Top 100 Habs: #36

#36: Didier Pitre

Didier Pitre was one of the first-ever stars for the Montreal Canadiens, excelling before the NHL was even formed. 

Didier Pitre

Didier Pitre

According to Legends of Hockey, “Didier “Cannonball” Pitre was generally credited with having the hardest shot of his day and there were more than a few times when his goals were contested because they had gone right through the net. He was also noted as one of the fastest skaters of his time and it has been said that he could skate backward as fast as he could skate forward.”

He joined the Canadiens in 1910, when the Habs were a member of the National Hockey Association. He fit in immediately, scoring 10 goals in 12 games (remember, a lot of the seasons back then only saw 15 to 20 games played).

He followed that up the next season with 19 goals in 16 games, and then 28 goals in 18 games. His best year was in 1914-15, when he scored 30 goals in 20 games.

The following season, Pitre led the league in assists with 15 in 24 games (he also added 24 goals). That year (1916), he also helped the Habs win their first ever Stanley Cup, leading the team in goals.

When the Canadiens were one of the original teams to form the NHL in 1917-18, he continued his scoring ways, netting 17 goals in 20 games.

Despite his scoring prowess, the Canadiens needed help on defence in 1921-22, so Pitre switched to defence. He played there for two seasons before retiring.

He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.

For more on Didier Pitre:

Hockey Hall of Fame

Wikipedia

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