ALL-TIME ROSTER: MONTREAL CANADIENS
Continuing with the All-Time Roster series, I will now look at perhaps the most storied franchise in the NHL, and certainly the most successful with 24 Stanley Cup Championships – the Montreal Canadiens. This will be a tricky one, even more so than the Oilers, given just how successful les Habitants (“the Habs”) have been over the decades – they have an absolute shit-tonne of great players. Here we go.
SIDE NOTE TO MONTREAL’S FORWARDS: This stunning group of players has a combined:
- 4510 goals and 9836 points in 10,155 games (a remarkable figure for 13 players – only one of whom (Naslund) played in the high scoring 1980s, and a couple of whom played in the much lower scoring 20s and 30s.)
- 29 NHL 1st All-Star Team Selections.
- 25 NHL 2nd All-Star Team Selections.
- 74 Stanley Cup Champions.
- 10 Art Ross Trophy winners.
- 10 Hart Trophy winners.
- Numerous league goal-scoring leaders, from before a formal award (now the Rocket Richard Trophy) was handed out.
STEVE SHUTT—-JEAN BELIVEAU—-GUY LAFLEUR
- Stats in a Canadien’s Uniform:
-Shutt: 871 Games, 408 G – 368 A – 776 P
-Beliveau: 1125 Games, 507 G – 712 A – 1219 P
-Lafleur: 961 Games, 518 G – 728 A – 1246 P
- Shutt probably isn’t the first name that more casual fans of the game will instantly recognise, but boy was he a star for the Canadiens during the 1970s. Drafted 4th Overall by Montreal in the 1972 Draft, Shutt would post five 30+ goal seasons, three 40+ goal seasons, and led the NHL with a 60 goal season in 1976/77 – a record for left-wingers in a single season until Luc Robitaille of the LA Kings scored 63 in 1992/93 (and since broken again by Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, when he scored 65 goals in 07/08). That 60 goal season was also the only time in his career that Shutt posted north of 100 points, putting up 105. He was definitely more of a goal scorer than a playmaker, but what a goal scorer he was! He played in three NHL All-Star Games as a Hab, and was named to the NHL 1st All-Star Team once (1977), and the second NHL All-Star Team twice (78, 80). He won 5 Stanley Cups with Montreal, first in 1973 and then 4 straight from 1976 to 1979, and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- I don’t think there are enough good things that can be said about Jean Beliveau. He is pretty much known as the consummate Canadien. Signed by Montreal at a young age, he made an impact pretty quickly after turning pro (that’s a story in itself) during a short call-up in 1952-53 when he scored 5 goals in 3 games. His first full season in 54-55 saw him blossom into an NHL superstar, when he put up 37 goals and 73 points in 70 games, plus a further 13 points in 12 playoff games.
- Beliveau’s achievements as a Canadien are as follows:
-five 10+ goal seasons, five 20+ goal seasons, six 30+ goal seasons, two 40+ goal seasons;
-12 seasons over the point-per-game rate, including highs of 45 goals and 91 points in 1958/59;
-79 goals and 176 points in 162 playoff games;
-14 NHL All-Star Games;
-named to six NHL First All-Star Teams;
-named to four NHL Second All-Star Teams;
-tied for longest serving Captain in Canadien’s history (with Saku Koivu);
-second all-time in Canadien’s history for points, assists & games played, and third in goals;
-Art Ross Trophy (1956) for leading the NHL in points;
-Conn Smythe Trophy (1965) as Playoff MVP;
-two Hart Memorial Trophies (56, 64) as league MVP
-10 (!!!!) Stanley Cups as a player (56-60, 65, 66, 68, 69, 71)
-after retiring became an executive with the Canadien’s – his name appears a further 7 seven times on the Stanley Cup (73, 76-79, 86, 93), meaning his name is on the Cup a record SEVENTEEN TIMES!!!
-is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and had his number 4 co-retired along with Aurele Joliat.
- Guy Lafleur was the guy during the 1970s, the biggest scoring star on the planet, although he frequently found himself battling Marcel Dionne – who was drafted 2nd Overall in 1971 by Detroit, directly after Montreal drafted Lafleur (using their usual wheeling and dealing) – for the scoring lead. “The Flower”, or “le Demon Blond” as he was often known, was extremely popular, and was a both a stunning skater and a stunning scorer. Whilst he eventually left the team in a somewhat acrimonious manner – he retired in 1985 due to clashing with former linemate and then Coach Jacques Lemaire over defensive responsibilities, and the team refused to trade him – he remains to this day one of the most exciting and popular players ever to don the Habs sweater.
- Lafleur’s achievements as a Canadien are as follows:
-never scoring less than 21 goals in a full season (in 13 full seasons);
-scoring at least 50 goals in six straight seasons from 1974/75 to 1979/80, including a high of 60 goals in 1977/78;
-scoring at least 100 points in six straight seasons from 1974/75 to 1979/80, including a high of 136 points in 1976/77, a franchise record;
-scored 133 points in 124 playoff games, including a high of 26 points in 14 games in 1977;
-won five Stanley Cups, the first in 1973, followed by four straight from 1976 to 1979;
-won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1977 and 1978;
-was the NHL’s goal leader in 1978;
-won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP in 1977;
-won the Art Ross Trophy as leading scorer in 1976, ’77 and ’78;
-won the Lester B. Pearson Award as the players’ player of the year three times from 1976 to 1978;
-fastest player to reach 1000 career points at the time, doing so in only 720 games (Gretzky, Lemieux and others have since broken that record);
-first in Canadien’s history in points and assists, second to Maurice Richard in goals;
-member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and has his jersey retired by the Canadiens;
-named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1980.
