There is no doubt that the Montreal Canadiens are the most iconic franchise in the hockey world. Having won 24 Stanley Cups in its 111 years of existence helped the franchise reach its status. Those Cups are thanks to the efforts of the star players including the 51 Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) inductees who have worn “le Tricolore”.
This list is the top goal scorers in Canadiens history. A list spanning the entire 111 years, covering the entire history of the NHL and National Hockey Association (NHA), who have been instrumental in building this franchise’s historical Championship pedigree.
1. Maurice Richard – 544 Goals
Maurice “Rocket” Richard is perhaps the most popular and inspirational player to have ever worn the Bleu Blanc et Rouge. His career lasted 18 seasons, all with the Canadiens, beginning in 1942, where he scored 544 goals in 978 games. No other player has scored more goals in a Habs uniform. Richard is also the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in 50 games, setting a standard for excellence in scoring that few have been able to match. He was also the first NHL player to score 500 goals in a career. His fiery style of play made him an icon to the Canadiens.
He was also an offensive leader in the playoffs as well, scoring 82 goals in 133 games. One goal was the 1956 Cup-winning goal in Game 5 versus the Detroit Red Wings, winning the first of five consecutive Stanley Cups. He provided years of excellence including eight Stanley Cups. His arrival to the Canadiens rekindled the love affair between the team and the fans in Montreal. Richard and his intense style of play still inspire hockey fans to this day.
If there is still any remaining doubt as to why he heads this exalted list, one only has to look at the NHL Awards being handed out today. The trophy for the league’s top goal scorer is named after Richard, one of the NHL’s greatest goal scorers of all-time — not just for the Habs, but for the entire NHL.
2. Guy Lafleur – 518 Goals
Guy Lafleur was drafted first overall in 1971, marking one of the few times Canadiens fans were satisfied with a season as they had also just won the Cup that year. He made the team right out of juniors and, despite putting up excellent offensive numbers, struggled for his first three seasons to live up to the hype of being called a phenom. However, in his fourth season he exploded offensively, putting up his first of six-straight 50-or-more goal seasons, proving why he was seen as the greatest Quebec-born sniper since Richard.
Lafleur played 14 seasons with the Canadiens, scoring 518 goals in 961 games where he won the Hart Trophy twice, the Lester B Pearson Award (since renamed the Ted Lindsay award) three times and the Art Ross twice. In the playoffs, he continued to shine, scoring 57 goals in 124 games, including the Cup-winning goal in Game 4 of the 1976 Final where the Habs swept the “Broad Street Bullies” Philadelphia Flyers. It was a Final that showcased the new-school brawling style versus the Canadiens’ brand of firewagon hockey.
Lafleur retired as one of the greatest players to wear the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge and is immortalized by a statue outside the Bell Center and with his number 10 hanging in the rafters.
3. Jean Beliveau – 507 Goals
No list of the greatest players in hockey can be complete without adding the name Jean Beliveau. “Le Gros Bill” joined the Canadiens full time in 1953, a few years after the team bought the entire Quebec Senior League to purchase his professional rights. It took him no time to prove they were right to do so. The winner of the Hart trophy in 1956 and 1964 and the Art Ross Trophy in 1956 played his entire 20-year career in Montreal. He left a legacy as the gentlemanly professional that players aspire to reach to this day. In his 20 seasons, he scored 507 goals in 1,125 games, but the playoffs are where his scoring was most felt.
Beliveau scored 79 goals in 162 playoff games, helping him win 10 Stanley Cups as a player (he won seven more as an executive for a total of 17 Stanley Cup rings) but two goals will stand out more than the others.
Related: Jean Beliveau – Miracle of Modesty
He scored the winning goal in the 1960 Cup Final, sweeping the rival Toronto Maple Leafs and giving the Canadiens the distinction as the only team in history to win the Cup five consecutive years. He played the hero again in 1965 when he scored the Cup-winning goal in Game 7 versus the Chicago Blackhawks.
