Unfortunately it hasn’t been too long since the last NHL lockout. With Tomas Plekanec, Alexei Emelin, Tomas Kaberle, Yannick Weber, Raphael Diaz and most recently Max Pacioretty taking their talents East, let’s continue our look back at who left and what they did during the last NHL lockout.
Former captain Saku Koivu returned to his hometown club TPS Turku of Finland’s SM-liiga during the lockout, following a pretty standard NHL season and an impressive playoffs. With Turku, Koivu scored 8 goals and 16 points in 20 games during the regular season. He chipped in with 3 goals and 5 points in 6 games during the playoffs. He returned to the NHL in fine form, playing over 70 games a season in six of the seven years following the lockout. In ’07-’08 he hit career highs in goals (22), assists (53) and points (75). Koivu was part of the mass exodus following the ’08-’09 season which saw him sign in Anaheim, where he remains today.
Andrei Markov was not the Andrei Markov we see today, knee injury aside, when he left for Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Super League during the lockout. He scored 7 goals and 23 points in 42 games. He added 2 goals in the playoffs to help lead Dynamo to the Super League Championship. He came back to Montreal and quickly became regarded among the league’s elite defensemen, moonlighting as a perennial powerplay threat. His health problems of late are well documented and uncertainty surrounds what kind of defenseman he will be once NHL resumes. He is the only Canadien that remains with the club from the previous lockout.
Bouncing between the AHL and NHL for a few seasons, Ribeiro had a good first full season with the Canadiens before the lockout. He joined the Espoo Blues of the Finnish SM-liiga where he registered 8 goals and 17 points in 17 games. The Blues were not able to make the playoffs and the next hockey he would play would be the ’05-’06 NHL season, which showed a little bit of regression in terms of stats. He was traded following that season to the Dallas Stars, along with a 6th round draft pick for Janne Niinimaa and a 5th round draft pick. He remained with the Dallas Stars until this past off season, when he was traded to the Washington Capitals. During his time in Dallas he served Canadiens fans a constant reminder of what a disastrous trade Bob Gainey made.
The tough blue liner was a mainstay in the Canadiens back end leading up to the lockout. He joined Saku Koivu in Turku of the SM-liiga during the lockout where he scored 3 goals and 4 points in 18 games. He was held pointless in 6 playoff games. He returned to Montreal and immediately enjoyed his best point production of his career, scoring 7 goals and 34 points in a full campaign. The following year he was traded roughly three quarters into the season to the San Jose Sharks for a 2nd round draft pick (Max Pacioretty) and Josh Gorges, easily the best trade Bob Gainey made during his tenure. Rivet spent a few seasons in San Jose, then Buffalo before joining the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010. He spent last season in the ECHL with the Elmira Jackals.
Everyone seemed to know Sheldon Souray had the cannon, but nobody gave him too much thought before the lockout. He spent five seasons in Montreal, playing four as he was forced to sit out the entire ’02-’03 campaign due to a wrist injury. During the lockout he joined Farjestads of the Swedish Elitserien where recorded 9 goals and 17 points in 39 games. He scored 1 goal and 7 points in 15 playoff games. He came back to the NHL and had a solid season in terms of point production. It was the next season that saw him smash the back of the net an unprecedented 26 times, mostly teeing it up on the powerplay from Andrei Markov feeds. That was a contract year for him and he cashed in with the Edmonton Oilers then spending a year in the AHL with the Hershey Bears, a season with the Dallas Stars and finally signing a deal with the Anaheim Ducks this past July.
One of the more productive Canadiens in the seasons leading up to the lockout, Zednik spent the lost year in the Slovakian Extraliga with HKM Zvolen. He put together solid numbers scoring 15 goals and 34 points in 36 games. He scored 9 goals and 19 points in 17 playoff games for the club as well. His return to the NHL following the lockout was disappointing and he was traded in the offseason to the Washington Capitals for a third round draft pick. He never regained his goal scoring swagger prior to the lockout. He nearly died in 2008 while playing with the Florida Panthers when Olli Jokinen accidentally cut his external carotid artery in his neck with his skate. Zednik returned in the ’08-’09 season before jumping to the KHL and then the Elitserien.
The goaltending savior of the Canadiens at that time took a strong season prior to the lockout to Djurgarden of the Elitserien. He played 17 games for the club, posting a 2.46 GAA and a .916 (.917 depending on the source) save percentage. His numbers improved in the playoffs as he put together a 2.23 GAA and .922 save percentage in 11 games. He returned to the NHL under scrutiny following the lockout due to the Propecia hair loss debacle. He was losing more than his hair that season as he lost the starting job to newcomer and relative unknown goaltender, Cristobal Huet. He was later traded to the Colorado Avalanche for David Aebischer. He also spent time with the Washington Capitals, Minnesota Wild and most recently the Florida Panthers.
Huet was more or less a nobody to anyone following the Canadiens. He joined the team right before the lockout, so no one in Montreal really had a chance to see what he was all about. He spent the lockout in the German first-tier Deutsche Eishockey Liga, playing for Mannheim. In 36 games he recorded a 2.79 GAA (or 2.82 GAA depending on the source) and .915 save percentage (or .919 save percentage depending on the source) along with a shutout. He joined the Canadiens after NHL hockey resumed and promptly took advantage of Jose Theodore`s poor play, usurping him as the starting goaltender in Montreal. He spent two and a half seasons in Montreal before being traded to the Washington Capitals for a 2nd round draft pick. He was signed to a monstrous contract by the Chicago Blackhawks in `08-`09. He played two years for the `Hawks before heading over to the Swiss League.
The first part of this article went up last Friday and at the time it was written, six Canadiens had signed to play elsewhere. It was reported Scott Gomez had agreed to play with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL but he has since denied there was any truth to the reports that he will play for them. He played with them during the last lockout and had an excellent season. The year after he had his best career year, production-wise, in the NHL.