1. Patrick Roy
Hello! 551 wins in the regular season, 151 playoff victories, four Stanley Cup titles, three Conn Smythe Trophy wins, a three-time winner of the Vezina Trophy and five Jennings Trophy wins. That being said, he was still available to be drafted 51st overall by Serge Savard and the Canadiens in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft.
The player selected the earliest in our Top 10 list, Larry Robinson was still very much a steal by Sam Pollock during the 1971 NHL Entry Draft. Selected 20th overall, Robinson played the most NHL games among players in his draft class, contesting 1,384 regular season tilts and another 227 games in the playoffs. He also amassed six Stanley Cup titles, two Norris Trophy wins, and earned a Conn Smythe Trophy.
Drafted 40th overall in 1983, Chris Chelios enjoyed a lengthy hockey career. In 26 NHL seasons, the American-born defenseman played 1,651 games – the fourth most games in league history – and also won three Stanley Cups and captured the Norris Trophy three times. His body of work should earn him a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame as early as this year.
Another great selection by Réjean Houle. A pillar on the Canadiens’ blue line for more than a decade, Andrei Markov sits fifth in points among defenseman in team history. He was selected 162nd overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
5. P.K. Subban
After selecting him 42nd overall in 2007, Canadiens director of amateur scouting Trevor Timmins said that Subban would be the fastest player on the ice at the team’s next training camp. Not only is Subban one of the fastest players in the NHL, he also claimed the Norris Trophy this past season as the top rearguard in the league at just 24 years of age.
Thirty-goal scorers are a rarity in today’s NHL. In 1998, Canadiens general manager Réjean Houle was fortunate enough to find a player 216th overall that would hit that pleateau three times over the course of his career, including twice with the Canadiens.
“A draft isn’t over until it’s over” is something that Yogi Berra might have said at one point in time. At least, he should have. Back in 2003, while all of the stands in the rink in Nashville were empty, the Canadiens used their last pick, 271st overall, to select the Slovakian netminder that allowed them to reach the Eastern Conference Final in 2010 for the first time since 1993.
8. Chris Nilan
The NHL’s premier enforcer in the 1980s and the Canadiens all-time leader with 2,248 career penalty minutes, Nilan was the Habs’ 21st selection in 1977, 231st overall.
9. Mark Streit
Drafted at the age of 26, Swiss defenseman Mark Streit is somewhat of a different case than other young hopefuls who have plenty of developing to do. Still, when a player drafted 262nd overall amasses 62 points in a season while patrolling your team’s blue line, you could consider that to be a steal.
He may have just completed his rookie season, but he still managed to earn a spot on our Top 10 list. The 147th overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Gallagher finished second in voting for the Calder Trophy as the league’s Rookie of the Year in 2012-13, and silenced those who were critical of his smaller stature.
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