The top group of our All-Quebec-born Canadiens roster featured six players who are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The same can be said for the second line, defence pairing, and goaltender.
Henri Richard (75.7% of votes) – While his brother is the franchise leader in goals, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ actually had more points over their illustrious careers as Henri sits third all-time in Canadiens history in points. Richard never won any scoring titles (or any individual awards aside from a Masterton) but he was a consistent producer for the better part of 20 years to help him hold the franchise mark for games played. Along the way, he helped the Habs to a whopping 11 Stanley Cups as a player which stands as an NHL record to this day. (Considering the current salary cap landscape and the fact there will soon be 32 teams, it’d be quite surprising to see that record fall.)
Canadiens Stats: 1,258 GP, 358 goals, 688 assists, 1,046 points, +243 rating*, 932 PIMS, 3,199 shots*
(*-These stats were only counted starting in 1959-60; by then, Richard had played 257 games already.)
Yvan Cournoyer (68.1% of votes) – It took a few years for him to earn regular minutes but once Cournoyer got his opportunity, he became one of Montreal’s top scoring threats for a long time. The Roadrunner potted at least 37 goals in five of six years between 1968-69 and 1973-74 and was a strong playoff scorer as well, helping the Habs to ten titles (though two of those came when he was out due to injury). With the NHL now in an era where smaller, faster players are really starting to make an impact, it certainly would be interesting to see how someone like Cournoyer would have fared in the modern game but he made quite the impact in his time.
Canadiens Stats: 968 GP, 428 goals, 435 assists, 863 points, +254 rating, 233 PIMS, 2,427 shots
Bernard Geoffrion (53.3% of votes) – When your nickname (Boom Boom) is based on how powerful your shot is, you know you’ve got a good one. That was the case for Geoffrion who is best known for his slapshot and while that shot is quite commonplace nowadays, it wasn’t back then. He led the league in scoring twice including 1954-55 where he took the lead from Maurice Richard after he was suspended for the rest of the regular season and playoffs. The Habs won six Stanley Cup titles with Geoffrion in the fold before he retired in 1964 although he unretired to play two years with the Rangers later in the ‘60s. Montreal retired his number on March 11, 2006 which also happened to be the day he passed away from cancer.
Canadiens Stats: 766 GP, 371 goals, 388 assists, 759 points, +40 rating*, 635 PIMS, 1,165 shots*
(*-These stats were only counted starting in 1959-60; by then, Geoffrion had played 475 games already.)
Guy Lapointe (88.1% of votes) – One member of the Big Three was Serge Savard who finished first in Line 1 balloting. One was Larry Robinson who was born in Ontario and had the most votes there. Lapointe was the other. His contribution to the group was offensive dominance as he was one of the top-scoring blueliners in the league in his prime although his physicality and defensive prowess was often understated (largely due to the presence of the other two). Montreal won six Cups with Lapointe in their uniform before they flipped him to St. Louis in 1983 for a second-round pick (that was used on rugged winger Sergio Momesso).
Canadiens Stats: 777 GP, 166 goals, 40 assists, 572 points, +346 rating, 812 PIMS, 2,300 shots
Emile Bouchard (33.8% of votes) – More commonly known as ‘Butch’, Bouchard brought a much-needed physical presence when he joined them in the early 1940s. Offence was never his calling card as he only exceeded 10 goals and 20 points just once over his 15 years with Montreal but he was a strong defensive presence while serving as captain for eight years. The Habs won four Stanley Cups with Bouchard in the fold and retired his number three in a rather odd circumstance with the Quebec National Assembly passing a motion to encourage the team to do so (which they did later in 2009).
Canadiens Stats: 786 GP, 49 goals, 144 assists, 193 points, 865 PIMS
Patrick Roy (79.0% of votes) – Roy became an instant legend in his rookie year. While his regular season numbers weren’t great, that changed in the playoffs where his stellar performance led the Habs to the Stanley Cup in 1986. A few years later, he was among the top goalies in the NHL, leading the league in save percentage in four of five seasons from 1987-88 through 1991-92. He had another superb postseason showing in 1993 to win another Cup title in the year the Habs simply couldn’t lose in overtime. Two years later, things went off the rails and he was traded to Colorado and something tells me no one wants to relieve that trade any further so let’s move on.
Canadiens Stats: 551 GP, 289-175-66 record, 2.78 GAA, .904 SV%, 29 SO
Be sure to check back next week as the voting continues with the All-Time Quebec third line.