4. Yvan Cournoyer – 428 Goals
Yvan Cournoyer, known as “the RoadRunner”, joined the Canadiens in 1963 and began his NHL career as a power play (PP) specialist as coach Toe Blake didn’t trust the defensive play of his undersized rookie. After a few seasons, Cournoyer earned his coach’s respect and began to get more ice time to dazzle fans with his speed and offensive acumen. He played 16 seasons, all with Montreal, where he scored 428 goals in 968 games. He became known for his ability to score timely goals in the playoffs as well, scoring 64 goals in 147 games. One of those goals was the 1973 Cup-clinching goal, scored in Game 6 versus Chicago. During that 1973 playoff run, he scored 15 goals in 17 games and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
His career was filled with team awards — namely, 10 Stanley Cups — but his leadership and scoring were integral to most of those wins. That is why in 1982 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and on Nov. 11, 2005, Cournoyer had his number 12 retired in a dual ceremony as the number 12 was retired that night for both him and Dickie Moore.
5. Steve Shutt – 408 Goals
Steve Shutt joined the Canadiens in 1972. Over his 13 seasons with the team, he scored 408 goals in 871 games. He led the team in scoring one season in 1976 when he scored a 60-goal campaign, which made him the highest-scoring left winger in a single season in team history. He played on a line with Guy Lafleur through the 1970s, forming a potent pairing that struck fear into the hearts of NHL goaltenders. Despite this, Shutt gained a reputation as someone who only scored leftovers or garbage goals; however, Serge Savard disagrees with that assessment;
They talk a lot about ‘garbage goals’, but it didn’t come by luck….The timing of Steve Shutt was unbelievable. He was always at the right place, and that’s not luck. You could have ten rebounds and not be there, but Steve Shutt was there ten times. He was always there to put the puck in the net.Serge Savard, Legends of Hockey video
6. Bernie Geoffrion – 371 Goals
Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion joined the team in 1950 and went on to play 14 seasons wearing Le Tricolore. In that time he scored 371 goals in 766 games. He was well known for his love of scoring, so much so he became the self-styled “originator” of the slap shot.
That is what earned him the nickname “Boom Boom” from the sound his shots made, the boom of the stick and the boom of the goal. Playing in an era with Maurice Richard, it is easy to overlook the offensive weapon Geoffrion was.
He was able to win the Art Ross Trophy in 1955 and again in 1961. Also in 1961, he won the Hart Trophy as league MVP. His ability to score in the playoffs when it mattered most was also impressive. His playoff scoring with Montreal ended with 56 goals in 127 games, one of which was the winning goal for the 1958 Stanley Cup, the third of five consecutive Cup wins. The only NHL Dynasty to complete that feat in league history.
7. Jacques Lemaire – 366 Goals
Lemaire, an undersized center known for his two-way abilities, joined the Canadiens in the 1967-68 season, scoring 22 goals as a rookie and finishing second in Calder Trophy voting to Black Hawks forward Stan Mikita. Lemaire played 12 NHL seasons, all with the Habs, scoring 366 goals 853 games. He was a consistent scoring threat, as he scored 20 or more goals in all 12 of his NHL seasons. He was also integral to the team’s success in the 1970s as he centered the top line due to his defensive skills and offensive chemistry with Guy Lafleur.
Lemaire’s underrated offensive skills were on full display in the playoffs as he scored 61 goals in 145 games — he is also one of only six players in NHL history to score not one, but two Stanley Cup-winning goals. His first was the overtime winner in Game 4 as the Canadiens swept the Bruins to win the 1977 Cup. His second Cup-winning goal was in Game 5 of the 1979 Cup Final versus the New York Rangers.
8. Henri Richard – 358 Goals
His scoring wasn’t prolific or done with flair, it was simply consistent. You could always count on Henri to provide offence and at times when it was needed most. He will always be known as the brother of Maurice Richard, but Henri didn’t get into the league because of his brother. Being the only player to win the Stanley Cup 11 times in a playing career proves that.
