Even with the most Stanley Cup championships in NHL history with 24, the Montreal Canadiens have had their fair share of terrible players to play for their franchise. However, the first thing that I realized in their history is that they have almost always had an elite goalie. When they did not, their team struggled and did not make the playoffs and floundered at the bottom of the league standings. This is taking place this year with their dual Hart and Vezina Trophy winning goalie Carey Price being out for most of the season. Regardless, there are no goalies on this list because since the lockout they have had solid goalies such as Jaroslav Halak and Jose Theodore and the bad goalies that they have had were not starters such as Yann Danis and David Aebischer.
This list was ranked in terms of players with the most games played and produced at the bottom of the list and high draft picks and prolific scorers that were busts for the Habs at the top of it. When researching for this article I realized that quite a few players that played for the Canadiens did not score many goals in their NHL careers. Even though they were not busts for Habs, I thought scoring next to no goals for them was worth putting them on the list.
I learned a couple of things about the Habs franchise. First and foremost, they are in the business of drafting elite goalies and developing them and throughout their history they have been blessed with the likes of Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy and now Carey Price to lead their teams. Secondly, prior to writing this article I was not aware that they gave so many European players chances to continue their NHL careers. Unfortunately, in most instances they did not perform very well and their NHL careers ended shortly thereafter.
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20 Sergei Gonchar
From 2000-2010 Gonchar was second to only hall of fame defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom in points with an even 500 and led all defencemen in goals during the same time-span with 128. He is one of the most prolific offensive defencemen in modern NHL history, but his final three years in the league he only managed 3 goals and 36 points including 13 points during the 2014-15 season with the Habs, his last in the NHL. He clearly held onto his career a little bit too long and that is what put him on this list.
19 Louis Leblanc
Leblanc is on this list because despite being the 18th overall selection in the 2009 NHL entry draft by the Habs, his NHL career already seems to be over. Since then Leblanc has only played in 55 games and scored 10 points. He has not been that much better in the AHL with only 93 points in 234 games. Leblanc is currently playing in Europe and has split the 2015-16 season between Russia, Slovakia, and Switzerland. He doesn't appear to have much, if any, of a future in the NHL.
18 Janne Niinimaa
Janne Niinimaa is on this list because in his lone season with the Canadiens he did not score a single goal and managed only 3 assists in 44 games. This happened during the 2006-07 season and prior to his final stop in the NHL, Niinimaa had 316 career points in almost 700 games. The fact that the Canadiens had to give up Mike Ribeiro, who went on the have career highs away from Montreal, to acquire him, made Niinimaa's brief time with the Habs all the more unpleasant.
17 Manny Malhotra
Malhotra was a very serviceable NHL player for the 991 games he has played in but his career is coming to an end. During the 2014-15 season with the Habs, Malhotra managed only 4 points in 58 games which was the worst output in his NHL career. However, his career high in points was only 35 during the 2008-09 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets and he only totaled 295 points in his entire career. Malhotra is on this list partially because of his terrible season with the Habs but also because he was the 7th overall pick of the New York Rangers in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft and his overall NHL statistics make him a bust of a selection.
16 Chris Campoli
Campoli is another player on this list whose final NHL stop was the Montreal Canadiens. During the 2011-12 season with the Habs he totaled 11 points and 8 penalty minutes in 43 games and for his NHL career he played in 440 games and scored 146 points. Campoli is on this list because as a defenceman he has the skill set to be a point producing player, but in the NHL this never materialized. He is currently playing in the Swedish Hockey League.
15 Mike Komisarek
Komisarek is yet another player on this list whose NHL career is over. Komisarek was also on my list of worst Leafs players and this is a reflection of how awful he really was. Komisarek was so bad in the NHL that his claim to fame might be his two fight defeats to Milan Lucic, one in 2008 as a Hab and the other as a Maple Leaf in 2012. Komisarek is a large body but after suffering those two embarrassing beatdowns he lost most of his aggressiveness and thus played soft for the rest of his NHL career.
14 Nigel Dawes
Dawes is on this list because he was a big time scorer and winner in junior with a couple of 50 and 40 goal seasons but none of this success was duplicated in his professional career. His best season in the pros came in 2007 when he scored 27 goals for the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL. However, in his NHL career he only scored 39 goals in 212 games including none in four games with the Montreal Canadiens during the 2010-11 season.
13 Paul Mara
Mara is on this list because he was the 7th overall pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1997 and even though he did have a couple of good seasons in the NHL, his lone season with the Canadiens in 2011 was not one of them. He had a career high season in points of 47 with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2005-06, but his numbers heavily dipped off from there. The Habs signed Mara to a one- year deal, but he did not manage a single goal and only had 4 assists in 20 games. This was also his last year in the NHL and he has not played in professional hockey since 2013.
12 Guillaume Latendresse
Latendresse is similar to Dawes in that he was a good scorer in junior but did not have much success in the NHL. His best season in the NHL was 2010 with the Minnesota Wild and he managed 25 goals and 37 points in 55 games. With the Habs, Latendresse scored 48 goals in parts of four seasons with the team between 2006-2010. Latendresse is only 28 years old, but ended his playing hockey career in 2014 and opted to turn to coaching at the AAA level.
