There has been no shortage of Quebec-born talent on the Habs over the years as evidenced by the fact that all but one of the players voted on the third line are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Jacques Lemaire (86.0% of votes): While he is more recently known for his defensive acumen as a coach, Lemaire wasn’t known for that side of his game with the Habs. Instead, he was a very consistent scoring threat for the Canadiens, notching 20 or more goals per season for his entire 12-year career while sitting seventh all-time in franchise points while winning eight Stanley Cup titles in that span. He could have been higher on the list but retired earlier than expected in 1979 at the age of 33, turning down a contract extension to begin his coaching career overseas as a player-coach. He had a shot at a top-five ranking in points had he stuck around but considering his second act in the NHL saw him coach for 17 seasons, his decision turned out to be a wise one in the end.
Canadiens Stats: 853 GP, 366 goals, 469 assists, 835 points, +344 rating, 217 PIMS, 3,052 shots
Dickie Moore (63.4% of votes): Moore didn’t have quite the staying power as some of Montreal’s other prominent scorers but in his prime, he was the go-to scorer in the middle of their Stanley Cup run from 1956 to 1960. He led the league in scoring in two of those seasons, the second of which held up as an NHL record (96 points) for seven years before Bobby Hull broke it by a single point. (Of course, the record now is 216, one that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon…) Aside from the two Art Ross trophies, Moore never won any other individual accolades but was a part of six Cup-winning teams with the Habs. He twice came out of retirement to play elsewhere (Toronto and St. Louis) but he’ll best be remembered for his time with the Habs. Of the players in this group, Moore is the only one whose sweater is retired by the team.
Canadiens Stats: 654 GP, 254 goals, 339 assists, 593 points, +73 rating*, 569 PIMS, 676 shots*
(*-These stats were only counted starting in 1959-60; by then, Moore had played 411 games already.)
Guy Carbonneau (63.8% of votes): Up until the last few years, the third line of a hockey team was often classified as the checking line. Accordingly, it’s quite appropriate that Carbonneau, an elite defensive player, gets the final spot on this trio. While he was never a sniper by any stretch, he did manage to contribute offensively as well, ranging between 17 and 26 goals in a ten-year stretch while winning three Selke trophies along the way (finishing top-five in voting in five other years as well). And of course, he played an important role in the two most recent Cup titles. Montreal traded him to St. Louis in 1994 in a move that everyone would like to forget and after one year with them, he wrapped up his playing days with five seasons in Dallas where he won another Stanley Cup in 1999.
Canadiens Stats: 912 GP, 221 goals, 326 assists, 547 points, +158 rating, 623 PIMS, 1,527 shots
Jacques Laperriere (71.5% of votes): Laperriere was never the most prolific of offensive contributors but he was a strong, steady, and reliable blueliner in his own end. He won the Calder Trophy in his first season with the Habs, then followed it up with the Norris two years later; while he didn’t win that one again, he finished in the top-five in voting five other times. While plus/minus isn’t a big deal now, it was back then and he was the only one to have a better single-season mark than Bobby Orr in a seven-year span when he posted a +77 mark in just 58 games. Laperierre was a part of six Cup-winning teams with the Habs before suffering a career-ending knee injury in 1974. He returned to the Canadiens as an assistant coach for 16 more years, picking up Cups in 1986 and 1993.
Canadiens Stats: 692 GP, 40 goals, 242 assists, 282 points, +256 rating, 679 PIMS, 1,324 shots
Jean-Claude Tremblay (56.6% of votes): His most prolific years came at the end of his career when he played for Quebec in the WHA but he had a strong run with the Habs as well. In his early years, Tremblay was more of a stay-at-home player but he rediscovered his offensive touch (he started out as a winger before dropping back to the blueline with Montreal) and became one of the better offensive threats the Canadiens had. Had he not spent seven years with the Nordiques, he could have found himself higher-ranked on this list but he still was a part of five Cup-winning squads and was top-five in Norris voting five times. He is the lone player in this group that isn’t in the Hall of Fame.
Canadiens Stats: 796 GP, 57 goals, 306 assists, 363 points, +244 rating, 206 PIMS, 1,360 shots
Georges Vezina (64.3% of votes): The Chicoutimi Cucumber suited up in every game for the Habs from 1910 through 1925, including seven years when they were in the NHA. He was among the GAA leaders (lowest or second-lowest) in a dozen of those campaigns which led to the Canadiens donating the Vezina Trophy to the league in 1926, to be given to the goalie that allowed the fewest goals. It was the first trophy to be named after a player and in 1981, the award was changed to be given to the top goalie as voted by general managers. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis early in the 1925-26 season, snapping his ironman streak and he passed away just a few months later but left quite a legacy in this market and around the league.
Canadiens Stats (NHL only): 190 GP, 103-81-5 record, 3.28 GAA, 13 SO
Be sure to check back next week as the voting finishes with the All-Time Quebec fourth line.