Over the course of his 20 seasons, all with Montreal, Henri scored 358 goals in 1,258 games. Obviously his goal totals were declining at the end of his storied career, but he always showed up when you needed him. He scored the Cup-winning goal at the 2:20 mark of overtime in the hostile Olympia Stadium in Detroit to win the 1966 Cup. He played the hero again in 1971 when he scored the game-tying and Cup-winning goals in Game 7 versus Chicago. He retired in 1975 at the age of 38. Soon after, his number 16 was retired on Dec. 10, 1975, and raised to the rafters next to his brother’s number 9. Then in 1979, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
9. Aurele Joliat – 269 Goals
Aurele “Little Giant” Joliat joined the Canadiens in 1922 as compensation for Saskatoon signing Newsy Lalonde away from the Habs. He made an immediate impact that season, scoring 13 goals in 24 games. Joliat, the 1934 Hart Trophy winner, ended up playing 16 seasons with the team scoring 269 goals in 655 games while forming a potent duo with Howie Morenz for several seasons. He played an integral role in winning three Stanley Cups with the team before he retired in 1938.
10. Mario Tremblay – 258 Goals
Before becoming a controversial figure as a coach in Montreal, Mario Tremblay was a revered role player during the Canadiens’ dynasties of the 1970s. Drafted 12th overall in 1974, he joined the team midway through the 1974-75 season, scoring 21 goals as a rookie. On a lesser team, he may have been the top offensive threat; however, on a team filled with HHOF players such as Lafleur, Shutt and Cournoyer, Tremblay’s role was as secondary scoring.
Tremblay’s role cannot be underestimated for its importance to team success. In his 12 seasons, all in Montreal, he scored 258 goals in 852 games, and his scoring in the playoffs was also a key component to team success. He scored 20 goals in 101 playoff games on his way to four Stanley Cups. One of his 20 goals won the Habs the Cup in Game 5 of the 1978 Stanley Cup Final versus the rival Boston Bruins.
11. Howie Morenz – 257 Goals
Morenz was the superstar of the NHL in his day. He was the first player in NHL history to become a three-time Hart Trophy winner, winning the award in 1928, 1931 and 1932. Over his two tours with the team, he played 12 seasons for Montreal, scoring 257 goals in 460 games.
Related: Howie Morenz – Hockey Royalty
He was such an offensive force that for seven seasons between 1926 to 1932, he led the Canadiens in goals and points. His scoring prowess wasn’t reserved for the regular season either as he was the author of both the 1924 and 1930 Cup-winning goals.
He played his last game on Jan. 28, 1937, when he suffered a tragic accident in which he broke his leg. Three weeks later, after being told he would not be able to play hockey again, he passed away from a coronary embolism. His funeral, held on March 11, 1937, was the team’s first “state” funeral held in the Montreal Forum, allowing thousands of fans to pay tribute to a great player. His number seven was retired on Nov. 2, 1937 — the first number the Canadiens retired in franchise history.
12. Dickie Moore – 254 Goals
Moore joined the Canadiens in 1951. He quickly moved his way up the lineup and was a regular fixture on the left wing in his 12 seasons in Montreal. He scored 254 goals in 654 games for the Habs, even leading the team in goals once. Moore also won back-to-back Art Ross Trophies as the league’s leading scorer in 1958 and 1959. Over his time in Montreal, Moore added 38 goals in 112 playoff games, winning six Stanley Cups — one of his 38 goals was the Cup-clinching goal in 1957.
13. Claude Provost – 254 Goals
Provost, a right winger, joined the team in the 1955-56 season, scoring 13 goals in his rookie season. He played his entire 15-year NHL career with Montreal, scoring 254 goals in 1,005 games.
The winner of the 1969 Masterton Trophy, Provost won nine Stanley Cups in his career and holds the unique distinction of being the only person in NHL history to have won eight or more Stanley Cups and not be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
14. Mats Naslund – 243 Goals
Naslund, affectionately known as “le Petit Viking”, played eight seasons with the Canadiens. Drafted by the team in 1979, he joined them in 1982, where he scored 71 points in 76 games as a rookie, 26 of them goals. By his third NHL season in 1984, he had become the team’s top goal scorer with 42.
He eventually led the team in goals on three occasions. In his eight NHL seasons with Montreal, Naslund scored 243 goals in 617 games. He also holds the distinction to be the last Canadiens’ player to score 100 or more points in a season, last doing so in 1986.