11 Sergei Kostitsyn
Sergei Kostitsyn was another big time scorer at the junior level that just did not pan out for the Canadiens. The younger Kostitsyn scored 66 goals in his two years of junior hockey but managed just 67 goals in 353 career NHL games including only 24 goals in 155 games for the Canadiens. He left the NHL in 2013 and then spent a couple of seasons in KHL. There were reports that he had signed a tryout with the Calgary Flames before the 2015-16 season, but he ended up staying in Russia.
10 Douglas Murray
Murray is as high as he is on the list because in 518 games he only scored 7 goals and 64 points including no goals at all with the Canadiens in 2013-14. Murray’s role in the NHL was as a tough and rugged defender and he performed that role well, but when you are inept offensively as he was during his NHL career, it is worth mentioning and putting on this list. Not to mention he was a complete pylon on the ice by the time he got to Montreal. After he left the Canadiens, Murray played nine games in Germany, but hasn't played anywhere since.
9 Raphael Diaz
Raphael Diaz is yet another player on this list that had very minimal impact during his NHL career. He is a little bit higher than some of the other players on this list because he could not secure any type of role in the NHL and did not perform well in other professional leagues either. In his entire professional career, he scored 199 points in 595 games games including only 49 in 201 NHL games. He spent the 2015-16 season playing for the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL.
8 Jarred Tinordi
Tinordi was drafted 22nd overall by the Canadiens in the 2010 NHL Draft but his NHL career might already be over. Since being drafted he has only played in 53 games in the NHL, 46 with the Habs and seven with the Phoenix Coyotes and he has not registered a single point. What is more disappointing for Tinordi is his recent drug suspension on March, 9th of this year that got him a 20 game suspension, not that he was playing much anyway. Only time will tell if Tinordi can bounce back from the terrible start to his NHL career, but chances are he will not and will be one of the bigger draft busts in Montreal Canadiens history.
7 Tomáš Kaberle
When Tomas Kaberle left the Maple Leafs midway through the 2010-11 season his skills left with him. He was an all star defenceman during his time with Toronto, but in his remaining NHL seasons after that he only had 43 points in 106 games. This includes scoring no points in 10 games for the Habs in 2013, his final year in the NHL. Kaberle is a good example of a player whose skills just left him in an instant for whatever reason and he was unable to hang onto his NHL career after becoming a shell of his former self.
6 Alexander Semin
Semin is a player with all the skill in the world but it is clear to me that he only performs well when playing with elite talent. With the Washington Capitals and the likes of Ovechkin and Backstrom he had three seasons of 30 or more goals between 2007-2012. However, since then in four NHL seasons he has only scored 45 goals in 186 games. In 15 games with the Habs this year he had 3 points and it is puzzling to me why he did not get a better chance with the team.
Throughout his career he has been known to be a whiner and cancer in the dressing room and chances are he was not happy with his minimized offensive role with the team and thus was released earlier this year. Does this make him a bust for the Habs and one of their worst players ever or just an immature player that has to get his way and play with all star calibre players to perform? Regardless, he is an elite talent when in the right frame of mind that fell flat on his face this year for the Habs and that is why he is ranked this high on this list.
5 Sergei Samsonov
Samsonov is one of the biggest free agent busts in modern Montreal Canadiens history. In the 2006 offseason Samsonov signed a two-year, $7.05 million contract, but before that season was over the Canadiens released him. He had only 9 goals and 26 points for the team in 63 games. Samsonov played a few more years in the NHL after his awful year with the Canadiens but his NHL career ended in 2011 with the Florida Panthers with 235 goals in 888 games.
4 Roman Hamrlik
Hamrlik is as high as he is on this list because he was given a four year, $22 million deal, expected to perform at a high level for the Habs. From 2007-2011 Hamrlik also only scored 22 goals for the Canadiens and has a career high of 16 goals for the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. Some may believe that Hamrlik does not belong on any worst player list, but I put him this high on mine because as a first overall pick I think there should be a certain expectation that should be maintained throughout your career in professional sports and at the tail-end of Hamrlik’s he did not fulfill them.
3 Alexander Perezhogin
If you ask any Habs fan most will agree that Alexander Perezhogin is one of the worst first round picks in their history. He was selected 25th overall in 2001 but in 128 total games for the team between 2005-2007 he only had 34 total points and he was so bad that no other NHL team has given him another chance since then. Perezhogin is most remembered for his stick swinging incident in the minors in which he struck Garrett Stafford in the head. He currently is playing in the KHL where he has put up some modest numbers.
2 Radek Bonk
Bonk is another high ranked draft pick that just did not work out with the team. Selected 3rd overall by the Ottawa Senators in 1994, Bonk was traded to the Canadiens along with Cristobal Huet in a trade for Mathieu Garon. He only had 44 points in 135 games for the Canadiens from 2005-2007. He played two more years with the Nashville Predators after leaving the Habs and produced near identical numbers. Since then he has played hockey in Europe but that ended in 2013.
1 Scott Gomez
Gomez is number one on this list not entirely for the production during his career since he has accumulated almost 800 points in over 1,000 games, but how terrible parts of his career have been during its latter years. Most notably, during the 2011-12 season with the Canadiens he went almost 50 games without scoring a single goal. He only scored two goals that year in 38 games while making over $7 million per year. That makes him the biggest high-priced bust in franchise history even though he was primarily known as a playmaker during his career. He was also so bad for the Habs that there was a website tracking the number of days that Gomez did not score a goal for the team, which ended at 369.
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