AURELE JOLIAT—-HENRI RICHARD—-MAURICE RICHARD
- Stats in a Canadien’s Uniform:
-Joliat: 655 Games, 270 G – 190 A – 460 P
-H. Richard: 1256 Games, 358 G – 688 A – 1046 P
-M. Richard: 978 Games, 544 G – 421 A – 965 P
- Going with a player like Joliat is going back a bit, but he is more than worthy of the honour of making this list. He played for Montreal for 16 seasons, from 1922 to 1938, and despite his small stature (5’7″, 136 lbs) was a star for the team. Originally awarded to Montreal as compensation for the Saskatoon Sheiks of the WCHL signing Newsy Lalonde, at the time considered the greatest hockey player of all time, Joliat would soon turn Habs supporters’ minds by helping the Canadiens to the 1924 Stanley Cup, also winning two more in 1930 and ’31. He was noted as strong defensively, and never backed down from a confrontation despite his size. He led the NHL in goals with 29 in 1925. By the time of his retirement, he was 3rd All-Time in NHL goals, and in 1931 was named to the inaugural NHL 1st All-Star Team, whilst being an NHL 2nd Team All-Star in ’32, ’34, and ’35. He won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1934. What is remarkable about Joliat is that he is still 9th all-time on the Canadien’s career goal scoring list despite playing in an era when seasons were no longer than 48 games. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947, and had his number 4 jersey co-retired with Jean Beliveau’s.
- Henri Richard, known as “The Pocket Rocket” due to being the younger brother of (and being quite a bit shorter than!) scoring sensation Maurice “Rocket” Richard, became a star in his own right for the Habs, playing for Montreal for 20 years. First amongst his achievements as a Hab, and as an NHL star in general, is that he holds the record for most Stanley Cup Championships as a player, winning it all an unbelievable 11 times – the first in 1956 and the last in 1973. Unlike his goal-scoring brother, Henri was more of a playmaker, and he twice led the NHL in assists (’58 and ’63). He hit the point per game mark three times in his career, and hovered near it several more times, as well as having eight 20+ goal seasons and reaching 30 goals in 1960. He had 129 points in 180 playoff games, and scored the Cup winning goal in overtime of Game 6 of the ’66 Finals against Detroit. Henri was named to the NHL 1st All-Star Team in 1958 and the 2nd All-Star Team in ’59. He served as Captain of the Canadien’s from ’71 to ’75, is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and had his number 16 retired by the Habs.
- Maurice Richard was the polar opposite of his much younger brother, in his role as an aggressive goal scorer for 18 years for the Canadiens. He is still highly revered today, as he in 1945 he became the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in one season, and he did it in exactly 50 games. The NHL’s Leading Goal Scorer is now awarded the Rocket Richard Trophy, to give you an indication of just how good this guy was. He was highly skilled, and extremely fast (hence the nickname, “The Rocket”), and incredibly fiery on the ice. Opponents were quite literally afraid of him, as he was also a formidable fighter. He spent much of his time in the league battling with Gordie Howe of the Red Wings for the league scoring title, and also in the Stanley Cup Finals in which they faced each other four times. There were many off-ice incidents, such as his criticism of Clarence Campbell in a newspaper column, and the “Richard Riots” as a result of his suspension for punching a linesman, but he remained one of the top players in the league throughout his career. He formed part of a prolific line with fellow stars Elmer Lach and Toe Blake – they were known as the “Punch Line”, won 2 Stanley Cups together, finished 1-2-3 in scoring (Lach, Richard, Blake respectively) in 1945, and formed the entire forward line of the NHL 1st Team All-Stars that same season.
- His achievements are as follows:
-50 goals in a season (in only 50 games) in 1945, in only his second year in the NHL;
-five seasons of 30+ goals, five seasons of 20+ goals, and three seasons of 40+ goals; he also scored between 15 and 19 goals in each of the last 3 seasons of his career;
-four seasons of 70+ points, and seven seasons where he was at or over the point per game rate;
-five seasons with over 100 penalty minutes;
-126 points (82 goals) in 133 playoff games;
-eight Stanley Cup Championships;
-scored 5 goals in a 5-1 victory over Toronto in the 1944 playoffs, en route to the Stanley Cup;
-scored 5 goals and 3 assists in a 9-1 win over Detroit in 1944 (whilst apparently exhausted from moving house that day, and allegedly one of the goals was scored whilst an opposing player literally jumped on his back!);
-Captained Montreal to four of the five straight cup wins (’56-’60)
-won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1947;
-was named to the 1st All-Star Team eight times, and to the 2nd Team six times;
-played in every All-Star Game from 1947 to 1959;
-first player in NHL history to reach 500 career goals, leading the league in goal scoring 5 times;
-retired as the all-time leading scorer in NHL history
-was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1961, and had his number 9 jersey retired by the Habs.
