Former Habs in Vancouver: The Good, The Bad and the Others

Which former Habs were winners during their Canucks tenures?
And which ones were lugers?
Image courtesy, who else, @mhenderson95

Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre have been the two most consistent forwards for the Canucks this season (looking less and less like any sort of accomplishment with each passing game, though). Both former Habs experienced a similar falling out in Montreal. Higgins came under scrutiny from the large media base for a lack of consistency on the ice and some partying-related issues off the ice, while Lapierre was struggling to convert to the right wing, and his requests for more ice time fell on deaf ears. The two bounced around a bit (Higgins with Florida and Calgary, Lapierre with Anaheim) before finding a new home in Vancouver.

Since the Canucks came into the NHL back in the 1970’s, the organization has seen its fair share of former Montreal players come and go. This column will focus more on present day, as I wasn’t living in the 1970’s and was barely walking and talking when the 1980’s ended. However, some past greats – and not-so-greats – have been unearthed, as well. The players will be broken down into three categories: the good, the bad, and the others.

The Good:

Mike Keane

Mike Keane came to the Vancouver organization well past his prime, but he contributed immensely off the ice. With the Manitoba Moose and the Canucks, he helped develop the likes of Jannik Hansen, Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa, and Alex Burrows, showing how to act like a professional each and every night. His Vancouver career was brief (only 64 games), but his contributions to the organization were tremendous. He spent eight years in Montreal at the beginning of his career, building the reputation as one of the game’s all-time greatest warriors.

Keane’s career could be summed up by the shift below – he belts Dan Hamhuis with a hard body check, and then proceeds to tune up Scott Hartnell in a post-hit scrap.

Jyrki Lumme

Lumme, like most of the member of the 1994 Canucks squad, is fondly remembered by fans. He played the game with poise, patience, and a sense of calmness. He was acquired back in 1989 from Montreal, and he transitioned in seamlessly to Vancouver. He won four Babe Pratt trophies (best defenseman on the club), and he had consecutive 44-point seasons in the early 1990’s. In the Cup Final season, Lumme had 55 regular season points, and 13 more in the playoffs. Like many players in Vancouver’s past, he never really received the national and league wide attention he deserved. At his peak, he was one of the better two-way defensemen in the game.

Andre Boudrias

Boudrias was dealt from Montreal to Vancouver during the expansion 1970-71 season. In Vancouver’s first five seasons in the NHL, Boudrias led them in scoring four times (and he was second the other year). He was the first real offensive star in Vancouver, but he endeared himself to the fan base with his tenacious two-way game and elite forechecking ability (an impressive quality considering he was only 5’8” and 170 pounds). In 1974-75, he recorded 62 assists, a club record that stood up until 2006-07 when Henrik Sedin smashed it. He is now a pro scout for the Devils, an organization he has spent much of his post-hockey career with. I never got to see him play, but many long-time Canuck fans have spoken of him quite glowingly.

Russ Courtnall

The Canucks shipped out the injury prone Greg Adams to Dallas in 1995 for the speedy Courtnall, who they immediately paired up on the penalty kill with Pavel Bure. The two formed one of the deadliest shorthanded duos in the entire league. Courtnall wasn’t as good a player as his brother Geoff, but he was a great skater and managed to score 26 goals in 1995-96, his only full season with the club. That season, he formed one of the best two-way lines the club has ever seen, along with Martin Gelinas and Trevor Linden. Courtnall never developed into the player many had expected or hoped he would, but he did have a very solid career as a speedy secondary scorer.

Gerald Diduck

The big, bruising defenseman barely qualifies for this list, as he spent only 32 games with Montreal. Diduck found a home on Vancouver’s back end, supplying no shortage of brute force from 1991 to 1995. Diduck’s best season production-wise was 1992-93, when he recorded 27 points and 229 penalty minutes. Like many defensemen, he played his best hockey under Pat Quinn.

Sergio Momesso

Momesso was the total package – he could hit, score, fight, and play a sound two-way game, as well. His offensive stardom in junior hockey never translated over into the NHL, but he managed to become a solid top six forward. He didn’t apply his physical stature on a consistent basis, but he did have a nasty mean streak. (Sure sounds like another former Canuck, doesn’t it?) During the 1994 playoff run, he lined up on the second line with Cliff Ronning and Geoff Courtnall. Momesso’s physical game was a key ingredient on that team.


Charlie Hodge

The two-time Vezina winning goaltender (with Montreal in 1963-64 and 1965-66) only played one year with the NHL’s Canucks, but it was an important one. Hodge’s solid goaltending was a big reason why the expansion club managed to record 56 points in 1970-71. He went 15-3-5 with a very October Luongo- like 3.42 goals-against-average that season

The Bad:

Mathieu Schneider

Schneider missed camp with a shoulder injury, and then complained and sat out when he didn’t see the ice time he felt he deserved. He also looks like the Count from Sesame Street.

Jan Bulis

Bulis was a decent two-way player who eventually found his niche on the team after 30 or 40 games. However, he failed to live up to the unrealistically-high expectations set by the Canucks management.

Jozef Balej

I’m torn on Balej. On one hand, he was the player we acquired in exchange for the very forgettable Fedor Fedorov. On the other hand, he has silver hair.

The Others:

Trevor Linden

Technically a former Hab after the Canucks reacquired him in 2001, he shouldn’t be considered anything else than a Canuck.

Ryan Walter

Walter was a member of the 1986 Stanley Cup champion Montreal, although he was injured for much of the postseason. As a player, he was regarded as a faceoff specialist who could fill a variety of roles. After retiring, he went on to have a broadcasting career, and he even started his own motivational speaking company. His tenure as an assistant coach with the Canucks was short-lived, as the team just couldn’t find a way to feed the hungry spirit.

Donald Brashear

Brashear’s tenure in Vancouver was full of ups and downs. He was at one time regarded as arguably the most intimidating player in the league. He was involved in the ugly Marty McSorley slashing incident. He also had his share of off-ice issues, as well. For an enforcer, Brashear was a surprisingly nimble skater.

Murray Baron

Baron helped provide a veteran presence on some terrible Vancouver teams in the late 1990’s. He helped with the development of players like Mattias Ohlund and Ed Jovanovski. He was even a part of the resurgence, playing 78 games in the 2002-03 season. He had only 35 goals in 988 games (I was surprised he managed to score that many, to be honest). Baron was a slow skater who played within his limitations. Wikipedia sums up how memorable his career was with a one line description.

Colin Campbell

The former Boston Bruins fan boy NHL head of discipline was a scrappy defenseman who played an important role on Vancouver’s Cinderella 1982 team. If I were alive during that time, perhaps I would be remembering him more fondly. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. Campbell made a mockery of his position with the league, handing out suspensions that lacked both logic and consistency.

Should any other former Habs have qualified for this list?