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Top 100 Habs: #46

#46: Claude Lemieux

While Claude Lemieux may be a superpest, there’s no doubt that his style of play had a huge influence on many teams and their Stanley Cup runs, including the Montreal Canadiens.

Claude Lemieux holds the Stanley Cup in 1986.

Claude Lemieux holds the Stanley Cup in 1986.

Lemieux was drafted by the Canadiens in 1983 after a successful junior career, and actually made the team that year. However, after eight games into the season, he was sent back to juniors.

He played one game for the Canadiens the next season, and only 10 in the 85-86 season, but he stayed around for the playoffs that year, which was a smart move. Although he had only played 19 regular season games to that point, Lemieux was instrumental in the playoffs. He scored 10 goals (including four game-winners) and added six assists in 20 playoff games, helping the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup that year.

The next year, he made the team full-time, scoring 27 goals and 53 points in 76 games in hus true rookie season. He followed that up with seasons of 31 and 29 goals, but it was in the playoffs he excelled. Known as an agitator, Lemieux wasn’t scared to play with an edge.

He was traded to the New Jersey Devils during the 90-91 season, but kept his winning ways. He would win three more Stanley Cups (one with the New Jersey Devils and two with the Colorado Avalanche), and is one of only five to win Stanley Cups with three different teams. In his New Jersey Cup win, Lemieux won the Conn Smythe trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.

Lemieux is second in league history with 19 career playoff game-winning goals, trailing only Wayne Gretzky.

He has also played for Canada at the World Junior Champions, Canada Cup, Rendez-Vous 87′  and the World Championships.

For more information on Claude Lemieux:

Hockey Hall of Fame

Wikipedia

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Top 100 Habs: #47

#47: Jean-Guy Talbot

Although Jean-Guy Talbot played in the NHL with five different teams, it was with the Montreal Canadiens that he had most of his success.

Jean-Guy Talbot

Jean-Guy Talbot

Drafted by the Habs, Talbot played 12 full seasons with the Canadiens, winning seven Stanley Cups in that time.

In his rookie season (1955-56), he scored only one goal and added 13 assists, but it was the beginning of an illustrious career with the Canadiens. That year, the Habs won the first of five straight Stanley Cups.

A defenceman, Talbot preferred to take care of business in his own end of the rink. In only one season did he score more than five goals.

He played in seven all-star games with the Canadiens as well.

1967-68 was a tough year for Talbot. He was claimed by the Minnesota North Stars in the expansion draft, and then traded to the Detroit Red Wings only four games into the season. After 32 games there, he was claimed by the St. Louis Blues off waivers for the rest of the season.

After spending 12 years in one city, it must have been difficult to go to three different cities in one year.

For more information on Jean-Guy Talbot:

Hockey Hall of Fame

Wikipedia

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Top 100 Habs: #48

#48: Billy Coutu While Billy Coutu is probably most well-known as being the first player ever banned from the NHL, he spent 12 solid seasons with the Montreal Canadiens.

He definitely had one of the most interesting hockey careers. He started with the Canadiens the year before the NHL was formed, in 1916-17.The next season, the first of the NHL, Coutu had two goals and two assists as a defenceman.In 1919, Coutu was one of five Montreal Canadiens players in the Stanley Cup finals to get the influenza that was affecting much of the world. The finals was eventually cancelled because too many players were out sick.

After one more season with the Habs, Coutu was loaned to the Hamilton team for the season, before joining Montreal again in the 1921-22 season.

Coutu would eventually win the Stanley Cup with the Habs in 1924.

But his tough play was also detrimental to his career. He was suspended three times for his rough play before being traded to the Boston Bruins.

Six months after the trade, Coutu started a on-ice brawl in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals by punching the referee. He was given a lifetime suspension from the NHL.

He played the rest of his career in the minors, where he was thrown out of a game a few years later for, you guessed it, abuse of the referee.For more on Bill Coutu:

Hockey Hall of Fame

Wikipedia

Billy Coutu

Billy Coutu

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Top 100 Habs: #49

#49: Peter Mahovlich

Peter Mahovlich was originally drafted by the Detroit Red Wings, but was traded to the Montreal Canadiens after having difficulty cracking the Wings lineup.

Peter Mahovlich

Peter Mahovlich

After a first forgettable season with the Habs (he had nine goals in 36 games and spent much of the year in the minors), Mahovlich exploded in the the 1970-71 season. He scored 35 goals that year, and followed that up with 10 goals and 16 points in 20 playoff games, helping the Habs win the Stanley Cup that year.

He scored another 35 goals the next season, and was good enough to make the roster of the historic Canada Cup team that battled Russia in a eight-game Summit Series.

After a disappointing 21 goal-season in 72-73, Mahovlich went back to his regular goal-scoring ways, as he had goal seasons of 36, 35 and 34 the next three years. He added 87 assists in the 74-75 season, for a total of 117 points.

He won four Stanley Cups with the Habs in the 70s, before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For more on Pete Mahovlich:

Hockey Hall of Fame

Wikipedia

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Top 100 Habs: #50

#50: Stephane Richer

It’s probably only fitting that Stephane Richer clocks in at #50 on this list, as he is the only Habs player to score 50 goals in a season since Guy Lafleur in the late 1970s.

Stephane Richer

Stephane Richer

And not is he the only Hab to do it, he’s done it twice.

Richer was drafted by the Canadiens in 1984. Two years later, as a rookie, he scored 21 goals in the regular season and helped the team win the Stanley Cup that year.

The following year, he scored 20 goals, before exploding with 50 goals in 87-88. He followed that up with a disappointing season where he scored 25 goals, but helped the team make it to the Stanley Cup finals.

He found his form again in 1989-90, as he scored 51 goals and had a career-high 91 points.

He had 31 goals the following year, and was traded to the New Jersey Devils, where he played for five seasons before being traded back to the Habs.

In total, he played seven seasons with the Habs, and never scored less than 20 goals in any of those seasons.

For more on Stephane Richer:

Hockey Hall of Fame

Wikipedia

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Top 100 Habs: #51

#51: Mats Naslund

Mats Naslund has been a hockey success in two different continents.

Mats Naslund

Mats Naslund

In Sweden, he is seen as a hockey hero. He was the Swedish Player of the Year in 1980, and was routinely selected to international all-star teams from the various tournaments where he represented his country.

He helped Sweden win a bronze medal at the world championships in 1979, a bronze medal at the 1980 Olympics, and a silver medal at the 1981 world championships. When his NHL career was done, he then helped Sweden win gold at the 1991 world championships and the 1994 Olympics.

In between, he became a hockey hero in Montreal as well.

He had 71 points as a rookie in 1983-84, and had a career high 43 goals and 110 points three seasons later. Naslund is the only Habs player to have a 100-point season since Guy Lafleur in 1979-80. His 67 assists that season set an NHL record for most assists by a left-winger (which has since been broken).

He scored at least 21 goals in every season with the Canadiens, and won a Stanley Cup with the team in 1986.

It was the playoffs where he truly shone. He led the team in points with 19 on their Cup run in 86. He followed that up the next year with 22 points in 17 playoff games.

He played in three all-star games, and won the Lady Byng trophy in 1988.

For more on Mats Naslund:

Hockey Hall of Fame

Wikipedia

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