MATS NASLUND—-HOWIE MORENZ—-BERNIE GEOFFRION
- Stats in a Canadien’s Uniform:
-Naslund: 617 Games, 243 G – 369 A – 612 P
-Morenz: 460 Games, 257 G – 160 A – 417 P
-Geoffrion: 766 Games, 371 G – 388 A – 759 P
- Swedish player Mats Naslund was a second round pick by Montreal in the 1979 Draft – perhaps the best draft of all time (given such names as Bourque, Messier, Anderson, Gartner, Goulet – all future Hall of Famers – were drafted, as well as a huge number of other impact NHLers), and he deserves to be mentioned alongside such illustrious company. In his rookie season of 1982/83, he put up 71 points in 74 games, and went on to have seasons of 64 points, 79 points, 110 points, 80 points, 83 points, 84 points, and finally 41 points. He had two 40 goal seasons during that span from 1982 to 1990. During the high scoring 80s, Naslund might not have been amongst the absolutely dominant scoring stars, but he was damn sure at the top of the pile of the next lot of stars.
- He left following the 1990 season to return to Europe, although he did return briefly in 1994/95 for the Boston Bruins, putting up a respectable 22 points in 34 games at the age of 36. As a Hab, he was elected to the NHL All-Rookie Team (’83), was named to the NHL All-Star Game four times, was named to the NHL Second All-Star Team once (’86), won the Lady Byng Trophy for Gentlemanly Play (With a High Standard of Play) in 1988, and won the Stanley Cup in 1986 (he lead the Habs in scoring during that run). He’s also notable as being the first European-born player to play for Montreal (hat-tip to Wikipedia for that!), and came to be known as “The Little Viking” to Habs fans due to his Nordic background and small size. He remains to this day the last member of the Canadien’s to reach 100 points in a season. He’s also a member of the exclusive “Triple Gold Club”, being one of the few hockey players to have been a member of Gold Medal winning teams at the Olympics (1994) and the World Championships (1991) as well as the Stanley Cup (1986).
- A small player in stature but not in ability, Howie Morenz was a legitimate superstar in the NHL, perhaps one of the first. Out of his 15 NHL seasons, he finished in the Top 10 in scoring 10 times, and led the Montreal Canadiens in scoring (points and goals) 7 straight times, whilst winning 3 Stanley Cups – all with the Habs. He was a brilliant skater and tremendously skilled. He scored 20+ goals 5 times, had one 30 goal season, and one 40 goal season (in just 44 games in 1929/30), incredible output for that day and age. As a Canadien, he won the Art Ross Trophy for Top Point Scorer twice (’28, ’31), the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP three times (’28, ’31, ’32), was named to the 1st All-Star Team twice (’31, ’32) and the 2nd All-Star Team once (1933) as well as his three Stanley Cups (’24, ’29, ’31).
- He was traded to Chicago in 1934 following a drop in production, had an average couple of seasons with them (and a mediocre stint for the NY Rangers), and finally returned to Montreal in 1936. He displayed more ability than he had in years, putting up 20 points in 30 games, but tragedy struck on January 28th 1937. Whilst being chased by Chicago d-man Earl Seibert, Morenz tripped and crashed into the boards, his skate getting caught, and Seibert crashed on top of him. The sound of Morenz’s leg snapping was apparently heard throughout the rink. He was rushed to hospital, where it was found he had four fractures in his leg. There was an outpouring of support for Morenz, but he became depressed being unable to move from his hospital bed and as such was unable to help his team, who had struggled since his injury. He believed he would never play hockey again, and doctors determined he’d had a nervous breakdown. On March 8th 1937, he suffered a heart attack, and died minutes before his wife arrived. He was just 34. The league was in shock, and tributes were held in arenas around North America. The Habs retired his No.7 jersey later that year, the first Hab to ever receive that honour, and the second ever All-Star Game was held in his honour. He was among the first group of players ever inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945. He died as the league’s all-time leading point scorer, with 472 points, and is credited as being one of the first players to help grow the game in the United States.
- Bernie Geoffrion, who just happened to be Howie Morenz’s son-in-law, was a star player in his own right, and was part of the incredible Montreal team of the 1950s that featured such players as Rocket Richard and Jean Beliveau. He was often overshadowed by those players, particularly Richard, and had an odd relationship with the NHL and the Montreal fans, who even booed him for scoring whilst fan-favourite Richard was suspended. He was snubbed by the NHL for the 1st All-Star Team in 1955, dropped to the 2nd Team in favour of Richard despite the fact he led the entire league in scoring that year, which angered him no end. He was further angered by the fact that in 1964 Beliveau was made captain instead of him, despite the fact that Beliveau had not previously been an Assistant Captain, and went so far as to retire because of it, believing he had given all he had to the team without much recognition for it. Yet at the end of the day, Geoffrion was a superstar player for the Habs and is fondly remembered by fans. He is particularly remembered for claiming to be the inventor of the slap-shot style of shooting the puck, earning the nickname Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion for his overpowering shot.
- As a Canadien, Geoffrion had the following achievements:
-three 30+ goal seasons, eight 20+ goal seasons, and one 50 goal season (only the second player at that point, after Rocket Richard, ever to hit that mark, in 1961).
