10
71 L March 20, 1997 1–4 @ St. Louis Blues (1996–97) 27–34–10
72 L March 21, 1997 0–2 @ Dallas Stars (1996–97) 27–35–10
73 L March 25, 1997 0–4 Colorado Avalanche (1996–97) 27–36–10
74 W March 27, 1997 5–2 @ Tampa Bay Lightning (1996–97) 28–36–10
75 W March 29, 1997 2–1 New York Rangers (1996–97) 29–36–10
76 L April 2, 1997 1–4 Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 29–37–10
77 T April 3, 1997 5–5 OT @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1996–97) 29–37–11
78 W April 5, 1997 4–1 @ Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 30–37–11
79 W April 7, 1997 4–2 Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 31–37–11
80 L April 9, 1997 4–5 @ Ottawa Senators (1996–97) 31–38–11
81 L April 11, 1997 4–6 @ New York Islanders (1996–97) 31–39–11
82 W April 13, 1997 2–1 Tampa Bay Lightning (1996–97) 32–39–11

[1]

Playoffs[edit | edit source]

Player stats[edit | edit source]

Regular season[edit | edit source]

Scoring
Player Pos GP G A Pts PIM +/- PPG SHG GWG
Sanderson, GeoffGeoff Sanderson LW 82 36 31 67 29 -9 12 1 4
Cassels, AndrewAndrew Cassels C 81 22 44 66 46 -16 8 0 2
Primeau, KeithKeith Primeau C 75 26 25 51 161 -3 6 3 2
Dineen, KevinKevin Dineen RW 78 19 29 48 141 -6 8 0 5
Emerson, NelsonNelson Emerson RW 66 9 29 38 34 -21 2 1 2
Rice, StevenSteven Rice RW 78 21 14 35 59 -11 5 0 2
Wesley, GlenGlen Wesley D 68 6 26 32 40 0 3 1 0
O'Neill, JeffJeff O'Neill RW 72 14 16 30 40 -24 2 1 2
Kapanen, SamiSami Kapanen RW 45 13 12 25 2 6 3 0 2
Kron, RobertRobert Kron LW 68 10 12 22 10 -18 2 0 4
Ranheim, PaulPaul Ranheim LW 67 10 11 21 18 -13 0 3 1
Leschyshyn, CurtisCurtis Leschyshyn D 64 4 13 17 30 -19 1 1 1
Chiasson, SteveSteve Chiasson D 18 3 11 14 7 -10 3 0 0
Burt, AdamAdam Burt D 71 2 11 13 79 -13 0 0 0
Manderville, KentKent Manderville C 44 6 5 11 18 3 0 0 1
Diduck, GeraldGerald Diduck D 56 1 10 11 40 -9 0 0 1
Coffey, PaulPaul Coffey D 20 3 5 8 18 0 1 0 1
Haller, KevinKevin Haller D 35 2 6 8 48 -11 0 0 0
Featherstone, GlenGlen Featherstone D 41 2 5 7 87 0 0 0 0
Nikolishin, AndreiAndrei Nikolishin C 12 2 5 7 2 -2 0 0 0
Godynyuk, AlexanderAlexander Godynyuk D 55 1 6 7 41 -10 0 0 1
King, DerekDerek King LW 12 3 3 6 2 0 1 0 0
Janssens, MarkMark Janssens C 54 2 4 6 90 -10 0 0 0
Malik, MarekMarek Malik D 47 1 5 6 50 5 0 0 1
Grimson, StuStu Grimson LW 75 2 2 4 218 -7 0 0 0
Brown, KevinKevin Brown RW 11 0 4 4 6 -6 0 0 0
Domenichelli, HnatHnat Domenichelli LW 13 2 1 3 7 -4 1 0 0
Chase, KellyKelly Chase RW 28 1 2 3 122 2 0 0 0
Murray, ChrisChris Murray RW 8 1 1 2 10 1 0 0 0
Burke, SeanSean Burke G 51 0 2 2 14 0 0 0 0
Daniels, JeffJeff Daniels LW 10 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 0
Pratt, NolanNolan Pratt D 9 0 2 2 6 0 0 0 0
Glynn, BrianBrian Glynn D 1 1 0 1 2 2 0 0 0
Shanahan, BrendanBrendan Shanahan LW 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
Martins, SteveSteve Martins C 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Muzzatti, JasonJason Muzzatti G 31 0 1 1 18 0 0 0 0
Brown, JeffJeff Brown D 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Giguere, Jean-SebastienJean-Sebastien Giguere G 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
McBain, JasonJason McBain D 6 0 0 0 0 -4 0 0 0
Goaltending
Player MIN GP W L T GA GAA SO SA SV SV%
Burke, SeanSean Burke 2985 51 22 22 6 134 2.69 4 1560 1426 .914
Muzzatti, JasonJason Muzzatti 1591 31 9 13 5 91 3.43 0 815 724 .888
Giguere, Jean-SebastienJean-Sebastien Giguere 394 8 1 4 0 24 3.65 0 201 177 .881
Team: 4970 82 32 39 11 249 3.01 4 2576 2327 .903

[2]

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/- = Plus-minus PIM = Penalty minutes; PPG = Power-play goals; SHG = Short-handed goals; GWG = Game-winning goals;
      MIN = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GA = Goals against; GAA = Goals-against average; SO = Shutouts; SA=Shots Against; SV=Shots saved; SV% = Save Percentage;

Awards and records[edit | edit source]

Records[edit | edit source]

Milestones[edit | edit source]

Transactions[edit | edit source]

The Whalers were involved in the following transactions during the 1996–97 season.

Trades[edit | edit source]

Free agents acquired/lost[edit | edit source]

Player Former team
Player New team

Draft picks[edit | edit source]

Hartford's picks at the 1996 NHL Entry Draft

Round # Player Position Nationality College/Junior/Club Team (League)

Farm teams[edit | edit source]

American Hockey League[edit | edit source]

ECHL[edit | edit source]

Roster[edit | edit source]

THIS IS AN INCOMPLETE LIST

Hartford Whalers
Goaltenders

Defensemen

Wingers

Centers


  • GM:
  • Coach:

Departure from Hartford[edit | edit source]

In 1994, Compuware founder Peter Karmanos purchased the Whalers. Karmanos pledged to keep the Whalers in Hartford for four years. Frustrated with lackluster attendance and corporate support, he announced in 1996 that if the Whalers were unable to sell at least 11,000 season tickets for the 1996–97 season, he would likely move the team. Furthermore, ownership only made season tickets available in full-season (41-game) packages, eliminating the popular five- and ten-game "mini plans," in a strategy largely designed to spur purchases from wealthier corporations and individuals. Sales were underwhelming at the beginning of the campaign, and at the end of the 1995–96 season it was still unknown whether the Whalers would stay in Connecticut or move. However, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign, and the creative efforts of many fans (who pooled together resources to purchase some of the full-season packages collectively) the Whalers announced that they would stay in Connecticut for the 1996–97 season.

In early 1996, negotiations between the Whalers and Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland to build a new $147.5 million arena seemed to be going well. However, negotiations fell apart when Rowland and the State refused Karmanos' demand to reimburse the Whalers for up to $45 million in losses during the three years the new arena was to be built. As a result, the team announced on March 26, 1997, that they would leave Hartford, one of the few times that a team announced it would leave its current city without having already selected a new city. Many suspected that Governor John G. Rowland did not want to keep the Whalers, as he harbored hopes of instead landing an NFL franchise. Ideally, Rowland wanted to use the state's resources to build a new stadium to lure the New England Patriots to Connecticut and did not have serious intentions of building an NHL arena for the Whalers.[3] [4] [5]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Relocated and Defunct NHL Teams
Relocated Atlanta Flames · Atlanta Thrashers · Colorado Rockies · Hartford Whalers · Kansas City Scouts · Minnesota North Stars · Quebec Nordiques · Winnipeg Jets
Defunct Oakland / California (Golden) Seals · Cleveland Barons · Hamilton Tigers · Montreal Maroons · Montreal Wanderers · New York/Brooklyn Americans · Ottawa Senators (original) · Philadelphia Quakers · Pittsburgh Pirates · Quebec Bulldogs · St. Louis Eagles



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