#6: Guy Lafleur
Anyone with the nickname Flower probably wouldn’t be feared much in other sports, but opposing goalies were more terrified of Guy Lafleur in the 1970s than any other Montreal Canadiens player.
For those that don’t know the backstory, Lafleur was almost not a Hab. But thanks to then-general manager Sam Pollack, he made a trade with the Oakland Seals for their first draft pick. When the Los Angeles Kings looked like they would finish last and get the first pick, Pollock traded some veteran players to the Kings to make them better. Oakland ended up finishing last, and Montreal had the first pick, which they used to draft Lafleur.
Lafleur made the team right away, but struggled the first few seasons. But he came into form in his fourth season, as he scored 53 goals and 119 points. It was the first of six straight seasons where he scored at least 50 goals and 100 points. He is actually the last Montreal Canadien to accomplish that feat.
His regular season success continued into the playoffs. In 1975, he scored 12 goals in 11 games. He would average almost a goal a game for the next few seasons.
His mantle is decorated with plenty of trophies. He won three straight Art Ross trophies as the league’s scoring leader and two Hart trophies as the league’s most valuable player. He also won a Conn Smythe trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs. In total, he won five Stanley Cups in 12 seasons with the Canadiens.
He retired in 1984, and was elected to the hall of fame in 1988, but came out of retirement to play a few more seasons with the New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques.
Some interesting tidbits about Lafleur:
• Lafleur is the all-time leading scorer in Canadiens history.
• In 1979, Lafleur released a record album where he sang disco (you can hear one of his songs here).
• In 1981, he was involved in a car accident that nearly killed him.
• In 1991, the Minnesota North Stars selected Lafleur in the expansion draft, but Lafleur retired without playing a game for them.
For more information on Guy Lafleur: