‘La Belle Province’, Quebec, has produced an insane amount of NHL stars. Fifty-three players born in Quebec have been inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame, including legends like Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard, Ray Bourque, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, and the list goes on and on.
On Monday, Daniel Brière announced he had played his last game in the NHL, bringing an end to a career spanning 17 seasons which saw him play for five different teams, including one season with the Montreal Canadiens. The importance of hockey in Quebec, specifically the importance of the Montreal Canadiens, has been considered religious.
In 2008, it was announced the University of Montreal would begin offering a course studying the link between hockey and religion.
The classic short story, The Hockey Sweater, published in 1979, is based on the author’s experience of getting a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater as a kid, when all he wanted was a Rocket Richard sweater, like all his friends had. A portion of the story even appears on Canada’s five-dollar bill.
Hockey is a way of life in Quebec, like a lot of Canada, but the amount of high-end talent hailing from the predominately French-speaking province is astounding.
Here are the top 15 players from the province of Quebec, who have not been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. I’m not saying all these guys will get into the Hall eventually, because they won’t, but I think at least half have a chance.
15 15. Daniel Brière
Born in Gatineau, Brière was drafted into the NHL in the first round by the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996. As a small player, listed at 5-foot-9, and 174 pounds, Brière struggled in the early parts of his career.
In 2001-02, he finally started to play regularly, and scored 32 goals and 60 points for the Coyotes. From 2001-2011, he scored 20 or more goals in eight seasons, splitting time between the Sabres and the Philadelphia Flyers.
14 14. Marc-Andre Fleury
“Flower”, was born in Sorel was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the first overall pick in 2003 and immediately became the team’ starting goaltender the following season.
Fleury was supposed to be the saviour in Pittsburgh after a stellar career in junior hockey, but he only stayed with the club for 22 games; the Penguins were terrible and the 18 year old goalie wasn’t enough to save them.
Fast-forward to 2008, add a couple more high-end draft picks like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to the mix, and the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009.
13 13. Pit Martin
Hubert Martin, nicknamed “Pit” after a French newspaper comic character, played over 1,100 regular season games in the NHL with four different clubs.
Martin won the Bill Masterton Trophy as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1969-70, helping the team go from missing the playoffs to finishing in first place, and scored 30 goals and 63 points that season. The following season, he played in his first of four straight All-Star Games.
Martin’s life ended tragically near his hometown of Noranda, when his snowmobile crashed through the ice on Lake Kanasuta and he wasn’t able to escape the frigid waters on December 1, 2008.
12 12. Steve Duchesne
Duchesne made his way into the NHL without being drafted. The defenseman was signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Kings after he put up 81 points playing in the QMJHL. He cracked the NHL at the age of 21 in 1986 and finally retired 15 years later in 2002.
During his career, Duchesne was named to the All-Rookie Team, played in three All-Star Games, suited up for six franchises including the Quebec Nordiques, and won a Stanley Cup in his final year with the Detroit Red Wings.
11 11. Rogie Vachon
Vachon might be remembered for his famous goalie mask. The mask, with two gold crowns painted just above the eye-holes is one of the iconic masks from the 1970s.
Vachon’s play is also something to remember though. Vachon suited up for 795 regular season games, which began with the Montreal Canadiens in 1966. While with the Canadiens, he won two Stanley Cups in 1968 and in 1969, sharing the net with Gump Worsley.
10 10. Stephane Richer
Richer’s career also began with the Montreal Canadiens, where he won the Stanley Cup in his rookie year. Within a few years, Richer began to showcase his offensive prowess, averaging over a point per game in 1988.
Fourteen years later, Richer retired after splitting his final season between the Pittsburgh Penguins and then rejoining New Jersey Devils, the team he won a Cup with in 1995.
9 9. Alex Tanguay
Still active with the Colorado Avalanche, Tanguay has scored more than 10 goals every season but one since he came into the NHL in 1999 with the Avalanche.
In his second season, Tanguay scored 21 points in 23 playoff games helping the Avs win their second Cup in franchise in history.
In 2008, Tanguay played 50 games for the Canadiens scoring 41 points.
8 8. Claude Lemieux
Claude Lemieux is one of the most loved and hated players in NHL history. He was a tough hockey player, both with his knuckles and his ability to score.
