The Habs have had a handful of notable players from Saskatchewan play for them over the years as well as some quality role players. The votes have been tallied; here is who our readers voted for as Montreal’s All-Time Saskatchewan line.
Voters were asked to pick three forwards, two defencemen, and one goalie.
Elmer Lach (91.4% of votes): Lach didn’t get quite as much fanfare as some of the other top players from his era but he was still a bonafide star. During his 14-year career (all with the Canadiens), he was a Hart Trophy finalist three times (won once) and led the league in scoring in 1947-48. In the postseason, he was a force as well and his output didn’t dip much compared to his regular season levels. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966 and his number 16 was retired by Montreal back in 2009. This was the one no-brainer selection out of this pool of players as a result.
Canadiens Stats: 664 GP, 215 goals, 408 assists, 623 points, 478 PIMS
Bert Olmstead (51.6% of votes): Let’s stay in this same era for another pick. Olmstead was acquired by the Habs in 1950 for a player who was out of the league at the end of that season (Leo Gravelle). It’s safe to say they won this deal. He never won any major scoring titles but he had at least 35 points over each of his eight seasons with the team and made it to the second All-Star team a couple of time as well. Olmstead was a part of four Cup-winning teams over his tenure with his best showing coming in 1956 when he finished in a tie for second in postseason scoring behind only Jean Beliveau. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1985.
Canadiens Stats: 508 GP, 103 goals, 280 assists, 383 points, 612 PIMS
Red Berenson (37.9% of votes): With all due respect to Berenson, this was one of the more shocking picks out of this series considering he barely made the cut in terms of number of points as a Canadien. He was a role player at best over his parts of five seasons with the Habs to start his career and it was only after he left the team that he blossomed as a star with St. Louis in the late 1960s. Overall, he finished only 13 games shy of 1,000 for his career but most of those were outside of Montreal. Berenson had quite the coaching career at Michigan after retiring and had some support for getting into the Hall of Fame as a builder earlier this week.
Canadiens Stats: 136 GP, 14 goals, 23 assists, 37 points, +3 rating, 41 PIMS, 205 shots
Just Missed The Cut: Travis Moen
Lyle Odelein (88.7% of votes): No one would ever mistake Odelein for being an offensive threat most years but teams feared him for his shutdown ability and physicality. Those elements made him a fan favourite throughout his career which started off with parts of seven seasons with the Habs and a regular role on the 1993 Cup-winning squad. The Habs flipped him to New Jersey to bring back Stephane Richer for a second go-around with Montreal in 1996 which started a bit of a nomadic journey for Odelein. He stuck around to play nine years after the trade but spent time with seven different teams along the way before calling it a career in 2006.
Canadiens Stats: 420 GP, 20 goals, 75 assists, 95 points, +59 rating, 1,369 PIMS, 412 shots
Terry Harper (56.6% of votes): We go back a long way in franchise history again as Harper made his Montreal debut in the early 1960s and spent a decade with the team as a defensive blueliner, winning five Stanley Cups along the way. Beyond those contributions, the Habs dealt him for four draft picks (including one that turned into Pierre Mondou) so his impact was felt for a while. Harper spent three seasons in Los Angeles, five more in Detroit, then wrapped up his career with a stint in St. Louis and Colorado (the Rockies, not the Avalanche) before retiring in 1981 with over 1,000 games under his belt.
Canadiens Stats: 554 GP, 14 goals, 112 assists, 126 points, +184 rating, 807 PIMS, 428 shots
Just Missed The Cut: Dave Manson
Dustin Tokarski (75.8% of votes): As has often been the case in this series, pickings have been a bit slim at this position. Tokarski joined the Habs as a third-string option in 2013 and made his biggest impact a year later when he took over as the starter for Carey Price when Price was injured in the Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers. That helped land him the backup job the following year although he didn’t hold onto it for too long. He’s still floating around the minors at the age of 30 and spent this season in Pittsburgh’s system though not on an NHL contract.
Canadiens Stats: 26 GP, 9-9-4 record, 2.71 GAA, .910 SV%, 1 SO
Just Missed The Cut: Bert Gardiner
Be sure to check back on Monday for the next Canadian edition of our poll series.