-two 40+ point seasons, four 50+ point seasons, two 60+ point seasons, two 70+ point seasons, and a 95 point season in 1961.
-Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1952
-played in 11 NHL All-Star Games.
-Named to NHL 1st All-Star Team once (1961), and to the 2nd All-Star Team twice (’55, ’60).
-won two Art Ross Trophies as NHL leading scorer (’55, ’61).
-Hart Trophy as League MVP in 1961.
-Six Stanley Cup Championships, including 5 straight from 1956-60.
-Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
-No.5 jersey retired by the Canadien’s in 2006, co-incidentally on the day that Geoffrion died of cancer.
-his Grandson Blake Geoffrion is currently a fairly highly regarded prospect of the Montreal Canadien’s.
DICKIE MOORE—-PETE MAHOVLICH—-YVAN COURNOYER
- Stats in a Canadien’s Uniform:
-Moore: 654 Games, 254 G – 340 A – 594 P
-P. Mahovlich: 581 Games, 223 G – 346 A – 569 P
-Cournoyer: 968 Games, 428 G – 435 A – 863 P
- Dickie Moore spent 12 years, from 1951-63, playing left-wing for the Montreal Canadiens, known for having a great shot and great skills. As a Canadien, he put up three 20+ goal seasons, two 30+ goal seasons and a 41 goal season (1959), as well as three 50+ point seasons, two 60+ point seasons, an 80 point season, and a 96 point season in 1959 – breaking Gordie Howe’s previous record (95) at the time for points in a single season, a record that stood for 7 years until Bobby Hull posted 97 points in 1966. Moore was named twice to the NHL 1st All-Star Team (’58, ’59), the NHL 2nd All-Star Team once (1961), played in six NHL All-Star Games, won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading point scorer twice (’58, ’59), was part of six Stanley Cup-winning teams (1953, 1956-60), was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974, and had his No.12 jersey retired by the Canadien’s at the same time as Yvan Cournoyer had his No.12 retired.
- Originally the 2nd Overall Pick in the 1963 draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Pete Mahovlich – brother to NHL superstar Frank Mahovlich – struggled to make much of an impact in the NHL at first, playing just 82 games and registering only 19 points up until 1969, spending the rest of his time in various minor leagues – he even considered quitting the game due to his lack of success. Even after being traded to Montreal in 1969, he didn’t look like he had the makings of being an NHL star, posting only 17 points in 36 games. However, in 1970, he took off and didn’t look back. He scored 35 goals and 61 points that year, his first full NHL season. As a Canadien he posted five 30+ goal seasons, three seasons of 60+ points, one 70+ point season, one 100+ point season, and lastly his best year of 117 points in 1974/75. Whilst he was traded to Pittsburgh partway through the 1976/77 season and later returned to the Red Wings for a couple of years, it is as a Hab that he is most fondly remembered. He was a massively popular player with fans and team-mates alike. Peter was huge at 6’5″, but was known far more for his skill than any kind of physicality. He won 4 Stanley Cups with Montreal, mostly playing on the top scoring line with Steve Shutt and Guy Lafleur, and played in two All-Star Games (1971, 1976). He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- The diminutive Cournoyer, who stood at only 5’7″, was affectionately known as “The Roadrunner” due to his blazing speed and small size, was one of the most important members of the Canadiens for 15 years. He started with Montreal in 1963, initially as a powerplay specialist, but didn’t really have much of a chance until a coaching change in 1968 allowed Cournoyer to break out and become a scoring star. As a Canadien, he posted six 20+ goal seasons, two 30+ goal seasons, and four 40+ goal seasons (including a career-high 47 in 1971/72), and scored at around the point-per-game mark every season from 1967/68 to 1976/77 and retired as the 4th all-time scoring Hab; he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP in 1973 after scoring 15 goals and 10 assists in just 17 games; he also won ten (!!) Stanley Cups as a player, second only to Henri Richard in NHL history – in ’65, ’66, ’68, ’69, ’71, ’73, ’76, ’77, ’78, ’79. He had 127 points in 147 playoff games, and was named to the NHL 2nd All-Star Team four times. He also served as Montreal’s captain from 1975-1979, before retiring due to back issues. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982, and had his No.12 jersey retired by Montreal.
- Frank, or “The Big M” as he was known, was one of the primary superstars of the NHL from the year he arrived in Toronto in 1957, and throughout the 1960s. He is primarily known for his time as a Maple Leaf, followed by a strong three seasons for Detroit from 1968 to 1971. Before coming to Montreal, he had already won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1958, played in 11 All-Star Games, had been selected to the 1st All-Star Team twice, the 2nd All-Star Team six times, had won four Stanley Cups and posted a lot of goals and points. By the time he reached Montreal in 1971, he didn’t seem to have lost a step, putting up 129 goals and 310 points in just 263 games, and won two more Stanley Cups (1971, ’73). He was also named to the 1st All-Star Team in 1973. He actually had three of the highest scoring years of his career as a Hab, putting up seasons of 96 points (a career high) in ’72, 93 points in ’73, and 80 points in ’74.
