The 2013 NHL Draft is set to take place on Sunday afternoon and with an impressive array of picks the Montreal Canadiens are hopeful to come away with some exciting young talent. They have certainly been able to add several impressive pieces in one draft in the past, so let’s jump in and take a look at the top five.
The 2007 draft is already one of the finest in the history of the Canadiens and stands to look better and better as time goes on. The Canadiens added Ryan McDonagh and Max Pacioretty in the first round before stealing P.K. Subban in the second and grabbing Yannick Weber in the third.
McDonagh was infamously dealt far too early and he continues to improve and impress on the New York Rangers blueline. Already a veteran of 169 games, he has the makings of a top pairing defender for years to come.
Pacioretty was taken 22nd overall and has been making plenty of teams regret passing him over. Max has led the Canadiens in points the past two seasons and is poised to carry this team offensively for the next decade.
Subban has surpassed all expectations since being selected 43rd overall. The reigning Norris Trophy winner has already suited up for 202 games and collected 114 points in his young career.
Weber is the only other member of the ’07 class to crack an NHL lineup to date and has chipped in 32 points in 115 games.
Overall the 2007 draft has already combined for 732 games as well as 359 points. This group still has an abundance of potential, including a Norris Trophy winner, a top pairing defenceman and a two time team scoring leader, all of whom are only 24 years of age.
The 1998 draft saw the Canadiens add several players who would have lengthy careers and continue to impress. The Canadiens would start the draft on the wrong foot, selecting Eric Chouinard in the first round but would recover nicely.
Mike Ribeiro was nabbed in the second round, followed by Francois Beauchemin in the third, Andrei Markov in the sixth and Michael Ryder in the eighth round.
Ribeiro has played 785 games with the Canadiens, Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals. Ribeiro plays an impressive offensive game, amassing 609 career points and remains a threat to his opponents at the age of 33.
Beauchemin bounced around between Montreal and Columbus before finding his niche in Anaheim where he won a Stanley Cup in 2007. His stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs was forgettable but he was his old self again upon returning to Anaheim. Francois is a veteran of 539 games, chipped in 179 points and has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
Andrei Markov far exceeded the expectations of a sixth round pick. He quickly climbed the depth chart to become the Canadiens best defenseman for years, and proved this past season he can still contribute offensively. Markov has played 684 games, all with Montreal and has put up 399 points.
Ryder was selected with the 216th pick in the 8th round. To put into perspective how little was expected of an 8th rounder, the draft only lasts seven rounds today. Ryder has scored 213 goals and 431 points in 677 career games with the Candiens, Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars. Ryder has his name etched on Lord Stanley’s Cup as a member of the Bruins in 2011.
Overall, the Montreal Canadiens drafted a total of 2913 career NHL games and 1648 points along with two Stanley Cup rings in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
The Canadiens did not miss with any of their top four picks in the 1987 draft. Starting with Andrew Cassels 17th overall followed by John Leclair and Eric Desjardins in the second round and Mathieu Schneider in the third.
Cassels career with the Canadiens was short lived but he went on to play over one thousand games in the NHL and compiled 732 points.
Leclair was dealt from the Canadiens before he blossomed into one of the top power forwards in the league, but managed to play a starring role in the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, helping the Canadiens collect their 24th Stanley Cup Championship. He would score more than 400 goals among his 819 career NHL points.
Desjardins was also a member of the Canadiens who won the Cup in 1993 and was also dealt to the Flyers with Leclair in a deal that worked out much better for Philadelphia. He would play 1143 career NHL games and score 575 points, making him one of the top scoring defenders in the 1990s.
Schneider, was also a member of the 1993 Cup Championship, playing a key role as one of the Habs top defenseman. He would also continue to shine in the NHL long after leaving Montreal. He finished his career with 1289 games and a very impressive 743 points.
Adding in Ed Ronan’s Stanley Cup Ring, also from ’93 and the group drafted in 1987 would combine for a total of 4 Cups, all won in Montreal, 4602 career games and 2905 points.
The 1984 draft, like 1987, saw the Canadiens hit a home run with each of their first four picks. Petr Svoboda, Stephane Richer, Shayne Corson and Patrick Roy would all go on to play more than one thousand NHL games.
Svoboda was selected fifth overall and scored an impressive 399 points as a defenseman. Svoboda won a Stanley Cup as a sophomore with the Canadiens in 1986 and dressed for 1028 career games.
Corson was selected 8th overall and would suit up for 1156 career NHL games. He scored 693 points and won a cup along the way in ’86.
Richer is the most recent Canadien to score 50 goals, hitting the mark in the 1987-88 season. Richer would also win the Cup in Montreal in ’86, before winning it as a member of the New Jersey Devils in 1995. He finished his career with 819 points in 1054 career games.
The biggest prize of the 1984 draft was of course Patrick Roy. Selected 51st overall in the third round, Roy would go on to compile some of the most impressive stats in the history of the game. Roy would play 1029 career games split between Montreal and the Colorado Avalanche, winning 551 of them, the second most wins by a goalie ever. Roy tacked on another 151 wins in the playoffs, the most by any goalie, and won four Stanley Cups.
Roy won two of those Cups with the Canadiens in 1986 and 1993 and took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP both times, before winning it again in 2001 with the Avs. If not for Roy, it is very likely that the Habs would not have won a Stanley Cup since 1979.
The 1984 class would combine for 4267 career games, 1956 points and eight Stanley Cups. Add in the fact they picked the greatest goaltender in the history of the sport and Montreal’s management team had an astounding haul of picks in ’84.
The 1971 NHL draft saw the Canadiens pick their highest scoring player in franchise history as well as perhaps their best defenseman of all time. The Canadiens acquired the first overall selection thanks to some shrewd dealing by then General Manager Sam Pollock and used it to bring in Guy Lafleur. In the second round of the draft, Montreal selected their highest scoring defender of all time, Larry Robinson.
On his way to the top of the Canadiens scoring charts, where he scored 1246 of his 1353 career points, Lafleur would win three Art Ross Trophy’s as NHL scoring champion, two Hart Trophy’s as NHL MVP, a Conn Smythe in 1977 as Playoff MVP and five Stanley Cups. After retirement he was elected a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and had his Canadiens number ten jersey raised to the rafters.
Robinson would score 883 points as a member of the Canadiens and 958 during his NHL career. Robinson has his name engraved six times as a player and took home Norris Trophy’s in 1977 and 1980 as well as a Conn Smythe in 1978. His career plus minus of plus 730 is the best ever recorded by more than 200. His number 19 also hangs up in the rafters of the Bell Centre and he became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.
The entire 1971 class would combine for 3644 career games and 2822 games. Most of the production came from the two aforementioned superstars, meaning the Canadiens only picked two impact players from their this draft.
But when you can add two future Hall of Famers on the same day, it is easy to call that one of the most successful days in franchise history.