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A look back at the Canadiens and the Expansion Draft

Charlie Hodge, Sean Hill, Tomas Vokoun and Turner Stevenson among the more notable players taken from Montreal by expansion clubs

by Dan Braverman @canadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - The Canadiens have been through 11 Expansion Drafts from 1967-2000. With the Vegas Golden Knights joining the fold in 2017-18, here's a look back at all the Habs players drafted away by expansion clubs throughout the years.

In 1967, the California Seals, Minnesota North Stars, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins joined the League. Twenty players were selected away from the Canadiens system, most notably among them Charlie Hodge:

  • CLF: Charlie Hodge, Joe Szura, Bob Lemieux
  • MNS: Garry Bauman, Dave Balon, Jean-Guy Talbot
  • LAK: Gord Labossiere, Howie Hughes, Bill Inglis, Jacques Lemieux
  • STL: Jim Roberts, Noel Picard
  • PHI: Leon Rochefort, Garry Peters, Jean Gauthier, Bob Courcy
  • PIT: Noel Price, Keith McCreary, Tom McCarthy, Bobby Rivard

The next round of expansion came three years later, in 1970, when Buffalo and Vancouver joined the NHL. The Sabres picked François Lacombe and Norm "Rocky" Farr from the Habs, while the Canucks went with Ralph Stewart and John Schella.

The Atlanta Flames and New York Islanders were next into the fold, in 1972. Atlanta selected Phil Myre and Kerry Ketter from Montreal, and the Islanders added Bart Crashley.

Two years later, in 1974, the Kansas City Scouts and Washington Capitals joined the club and drafted Michel Plasse and Ed Gilbert (KC) and Larry Fullan (WSH) away from the Habs.

When the WHA folded, the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques and Hartford Whalers made the jump to the NHL. Things were a little complicated this time around, though, since NHL teams held rights to many WHA players. Those teams were allowed to reclaim their players if they so chose, and an expansion draft followed, allowing the four new entries to restock their rosters.

The Canadiens reclaimed Alain Cote and Danny Geoffrion from the Nordiques, Alan Hangsleben from the Whalers and Peter Marsh from the Jets. In the subsequent expansion draft, the Canadiens lost Cam Connor to Edmonton, while Hangsleben (Hartford), Cote (Quebec) and Marsh (Winnipeg) were drafted back to their original teams. (Marsh's original team was actually not Winnipeg but the Cincinnati Stingers. The Stingers had recently folded, and the Jets claimed Marsh in a dispersal draft.)

When the Sharks joined the League in 1991, they first selected from a pool of North Stars players, and then both San Jose and Minnesota filled out their remaining roster spots with an expansion draft. This resulted in the Canadiens losing Jayson More to the Sharks.

In 1992, the Ottawa Senators drafted Sylvain Turgeon and the Tampa Bay Lightning picked Frederic Chabot, although Chabot was traded back to the Habs for Jean-Claude Bergeron the next day. The following year, the Canadiens lost Sean Hill to Anaheim and Jesse Belanger to Florida.

Nashville joined the NHL in 1998 and drafted goaltending prospect Tomas Vokoun away from Montreal, and also acquired Sebastien Bordeleau from the Habs for future considerations. Frederic Chabot, at the time with Los Angeles, was drafted by the Predators, claimed back by the Kings on waivers, and then claimed on waivers by the Canadiens.

The next year, it was the Atlanta Thrashers' turn to enter the mix. Because the Canadiens had lost Vokoun the season before, they did not have to protect a goalie. With Jocelyn Thibault and Jose Theodore untouchable, the Thrashers selected Brett Clark from Montreal.

Finally, in 2000, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild came along. The Habs didn't lose any players to Minnesota, but the Blue Jackets made away with Turner Stevenson (subsequently traded to New Jersey) and - you guessed it - Frederic Chabot.

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