LARRY ROBINSON—-GUY LAPOINTE
- Stats in a Canadien’s Uniform:
-Robinson: 1202 Games, 197 G – 686 A – 883 P
-Lapointe: 777 Games, 166 G – 406 A – 572 P
- Larry Robinson, known affectionately as “Big Bird” due to his 6’4″ 225lb frame, legitimately belongs in the conversation of the top blueliners ever to play the game. He was a great skater despite his size, and a great leader on the dominant Montreal Canadiens teams of the 1970s. His career started slowly, posting only 6 points then 26 points in his first two seasons in the NHL, but exploded after that with 61 points – elite numbers for a defenceman. As a Canadien, he had 4 seasons of 40+ points, three seasons of 50+ points, four seasons of 60+ points, one 70+ point season, and two 80+ point seasons. He also scored 10+ goals in 12 seasons out of 17 as a Hab. He finished his career in LA, but will always be remembered as a Canadien.
- He earned the following accolades in his time in Montreal:
-one Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP (1978);
-two Norris Trophies as the NHL’s Best Defender (’77, ’80);
-named to the 1st All-Star Team three times (’77, ’79, ’80);
-named to the 2nd All-Star Team three times (’78, ’81, ’86);
-played in 10 NHL All-Star Games;
-scored 134 points in 203 playoff games for Montreal, remarkable for a defender;
-holds the NHL record for career plus/minus at +730 (including a mark of +120 in 1976/77, second only to Bobby Orr’s single season record of +124);
-holds the NHL record for playing 20 consecutive seasons in the playoffs, 17 of them with Montreal;
-won six Stanley Cup Championships;
-was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and had his No.19 jersey retired by the Habs.
- Forming a formidable pairing, perhaps one of the league’s best, with Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe was a brilliant defenceman from the time of his first full NHL season in 1970/71, to the time he left Montreal in 1982. He was smaller than Big Bird by about 4 inches, but was known for thundering body-checks, and had a booming shot.
- His career in Montreal saw him earn the following accolades:
-posted three 40+ point seasons, three 50+ point seasons, one 60+ point season, and two 70+ point seasons;
-posted 9 consecutive seasons (’70-’79) of double-digit goals, including three seasons of 20+ goals;
-this includes what is still the Canadien’s record for most goals in a single season by a defenceman with 28 in 1974/75, and the Canadien’s rookie record for goals by a defenceman with 15 in 1970/71;
-was named to the 1st All-Star Team once (’73), and to the 2nd All-Star Team three times (’75-’77);
-won six Stanley Cup Championships;
-was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
DOUG HARVEY—-SERGE SAVARD
- Stats in an Canadien’s Uniform:
-Harvey: 890 Games, 76 G – 371 A – 447 P
-Savard: 917 Games, 100 G – 312 A – 412 P
- When you have a guy regarded as one of the greatest ever to play the position as one of your alumni, it’s pretty obvious he’ll make the All-Time Roster. Doug Harvey, like Eddie Shore before him and Bobby Orr after him, would absolutely revolutionise the defence position. He was one of the first blueliners to use his speed and passing skill to make an impact offensively – previously a d-man was expected to defend, not much more. This helped the Montreal teams of the 1950s become as high-scoring as they were, with Harvey providing break-out passes to the skilled forwards. He was a true superstar, mentioned in the same breath as Richard, Beliveau, and Geoffrion from that era. However, he did end up straining his relationship with Canadien’s management by organising the first Players Association, and they traded him to the NY Rangers – where he continued his dominance. He went through some tough times after he retired, but eventually made-up with the Canadien’s and became a scout for them in 1985, winning one final Stanley Cup in 1986.
- As a Canadien, he did the following:
-had five seasons of 20+ points, three seasons of 30+ points, three seasons of 40+ points, and a career high of 50 points in 1956/57.
-named to the NHL 1st All-Star Team 9 times, including 7 straight from 1952-58 (he was again named as a Ranger in 1962);
-named to the NHL 2nd All Star Team in 1959;
-won an unprecedented 7 Norris Trophies as the League’s best d-man, 6 of them as a Canadien, and in a span of 8 years;
-captain of the Montreal Canadien’s from 1960-61;
-won six Stanley Cup Championships as a player, and one as a scout;
-was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and had his No.2 jersey retired by Montreal (not until 1985 however, due to the fallout between him and Canadien’s management).
- A big skilled blueliner who played 17 seasons for Montreal, Savard was just as important to the Habs defence corps of the 1970s as Robinson and Lapointe were. He began his NHL career with Montreal in 1966, and didn’t leave until 1981, following numerous personal and team accomplishments. He was particularly known for his “Savardian Spin-o-Rama”, a quick pivoting turn whilst with the puck which was great for evading the opposition – it is most commonly attributed to forward Denis Savard (no relation) of the Chicago Blackhawks, but it originated with Serge.
- As a Canadien:
-four seasons with 30+ points, three seasons with 40+ points, and one season of 60 points;
-one Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP (1969), in only his second NHL season;
-named to the 2nd All Star Team in 1979;
-won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1979 for Perseverance & Dedication to Hockey;
-won eight Stanley Cups as a player (’68 ,’69, ’71, ’73, ’76, ’77, ’78, ’79);
-named to the Hall of Fame and had his No.18 jersey retired by Montreal;
-later became General Manager of the Canadiens, and won two more Stanley Cups in this role (1986, 1993).
