MONTREAL – Pierre Turgeon has called it a career after 19 NHL seasons, and the former Habs captain’s resume speaks for itself.
The announcement of Turgeon’s retirement draws the curtain on a brilliant career that established the Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, native as one of the league’s most gifted offensive performers.
Chosen first overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Turgeon bypassed the minor leagues and broke in with the Buffalo Sabres at the age of 18 the next fall. After a 42-point rookie season in 1987-88, the young center upped his point total to 88 in his second year and broke the century mark for the first time in 1989-90 with 40 goals and 66 assists.
Traded to the Islanders in a seven-player swap shortly after the 1991-92 campaign, Turgeon’s offensive efforts continued to bear fruit. In three full seasons on Long Island, he amassed 313 regular season points.
Turgeon would then fulfill a lifelong dream in 1994-95 when he was traded to the Canadiens along with Vladimir Malakhov in exchange for Kirk Muller and Mathieu Schneider. Turgeon was named the Canadiens 25th captain in December of 1995 and he responded with one of the best seasons of his career, harvesting 96 points, a mark that has not been bettered by a Habs player since.
On March 11, 1996, Montreal’s Forum hosted its final Habs game. In a moving ceremony at game’s end a torch was passed through the years, from one captain to the next, beginning with Emile "Butch" Bouchard and finishing with Turgeon. Five days later he carried it onto the ice at the team’s new rink.
Leaving Montreal in the early days of the 1996-97 season, Turgeon spent the next five years with St. Louis, the longest of his six NHL stops. He spent three years with the Dallas Stars before joining the Colorado Avalanche in 2005-06.
A Lady Byng Trophy winner in 1993, Turgeon also made four All-Star game appearances. In 1,294 regular season games, he scored 515 goals and assisted on 812 others. He recorded 35 goals and 62 assists in 109 postseason match-ups.
Mike Wyman is a contributor to canadiens.com.