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100 Seasons of Glory, Tradition & Excellence; The Top 100 Players
100 Seasons of Glory, Tradition & Excellence; The Top 100 Players(2008-10-01 15:32 posted by T.C. Denault)

A few weeks ago, my friend, Robert Lefebvre, who runs the web blog “Eyes on the Prize” asked if I could participate in a poll he was running amongst various hockey writers. The task seemed simple enough; rank the top 100 players ever to play for the Montreal Canadiens.

The task seemed pretty straightforward until I began and I found out that the hard part isn’t picking the 100 players, it’s ranking the 100 players. Many a night was spent pondering the impossible, Dryden-Roy, Beliveau-Richard, Richer-Larouche.

I must point out that the players are ranked according to accomplishment and achievement while members of the Canadiens. For example, Rod Langway and his Norris trophies won with the Washington Capitals have nothing to do with his ranking here.

You may find some of you’re favourite players ranked too low on this list, or not even ranked at all. As I said these decisions are solely my opinion, feel free to disagree. Of such arguments are truly great bar debates begun.

So after much thought and consideration I present to you, the loyal readers of HabsWorld my selections and ranking of the top 100 Montreal Canadiens of the past centennial. Enjoy.

1 - Maurice Richard the heart and soul of the franchise
2 - Doug Harvey may be the team’s most dominant player ever
3 - Jean Beliveau class, elegance and grace par excellence
4 - Guy Lafleur the most exciting of all the Habs?
5 - Jacques Plante the most important goalie ever
6 - Howie Morenz the team’s first superstar
7 - Larry Robinson for two decades he ruled the bluelinein Montreal
8 - Patrick Roy did anybody ever do more, surrounded by less
9 - Henri Richard the ultimate winner & clutch too
10 - Dickie Moore two scoring titles & full of grit
11 - Ken Dryden all he did was win championships
12 - Newsy Lalonde he carried the team in its early stages
13 - Bill Durnan nobody did more in such a short time
14 - Bernie Geoffrion one of the games great characters & he could score a little too
15 - George Hainsworth succeeded Vezina and may have been better
16 - Aurel Joliat with Morenz formed a lethal 1-2 punch
17 - Toe Blake Hall of Fame as a player and then 8 Cups as a coach
18 - Elmer Lach when he retired he was the league’s all-time leading scorer
19 - Georges Vezina the Canadiens first legendary player suffered a tragic ending
20 - Serge Savard spectacular before injuries, steady & solid after
21 - Bob Gainey did the grunt work for the team, but if it needed a goal, he got it
22 - Yvan Cournoyer was anybody ever more explosive or fast?
23 - Jacques Lemaire the most underrated Hab ever? 8 Cups, 2 Cup winners
24 - Steve Shutt great hands and an ability to score from anywhere
25 - Joe Malone for one year nobody scored more
26 - Jacques Lapierriere anchored the Habs defense for a decade
27 - Didier Pitre Habs top goal scorer in early years, led in playoff points on 1st Cup winner
28 - Guy Lapointe the third component and most offensive of the big three
29 - John Ferguson the toughest to ever wear the jersey?
30 - Tom Johnson overshadowed by Harvey, he still snuck in a Norris in’59
31 - Guy Carbonneau the second coming of Gainey, but as a centre brought his own style
32 - Frank Mahovlich only played 3 ½ seasons, imagine if he’d been a Hab his whole career
33 - Gump Worsley colorful and fun, managed to also snag 4 Cups for the Habs
34 - Claude Provost 9 rings say it all, Bob Gainey of the ‘50’s and ‘60’s
35 - Sylvio Mantha won 3 Cups with Canadiens, captaining 2 of them in 1929 & ‘30
36 - Emile Bouchard a great captain, and an even greater presence on the blueline
37 - J.C. Tremblay offensively talented, always seemed to be overlooked
38 - Ralph Backstrom for a decade he was by far the best 3rd centre in the league
39 - Bert Olmstead Habs lost some grit & passion when he left the team
40 - Jean Guy Talbot climbed the defensive ladder, gathered 7 Cups along the ride
41 - Pete Mahovlich still holds records for Habs centremen
42 - Saku Koivu courage, tenacity, and a decade as the team’s captain
43 - Ken Reardon what he didn’t have in talent, he made up in heart
44 - Jack Laviolette Hall of Fame defenseman, but the true founder of the Habs
45 - Chris Chelios the one that got away, in one of the worst trades in team history
