THN's latest Top-100 players laden with Habs greats

The entire Montreal Canadiens 75th Anniv. Dream Team made the Top-10 in each category of The Hockey News' latest Top-100 Players Issue. Aurel Joliat (front row, centre) also made the top-ten, and Bob Gainey and Toe Blake were amongst the top-20 LW.

he Hockey News has released it’s latest edition of the Top 100 Players of All-Time.

The magazine made it’s original list, ranking the game’s top 100 players overall, in 1997 and was compiled by a panel of noted hockey writers and NHL veterans.

The 2010 edition adds the best players of the last 13 years to the list, and is ranked in the Top-20 for goalies, defencemen, centers, and right and left wingers.

The Montreal Canadiens are well represented with 26 names on the list. While none of them are ranked No. 1, there at least two Habs greats in the top-ten in each category, as well as several who may have briefly worn La Saint Flannelle.

The following breaks down the representation by the Bleu-Blanc et Rouge, with their 1997 overall rankings listed in parenthesis.

The magazine also ranked their top players by franchise. Those players are noted below in italics.


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Goalies:

Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk garnered the top spot, followed by Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Jacques Plante and Dominik Hasek.

2. Patrick Roy (35)

"With his butterfly style, Roy created moves and changed the way goalies played the game" - John Davidson

4. Jacques Plante (13)

"He studied goaltending with methodical approach of a scientist and was really the first goalie to do so." - Todd Denault

7. Ken Dryden (25)

8. Bill Durnan (34)

"My idea of a good goaltender is this type of guy. It's the guy that doesn't bend under pressure that wins games for you." - Murph Chamberlain

9. Georges Hainsworth (46)

14. Georges Vezina (75)

17. Tony Esposito (79)

20. Lorne Chabot (84)

 

Defencemen

No surprise here that a certain Parry Sound Ontario native took the top spot in this category, with the pace-controlling Doug Harvey a strong second.

2. Doug Harvey (6)

"Harvey did what was expected of him. He was a smart player, someone tough who didn't mind mixing it up." - Dick Duff

8. Larry Robinson (24)

"When the Canadiens would go into Philly, he could do everything." - Doug Wilson

10. Chris Chelios (40)


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Centers

After the Great One and Super Mario, Jean Beliveau still stands tall amongst the NHL's greatest centremen. The No. 5 ranking shows how dominant Howie Morenz was in his time, and still earns the respect of the panel 73 years after he last laced up the skates.

3. Jean Beliveau (7)

"One of the wonderful things about playing here is you'll come to the rink, and Jean Beliveau will be here, and you get to talk to him and get tips from him. How cool is that?" - Mike Cammalleri

5. Howie Morenz (15)

12. Henri Richard (29)

14. Newsy Lalonde (32)

19. Joe Malone (39)

 

Left Wingers

Another tight category, loaded with Hall of Fame players, but the Golden Jet took the top spot on the left flank.

3. Frank Mahovlich (26)

"Once he opened up, no one was going to catch him. Once he got that stride, they weren't going to stop him." - Red Kelly

4. Dickie Moore (31)

10. Aurel Joliat (65)

11. Toe Blake (66)

15. Bob Gainey (86)

17. Steve Shutt

 

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Right Wingers

OK We’ll give Mr. Hockey No.1, but two most popular Canadiens of all time take the two and three slots.

 

2. Maurice Richard (5)

"I've never seen a player loved the way he was. The crowd was so enthused about his ablility." - Milt Schmidt

3. Guy Lafleur (11)

"He was a competitive guy.When it was time to score a big goal, he was always the one to do it." - Darryl Sittler

8. Bernie Geoffrion (42)

16. Yvan Cournoyer (98)

There were some Canadiens players on THN’s original list in 1997, that didn’t make the cut in the revised 2010 edition. They include Hall of Famers Elmer Lach (ranked 68 in 1997), Serge Savard (81) and Sprague Cleghorn (88).

With that in place the debates linger as to how the panel's thoughts compare to that of the fans.

Was Richard better than Howe? Who is the greatest goaltender of all time?

Different eras, different playing styles, rule changes, equipment changes sometimes factor in to who was truly the best out there. While the top one or two players are typically no-brainers, there's always room for argument as to how the rest of the order goes.

Oh, and correct me if I'm mistake, but I think I counted less than 20 players on the list who, at one time in their career or another, wore the colours of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and less than 10 total in the top-ten for each position. Just thought I'd mention it.

 

Quotes taken from - "The Hockey News Top 100 Players of All-Time by position" - 2010

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