Over the course his career, Lemieux played on 6 hockey teams, in a total of 1215 regular season games. During the regular season, he scored 379 goals and 786 points while spending 1777 penalty minutes in the box. He also played in the playoffs, where he shined. He played in 234 games, scoring 80 goals (ninth most in history) and 158 points, he won the Stanley Cup 4 times (with three different teams), and he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1995.
7 7. Patrice Bergeron
Also still active with still some good years left, Bergeron could still move up this list in the remaining years of his career. Born in L’Ancienne-Lorette, Bergeron has put together a very complete career profile while playing for the Boston Bruins.
He’s played 740 career regular season games, and scored 206 goals and 550 points in that span. He has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy three times, the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, and the Stanley Cup once.
Internationally, he won gold at the World Championships, the World Junior Championship (and was MVP) the Olympics (twice), and the Spengler Cup.
6 6. Roberto Luongo
Luongo grew up just a few blocks away from one of the world’s best goaltenders, Martin Brodeur. He was drafted 4th overall, which was the highest pick ever used on a goalie, by New York Islanders in 1997. After being traded, Luongo eventually developed into one of the league’s best netminders with the Florida Panthers.
He was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in 2006, where Luongo would finally get a taste of playoff hockey, was at one point made captain, and broke every franchise goaltending record, but was never able to win a Stanley Cup.
Then the Canucks played musical chairs with their goalies and Luongo wound up getting traded back to Florida where he’ll likely spend the rest of his career.
5 5. Vincent Lacavalier
A few seasons ago, Lecavalier might have ranked higher on this list, but his days with the Philadelphia Flyers have gone so poorly. The former first overall pick out of L'Île-Bizard, Vinny was one of the most highly-touted prospects to ever come out of the QMJHL.
At 19, Lecavalier became the youngest NHL-captain in history, which he was eventually stripped of a few seasons later (because he was too young). It might have worked, since the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Cup a couple years later in 2004.
In 2007, Lecavalier won the Maurice Richard Trophy when he led the league with 52 goals, then won the King Clancy a year later.
After playing in Tampa Bay for 14 seasons and 1037 regular season games, scoring 383 goals and 874 points, he was bought out of his contract from the Lightning. The buyout will pay him over $32 million.
4 4. Vincent Damphousse
Drafted by the rival Toronto Maple Leafs, Damphousse is best remembered for his stint with the Montreal Canadiens, where he won a Stanley Cup in 1993 and served as the team’s captain from 1996-1999.
3 3. Martin St. Louis
St. Louis also announced his retirement this offseason, on July 2. Famously undrafted and undersized, St. Louis’ career is a favourite underdog story.
After college, St. Louis didn’t attract much attention from the NHL, the Calgary Flames noticed his numbers in the IHL. He played a total of 69 games in two years and was left unprotected in 2000 Expansion Draft, wasn’t selected, and was eventually bought of his contract.
He then signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and after a slow start, began rewriting his legacy. He spent 13 years with Tampa, playing in 972 games, scoring 365 goals and 953 points. He also won a Stanley Cup, the Hart Memorial Trophy, the Lester B. Pearson, the Art Ross Trophy, and was selected as First Team All-Star in 2004.
He added another Art Ross (2013), three Lady Byngs (2010, 2011, & 2013) to the trophy case and was named Second Team All-Star six times.
2 2. Pierre Turgeon
Another first overall pick, Turgeon is known for his offensive skills and gentlemanly play.
Turgeon enjoyed a lengthy career, spanning over two decades and taking him to six NHL cities, including his hometown Montreal Canadiens where he also served as team captain. He played in 1,294 regular season games, scoring 515 goals and 1327 points, including 109 post-season games with 97 points.
1 1. Martin Brodeur
Where to even begin with Martin Brodeur?
He has the most NHL games played (1,266), most wins (691), most saves (28928), most shutouts (125). He won the Stanley Cup three times, the Calder Memorial Trophy, the William H Jennings Trophy five times, the Venzina Trophy four times, was named Second Team All-Star four times, and First Team All-Star three times and played in nine All-Star Games.
He’s even chipped in offensively. Known as one of the best stick-handling goalies of all time, he has score two goals and 47 points.
He was even partially responsible for two rule-changes. The NHL introduced the “Trapezoid” so goalies like Brodeur couldn’t handle the puck in the corners, and the ‘Sean Avery Rule’ because of his playoff rivalry with the player.
Brodeur was also on two gold-medal winning Olympic Teams.
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