46 - Mats Naslund a pioneer, the Habs first European superstar
47 - Bobby Rousseau a key offensive star of the “forgotten dynasty”
48 - Stephane Richer two 50 goal seasons and he still didn’t live up to his potential
49 - Vincent Damphousse a key contributor who always saved his best for the playoffs
50 - Dick Duff four Cups with the Habs and great when it mattered most
51 - Johnny Gagnon won 2 cups playing wing alongside Morenz & Joliat
52 - Doug Jarvis best face-off man in the league and the NHL’s iron man
53 - Gilles Tremblay the forgotten member of the “forgotten dynasty”
54 - Floyd Curry role player who served the Habs in every role imaginable
55 - Jim Roberts solid forward/defensemen whose glory lied in 6 Stanley Cup rings
56 - Terry Harper solid and steady defensemen who faced the oppositions best for a decade
57 - Pierre Larouche 50 goals once, but like Richer never seemed to fulfill his potential
58 - Ken Mosdell key member of late ‘40’s/early ‘50’s Habs team
59 - Rogatien Vachon how different would his career been without Dryden’s arrival?
60 - Babe Siebert Hart trophy winner who tragically died only a couple of years later
61 - Pit Lepine played 14 years with Habs, reaching double figures in goals 6 times in the ‘20’s & ‘30’s
62 - Bobby Smith Habs top center for close to a decade, crucial member of ’86 Cup team
63 - Odie Cleghorn pure goal scorer, won Cup with Habs in 1924
64 - Sprague Cleghorn one of the game’s greatest & dirtiest players, won Cup in 1924
65 - Kirk Muller hard to imagine the Habs of the early ‘90’s without him
66 - Ted Harris solid blueliner solidified the Habs backend in the sixties
67 - Joe Benoit scored 30 goals as the wing on the Punch Line before the Rocket took his spot
68 - Claude Lemieux enigmatic, but in the playoffs, when it counted; clutch
69 - Mark Napier seems to be forgotten that he twice scored 40 for the Habs
70 - Mario Tremblay for all his attributes as a player, mainly remembered for his coaching stint
71 - Andrei Markov Habs best defenseman of the last decade
72 - Herb Gardiner Hart Trophy Winner in 1927 as a defensemen
73 - Yvon Lambert always seemed to be in the middle of the action
74 - Doug Risebrough one of those players that every championship team needs
75 - Claude Larose quiet but solid contributor on four Cup winners
76 - Georges Mantha star left winger on the ‘30’s Habs, won 2 Cups
77 - Pierre Mondou never quite lived up to the hype, tragic ending to his career
78 - Glen Harmon solid defenseman and critical part of the Habs ‘40’s Cup winners
79 - Rejean Houle never quite lived up to being the first overall pick in 1969
80 - Jose Theodore for one year he was spectacular, then dragged down by personal shenanigans
81 - Billy Reay remembered as Hawks coach, was Habs number 2 centre behind Lach
82 - Alex Kovalev most spectacular Habs player of the last decade plus, skills are breathtaking
83 - Ray Getliffe coined the nickname “the Rocket,” not a bad scorer himself
84 - Dollard St. Laurent a solid contributor on the back end of the ‘50’s Habs
85 - Eric Desjardins could have been higher on the list if the Habs wouldn’t have traded him
86 - Marcel Bonin if they gave out the Conn Smythe in 1959 he would have won it
87 - Mark Recch i the Habs most consistently good player during some lean times
88 - Billy Boucher lethal scorer in the ‘20’s, averaged a goal a game in 1922-23
89 - Shayne Corson two stints with Habs, one as young turk, one as veteran leader
90 - Wildor Larochelle won 2 Cups with Habs as goal scoring winger in the ‘30’s
91 - Mathieu Schneider Habs top defenseman for half-a-decade
92 - Donnie Marshall unsung defensive forward on the ‘50’s dynasty
93 - Buddy O’Connor member of the Razzle Dazzle line, blossomed as a Ranger
94 - Phil Goyette well rounded centerman lost in shuffle in late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s
95 - Gerry McNeil manned goal between Durnan & Plante, won Cup in 1953
96 - Rod Langway started to blossom in Montreal, became Hall of Famer in Washington
97 - Charlie Hodge perennial back-up won Vezina in 1964, shared it in 1965
98 - Marc Tardif talented youngster key contributor to 71 and 73 Cup teams, if he stayed?
99 - John Leclair two overtime winners in 1993 finals, became a superstar in Philadelphia
100 - Chris Nilan “Knuckles” provided the grit & toughness for the ‘80’s Habs

Also Read
- 100 Seasons of Glory, Tradition & Excellence posted by T.C. Denault

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