15. Bob Gainey – 239 Goals
Drafted eighth overall in 1973, Gainey joined the Habs full time in 1973. He was not best known for his offensive skills — quite the contrary, he was known for his sublime defensive acumen. So much so that NHL lore has it that the Selke Trophy, awarded to the best defensive forward, was created due to Gainey being the first defensive forward specialist.
He was awarded the first Selke and the following three, making him and Patrice Bergeron the only two forwards to win it four times. Before Gainey retired in 1989, scoring 239 goals in 1,160 games, he also won five Stanley Cups. He was inducted to the HHOF in 1992 and saw his number 23 retired to the rafters in Montreal on Feb. 23, 2008.
16. Toe Blake – 235 Goals
Blake, a Coniston, ON native, played 14 NHL seasons — 13 with the Canadiens where he scored 235 goals in 577 games. In that time, he patrolled the left wing of the Canadiens’ top line, including time with one of the most famous lines ever formed in NHL history, the Punch Line. This line consisted of Blake, Elmer Lach and Maurice Richard and terrorized NHL goaltenders during the 1940s. Blake also led the Canadiens in goals scored three times in his 13 seasons.
In the playoffs, he was able to score key goals with 25 goals in 57 playoff games. Two of those goals were the Stanley Cup-clinching goals in 1944 and 1946, cementing his reputation as a clutch goal scorer in Canadiens’ lore.
17. Tomas Plekanec – 233 Goals
The Czech-born center, Plekanec was drafted in the third round of the 2001 NHL Draft. He joined the Canadiens full time in the 2005-06 season. Soon after, he became the team’s top two-way center, facing off against the opposition’s top forwards.
That being said, his offence wasn’t lacking either as he provided seven seasons of 20 goals or more. He completed his 15 NHL seasons almost exclusively with the Canadiens, excluding that unfortunate few months he played with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Plekanec provided Canadiens fans 233 goals in 984 games. After returning to Montreal, he retired soon after he played his 1,000th NHL game.
18. Max Pacioretty – 226 Goals
Pacioretty was drafted in the first round in 2007 from the draft pick received in the Craig Rivet trade to San Jose Sharks. After one season in the NCAA, Pacioretty joined the professional ranks and bounced between Montreal and their AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs. This was until the infamous Zdeno Chara hit on March 8, 2011, where Pacioretty suffered a fractured vertebrae and a severe concussion. Once recovered, he won the Masterton Trophy and truly hit his full stride, never returning to the AHL. He then produced five seasons where he scored 30 or more goals for the Habs.
Pacioretty was the first sniper drafted and developed by the team that fans had seen in over a decade. Over the course of his 10 seasons in Montreal, he scored 226 goals in 626 games and led the team in goals scored five times. He was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2018 in return for Tomas Tatar and Nick Suzuki.
19. Stephane Richer – 225 Goals
Richer, a second-round pick of the Canadiens in the legendary 1984 Draft, joined the Habs in time for the 1985-86 season and a Stanley Cup. He scored 21 goals his rookie season, and, over the course of his nine seasons in Montreal, scored 225 goals in 490 games played.
He was a two-time, 50-goal scorer with the team and holds the distinction as being the last player to score 50 goals in a Habs uniform, a feat he completed in the 1989-90 season. He was traded to the New Jersey Devils in 1991 in return for Kirk Mueller.
20. Pete Mahovlich – 223 Goals
Mahovlich was the second player ever drafted (by Detroit) in the NHL amateur draft. He was later traded to Montreal from Detroit in exchange for Garry Monahan, coincidentally, the first player ever selected in the NHL amateur draft.
Mahovlich played nine seasons in a Canadiens uniform, scoring 223 goals in 580 games. He didn’t possess the scoring touch his older brother Frank had, but he was able to score multiple 30-or-more goal seasons.
Blain is a regular contributor as a THW Writer. For over 7 years he has been a part time journalist and podcaster covering the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens and its affiliates. He has made appearances on various television and radio stations as well as podcasts to discuss the Canadiens, and the NHL. Blain has taken the lessons on integrity, ethics, values and honesty that he has learned as a 28 year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and applied them to his work as a journalist to guide him in informing his readers and his goal of being a trusted source of information and entertainment.