JACQUES LAPERRIERE—-CHRIS CHELIOS
- Stats in an Canadien’s Uniform:
-Laperriere: 691 Games, 40 G – 242 A – 282 P
-Chelios: 402 Games, 72 G – 237 A – 309 P
- A member of the Canadiens for 12 years, Laperriere was integral to the defence from 1962 to 1974. He was tall, mobile and had a huge reach, and as such was a primary obstacle for opposing forwards. He retired in ’74 due to recurring knee injuries, but had already achieved so much as a Hab. These achievements were:
-Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year (1964);
-twice named to the NHL 2nd All-Star Team (1964 – the first time a rookie was named to the team – and 1970);
-twice named to the NHL 1st All-Star Team (1965, ’66);
-played in 5 NHL All-Star Games;
-won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s Best Defenceman (1966);
-led the NHL in Plus/Minus in 1973;
-had four seasons of 30+ points, and five seasons of 20+ points;
-won six Stanley Cups as a player;
-inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame;
-won two more Stanley Cups with Montreal as an Assistant Coach in 1986 and 1993.
- One of the most polarizing players to play in the NHL in the last 30 years, Chelios was a combination of great skill and vicious physicality, which often crossed the line into dirty play; it’s worth me telling of his entire NHL career here, albeit briefly. Selected by Montreal in the 1981 NHL Draft, he made the NHL in 1984 and didn’t look back for another 26 years. Whilst he may be better remembered for his time with both the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings, he was brilliant in his time as a Canadien. One of his most notorious moments as a Hab however, came in the 1989 playoffs against Philadelphia in the Conference Finals: Chelios laid a huge, dirty hit on Brian Propp that gave Propp a serious concussion; the Flyers eventually retaliated in Game 6 when the Flyers’ star goalie Ron Hextall left his net to attack Chelios.
- He was traded to Chicago the following year, and went on to lead them to the Stanley Cup Final in 1992 (losing to the Penguins), continued scoring many points, won the 1993 and 1996 Norris Trophies, being named captain of the Blackhawks from 1995 to 1999, winning the Hockey World Cup in 1996 and being named to the All-Star Tournament Team.
- He was then traded to Detroit in March 1999, and despite being at the age of 37 continued his high level of play, leading the league in Plus/Minus in 2002, being named to the 1st All-Star Team that year as well as winning the Stanley Cup (his second), winning a silver medal at the ’02 Olympics, and competed as captain of Team USA in the ’06 Olympics (his third Olympics, the first being in 1984). Still playing for the Red Wings, albeit in a reduced role, he became the 2nd oldest player in NHL history at nearly 46 years old in January 2008, and that year also broke the NHL record (set by Patrick Roy) for most playoff games with 248; he won another Stanley Cup that year, becoming the oldest player ever to win it. The following year he was a finalist for the Bill Masterton Trophy for Perseverance and Dedication to Hockey. In 2009, the Red Wings didn’t re-sign Chelios, but he got a 25 game try-out with the Atlanta Thrasher’s AHL team at the time, the Chicago Wolves, which led to a 2-way Contract with Atlanta. He was finally recalled in March 2010, and played his final 7 games in the NHL after a truly remarkable career.
- His longevity was attributed by many to be down to Chelios’ dedication to fitness: he reportedly took exercise bikes into steam rooms and would ride them in there for long periods at a time!
- His achievements as a Montreal Canadien are as follows:
-two seasons of 30+ points, one 40+ point season, two 60+ point seasons, and one 73 point season;
-career high of 20 goals in 1987/88;
-783 penalty minutes;
-68 points in 99 Playoff Games;
-named to NHL All-Rookie Team in 1985;
-played in 2 All-Star Games (’85, ’90);
-won Norris Trophy as NHL’s Best Defenceman in 1989;
-won the Stanley Cup in 1986.
- Known as “Butch” Bouchard, Emile was a big tough defenceman, but earned a reputation for being a clean hitter, despite his hard body checking, whilst also being a skilled passer and strong leader. He played for Montreal from 1941 to 1956, won four Stanley Cups, was captain of the team for 8 years, made the NHL All-Star Team four times, and posted 193 points in 785 games. He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He is regarded as being one of the primary figures responsible in turning around the Montreal franchise, which was struggling in the early ’40s.
- Stats in a Canadien’s Uniform:
-Roy: 551 GP, 289 Wins, 175 Losses, 66 Ties, 16 Overtime Losses
- Saint Patrick, as he came to be known, was a superstar from the moment he stepped into the NHL. Regarded as the greatest goalie of all time, he played his first game in 1985, replacing starting goalie Doug Soetaert in the 3rd Period and not allowing a goal to earn his first win. In his first full season with Montreal the following year, Roy played 47 games and won the starting job for the playoffs as a 20 year old. Here, he raised his game to another level, posting a 1.93 goals against average – that’s a great number nowadays, but in the high-scoring 1980s that was unbelievable! He led the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup that year and was named MVP in honour of what he did, the youngest ever winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy. He starred for Montreal for another 9 years, winning several more awards and breaking several goal-keeping records, before a feud with the coaching staff led to him being traded in a blockbuster deal to the Colorado Avalanche in 1995, where he would go on to win more cups and more personal awards, and became the all-time leading goalie in NHL Wins (since surpassed by Martin Brodeur).
