Montreal Canadiens 5th Overall History Part 1: Pierre Bouchard

The Montreal Canadiens recieved the 5th overall pick this year, for the 8th time in their long and storied franchise. So for the summer months we are going to go over all the past 5th overall picks, from Bouchard to Reinbacher.
Bouchard Vs. Irvine
Bouchard Vs. Irvine / Melchior DiGiacomo/GettyImages
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Life After the Montreal Canadiens

Okay young ones, lets gather round the fire and talk about something called the waiver draft. From 1977 to 2003, the league had a draft very similar to the Seattle or Vegas expansion drafts, where players from teams were up for grabs, to try to help expansion teams become more competitive in a league that was massively expanding.

Like the expansion drafts, each team could protect a certain number of players and some players were exempt from being picked. At first it was players in their first year, and later it was changed to depend on how many games each player played. The biggest name claimed as part of this was probably Chris Osgood, or a Serge Savard in the absolute twilight of his career.

Generally, teams were given cash considerations for their lost player, but occasionally they would pick a player from the other team in a swap. This usually was held a week before the season, and was put to an end with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The Montreal Canadiens had just won the Stanley Cup for the third straight year, and understandably, they had a surplus of players to protect, and Pierre Bouchard was left unprotected, and was subsequently selected.

Pierre Bouchard
Pierre Bouchard On The Ice / Melchior DiGiacomo/GettyImages

Bouchard was selected by the Washington Capitals, who were one of the worst expansion teams at the time. Montreal tried to "cheat" the system by trading for Bouchard after the draft for Rod Schutt. But the league kyboshed the trade and Bouchard threatened retirement, and played just one game the following season.

Bouchard then played two full seasons in Washington, before retiring. But he didn't stay away from hockey, and our francophone readers and Quebecers might recognize him most now as a well known and well liked colour commentators for the Canadiens for years.

Well that is about it for this first installment. Join us next time for the Montreal Canadiens' next 5th overall pick: Phil Myre.