- His achievements as a Hab:
-two Stanley Cup Championships (1986, 1993);
-two Conn Smythe Trophies (’86, ’93);
-four William Jennings Trophies for fewest goals allowed in a single season;
-six NHL All-Star Games;
-three NHL 1st All-Star Team selections (’89, ’90, ’92);
-two NHL 2nd All-Star Team selections (’88, ’91);
-NHL All-Rookie Team (1986);
-three Vezina Trophies for NHL’s Best Goalie (’89, ’90, ’92);
-member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and had his number 33 retired by Montreal.
- Over his career (i.e. with the Avalanche aswell), he also holds the following records:
-most NHL playoff games by a goalie (247) and the second most by any player;
-most NHL playoff wins by a goalie (151);
-first NHL goalie to play 1000 NHL games;
-most Conn Smyth Trophy wins of any player (3).
- Stats in a Canadien’s Uniform:
-Plante: 556 GP, 314 Wins, 133 Losses, 107 Ties
- This was a very difficult choice given how many incredible goalies have played in Montreal over the decades, but in the end I had to go with the legendary Plante. He played for Montreal from 1953 to 1963, and was considered an innovator at the position, being the first NHL goalie to wear a mask on a regular basis, developing and testing many different versions of the masks himself with assistance from experts. He was also the first goalie to regularly leave his net to play the puck, enabling him to support his team more by keeping play moving. Despite suffering from quite severe asthma, he backstopped the legendary Canadiens teams of the ’50s to several Cups, and set many goaltending records along the way. He was eventually traded to the NY Rangers following a feud with coach Toe Blake in 1963, and despite retiring several times over the next few years, would put in outstanding performances for the St Louis Blues in his last few NHL seasons at the end of the 1960s.
- His achievements as a Canadien include:
-two seasons of 20+ wins, four seasons of 30+ wins, and three seasons of 40+ wins;
-59 wins in 90 playoff games;
-named to three 1st All-Star Teams (’56, ’59, ’62);
-named to three 2nd All-Star Teams (’57, ’58, ’60);
-won six Vezina Trophies as the League’s Best Goalie;
-won the Hart Trophy as League MVP in 1962;
-won six Stanley Cup Championships, including 5 straight from 1956-1960;
-is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and had his No.1 Jersey retired by the Habs.
- BOB GAINEY – played left wing for Montreal from 1973 to 1989. Member of Hockey Hall of Fame. Defensive specialist as shown by his 4 Selke Trophy wins. Won 1 Conn Smythe Trophy (1979), 5 Stanley Cups, played in 4 All-Star Games and has his No.23 retired by Montreal.
- BERT OLMSTEAD – Hall of Fame left winger from 1950-58. Won 4 Stanley Cups with Montreal (and 1 with Toronto) making the Stanley Cup final in 11 of his 14 NHL seasons. Twice named to the 2nd All-Star Team.
- KEN DRYDEN – superstar goalie from entirety of NHL career, a short 7 (and a bit) seasons. Won 79% of all his regular season games, and only lost 58 of his 397 career games, and posted 46 career shutouts. Remarkably won the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP the year before he won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year. Won 5 Vezina Trophies, 6 Stanley Cups, was named to five 1st All-Star Teams and one 2nd All-Star Team, is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and had his No.29 jersey retired by the Habs.
- “GUMP” WORSLEY – won 4 Stanley Cups in goal as a Canadien, from 1963 to 1969. Won 2 Vezina Trophies, was named to 2 All-Star Teams, played in 3 All-Star Games, and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- TOM JOHNSON – Habs blueliner from 1950 to 1963, winning 6 Stanley Cups, a Norris Trophy as Best Defender, two All-Star Team selections, and was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- HECTOR “TOE” BLAKE – star left winger for Montreal from 1935 to 1948, forming part of the famous “Punch Line” with Richard and Lach. 527 points in 577 NHL games. Won 2 Stanley Cups, 1 Hart Trophy as MVP, 1 Lady Byng Trophy for Gentlemanly Play, led the NHL in scoring in ’39, and named to 4 All-Star Teams. Won 8 more Stanley Cups as a coach of the Canadiens. Member of the Hall of Fame.
- ELMER LACH – Star center and member of the Punch Line with Richard and Blake. Won 3 Stanley Cups, had 623 points in 664 games, won 2 Art Ross Trophies as the league’s leading scorer, 1 Hart Trophy as League MVP, named to 5 All-Star Teams, and retired as the all-time leading scorer in NHL history up to that point. Member of the Hall of Fame.
- GEORGE HAINSWORTH – goalie for the Habs between 1926 and 1933. Won 3 Vezina Trophies, 2 Stanley Cups, is 3rd all-time in NHL shutouts with 94, holds various NHL goalie records, and is a member of the Hall of Fame.
- NEWSY LALONDE – the first bona-fide NHL superstar, played for Montreal (mostly) from 1909 to 1922 (although the NHL wasn’t established until 1917, so his first few years were in the NHA). Had 151 points in just 99 NHL games, was captain from 1915 to 1921, one the Stanley Cup in 1916, and was the all-time leading goal scorer in major-league hockey with 455, not broken until Rocket Richard surpassed that total in 1954. Led the league in scoring several times. Member of the Hall of Fame.
- GEORGES VEZINA – star goalie for 16 seasons with the Habs from 1910 to 1926. Won the first 2 Stanley Cups ever won by Montreal, and was regarded as the best in the league at the time. Died in 1926 of tuberculosis. Vezina Trophy for NHL’s Best Goalie awarded in his honour. Part of the original class of inductees to the Hall of Fame.
- ANDREI MARKOV – star 2-way defenceman has played entire NHL career to this point with Montreal, although has struggled with injuries recently. Assistant Captain on the team. Has 369 points in 636 games and counting. Considered to be one of their best defenceman over the last decade when healthy.
- PATRICE BRISEBOIS – played 896 games with Montreal as a defender (3rd all time for Canadien defencemen) posting 371 points as a powerplay specialist from 1990 to 2009. Won the Stanley Cup in 1993.
- SAKU KOIVU – legendary captain of the Canadiens for 10 of his 14 years with the team, tied with Jean Beliveau, and was the first ever European captain of the team. Now playing for Anaheim, as a Hab he posted 623 points in 792 games, voted to 2 All-Star Games, won the Bill Masterton Trophy for Perseverence and Dedication to Hockey (he suffered from cancer but beat it and came back to play) in 2002, the King Clancy Trophy for charitable work in 2007, and is generally beloved by all Canadiens fans.
- JACQUES LEMAIRE – star forward for 12 seasons for Montreal, never scored less than 20 goals in a season including a high of 44 in 1973. Put up 835 points in 853 games for the Habs from 1967-79, and won 8 Stanley Cups as a player, plus 2 more as an assistant GM of the team. Member of the Hall of Fame. Went on to become legendary coach with New Jersey.
- GUY CARBONNEAU – played centre for the Habs from 1982 to 1994 as a great defensive forward. Won 2 Stanley Cups with the team, two Selke Trophies as Best Defensive Forward, and captained the team from 1989 to when he was traded in 1994. Won another cup with Dallas in 1999.
- RALPH BACKSTROM – played centre for 12 seasons in Montreal from 1958 to 1970, winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, 6 Stanley Cups, and playing in 6 All-Star Games. Had five 20+ goal seasons for the team.
- VINCENT DAMPHOUSSE – already an established NHL star by the time he arrived in Montreal in 1992, Damphousse didn’t slow down as a Hab. He scored 498 points in 519 games for the team, including three 90+ point seasons, and scored 23 points in 20 playoff games in their run to the Stanley Cup in 1993, which they won.
- KIRK MULLER – played 3 and a half seasons for Montreal from 1991 to 1995, and in 267 games scored 247 points, including a 97 point effort in 1992/93. A strong 2-way player, he was popular in Montreal and won the Stanley Cup with them in 1993.
- SHAYNE CORSON – played 2 stints for the Canadiens, providing strong secondary scoring for them from 1985 to 1992 and 1996 to 2000. An extremely unpopular player during his time in Edmonton, he was reportedly quite popular in Montreal.
- REJEAN HOULE – secondary scoring right winger for Montreal from 1970 to 1973 and again from 1976 to 1983, he won 5 Stanley Cups with the team.
- CLAUDE PROVOST – played entire career with Montreal, from 1955 to 1970, winning 9 Stanley Cups, as well as the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1968. Has won the most Stanley Cups of anyone not in the Hall of Fame. Had 589 points in 1005 games as a right winger for the team.
- MARIO TREMBLAY – played forward for Montreal from 1974 to 1986, winning 5 Stanley Cups. Scored Cup-winning goal in 1978, and had 584 points in 852 games. Was later a controversial coach of the Habs, and the primary reason Patrick Roy refused to play any longer in Montreal.
- STEPHANE RICHER – played left wing for Montreal from 1985 to 1991 and again from 1996-97, putting up two 50+ goal seasons as a Hab and winning the Stanley Cup with them in 1986.
- MARK RECCHI – legendary forward played for Montreal from 1994 to 1999, posting two 30+ goal seasons and generally staying around the point per game mark. As a Hab he played in 3 All-Star Games, and was the All–Star Game MVP in 1997.
- CLAUDE LEMIEUX – renowned for dirty play, yet his reputation for raising his game in the playoffs was immense. Played for Montreal from 1983 to 1990, winning the Cup with the team in 1986, impressing with 10 goals and 16 points in 20 games.
- JOSE THEODORE – had an incredible season in 2001/02 when he won both the Vezina Trophy and the Hart Trophy, playing at a level he hasn’t matched before or since. Has been a serviceable journeyman goalie since that year, but he makes it onto this list for having a season for the ages. He had 30 wins, a 2.11 GAA and a .931 SV%.
- ROGIE VACHON – played goal for Montreal from 1966 to 1971, winning 3 Stanley Cups and a Vezina Trophy. Regarded as one of the best one-on-one goalies ever, never having allowed a goal on a penalty shot. Went on to a great career with Los Angeles.
- CHARLIE HODGE – goalie for the Canadiens from 1954 to 1967. Won 6 Stanley Cups, 2 Vezina Trophies, played in 3 All-Star Games and named to the 2nd All-Star Team in 1964.
- GERRY McNEIL – Canadien’s goalie from 1947 to 1957. Named to 2nd All-Star Team in 1953, and played in 3 NHL All-Star Games. Won 2 Stanley Cups with the team.