Greatest Montreal Canadien to Wear Each Jersey Number

Assembling a list of greatest players to ever wear a number is not easy with a franchise as old and as storied as the Montreal Canadiens. It will also leave great players off the list, players who also enjoyed Hall-of-Fame careers. Debates over these lists will rage on, but one thing Habs fans can agree upon – these players provided fans memorable moments and quirky trivia items to last a lifetime. Here are the greatest players to have worn each number for the Canadiens.

Top players to wear each number for Montreal Canadiens

1 – Jacques Plante

As a six-time Stanley Cup Champion, seven-time Vezina Trophy and 1961 Hart Trophy winner, Jacques Plante’s illustrious career earned him legend status in Montreal. His 314 career wins had him at the top of the wins list in franchise history for half of a century and also helped have his number retired and placed him into the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF).

2 – Doug Harvey

Before his induction into the HHOF, before his number two was hung in the rafters of the old Montreal Forum, before Bobby Orr, Doug Harvey was known as the most mobile defender to have ever played the game. He was the original offensive defenceman – his style of activating into the rush and using crisp passes on the fly to generate offense was highly criticized yet revolutionized the position. 

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The winner of the seven Norris Trophies puts him into elite company with Orr and Nicklas Lidstrom and places him in the conversation as one of the greatest defensemen in NHL history.

3 – Emile “Butch” Bouchard

In a career that spanned 15 seasons, all with the Canadiens, the Hall of Fame defenceman was highly regarded as a tough, but gentlemanly player. He won four Stanley Cups but was best known as the first Quebec-born captain of the Canadiens. He entered the HHOF in 1966. His number was retired on Dec. 4, 2009, as part of the Canadiens’ Centennial ceremony.

4 – Jean Beliveau

“Le Gros Bill” is looked to as the epitome of class and style for all of hockey. When he was starting out, he was the original child prodigy. The Canadiens bought the entire Quebec Senior league just to make sure they controlled his rights. Finally, in 1953, he left the Quebec Aces for the Canadiens. His 10 Stanley Cups, over 1,000 games, 1,200 points, 10 years as the captain all with the Canadiens and his community involvement earned him status as a larger than life figure in Montreal.

Jean Beliveau (THW Archives)

His jersey was retired immediately after he retired as a player in 1971 and was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame one year later. He was so highly revered that he was offered the position as the Governor-General of Canada in 1994, but turned it down so that he can spend time with his wife and family. Upon his death on Dec. 2, 2014, he was given the equivalent of a state funeral by the Canadiens, an honour only two others, Howie Morenz and Maurice Richard, received.

5 – Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion

Boom Boom Geoffrion earned his nickname for his blistering slapshot that he claims he invented. His 393 goals and 922 points in 883 games played proved that it was an effective weapon for him. It helped him win six Stanley Cups, a Hart Trophy, a Calder Trophy and two Art Ross Trophies, which led him directly into the HHOF.

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His number 5 was retired on March 11, 2006, hours after he had passed away from cancer. In a moving ceremony attended by his family, including his son Danny and grandson Blake, who both also played for the Canadiens, his number was hung in the rafters next to that of number seven, Howie Morenz, his father-in-law. To mark that bond, the number seven was lowered halfway so that both men could join each other in the rafters.

Toe Blake
Toe Blake in his early days with Canadiens. (THW Archives)

6 – Hector “Toe” Blake

Toe Blake has had a major impact on the Canadiens as a coach, winning eight Cups in 13 seasons in that role. But he was no slouch as a player, either. He played 14 NHL seasons, eight of them as captain of the Canadiens. He scored 235 goals, 529 points in 577 games.

He won three Cups, a Hart Trophy and entered the HHOF in 1966 as a player. Tragically, he passed away from complications from Alzheimer’s in 1995.

7 – Howie Morenz

The Stratford Streak was one of the first offensive stars in NHL history. He led the league in points twice, won the Hart as MVP three times and won three Cups. His 271 goals, 476 points in 550 games earned him a position in the first-ever HHOF induction class in 1945. His career and life were tragically cut short when he broke his leg in an on-ice accident with Earl Siebert of the Chicago Blackhawks.

He passed three weeks later from a blood embolism, but legend has it was from a broken heart when he was told he would not be able to play hockey again. His number seven was the first number retired by the Canadiens and a few days later a memorial game was held by NHL all-stars to benefit the Morenz family, a precursor to the All-Star games.

8 – Doug Risebrough

Doug Risebrough spent eight seasons in Montreal where he played an aggressive and productive style. For today’s Habs fans, picture Andrew Shaw only with more skill. In the playoffs, he played in checking roles that helped the Habs win four straight Stanley Cups from 1976 to 1979. 

9 – Maurice “Rocket” Richard

What needs to be said about the first NHL player to ever score 500 goals, or score 50 goals in 50 games? Upon his retirement, Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s sweater was retired immediately, and the HHOF waived the five-year waiting period to allow his induction in 1961. The man is beyond a legend – he was an icon, not just in hockey, but in Quebec culture. As the first Quebecois superstar, he evoked a cultural pride in the french-speaking fanbase and inspired Roch Carrier’s “The Hockey Sweater”, the infamous “Richard Riots” in March 1955 and even a feature film called “The Rocket”.

Rocket Richard
Maurice Richard (THW Archives)

Upon his passing, the entire province of Quebec came to a standstill and mourned as he was given a state funeral. No list of greatest NHL players in history is complete without adding the eight-time Stanley Cup champion.

10 – Guy Lafleur

The Thurso, Quebec native was the 1971 first-overall selection – Guy Lafleur had pressure to perform as soon as he arrived in Montreal. His first few seasons were good, but not at the level of expectations. He hit his stride in year four and never looked back. In 961 games with Montreal, he scored 518 goals and 1,246 points. He won two Hart Trophies, three Art Ross Trophies, one Conn Smythe Trophy and five Stanley Cups. He was inducted to the HHOF in 1988. He soon after returned to the NHL, playing three more seasons split between the New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques.

11 – Saku Koivu

Drafted 21st overall in 1993, the undersized Finnish center remained in Finland to complete his compulsory military training before making his NHL debut in 1995. His two-way play, honesty, and determination on and off the ice won over the Montreal fans. In 1999, he was named captain of the Canadiens and held that role for 10 years, making him the only player other than Jean Beliveau to hold the title for that long.

Saku Koivu
Saku Koivu (Image: French Kheldar

Saku Koivu is also the source of one of the most iconic moments for the Canadiens in the 21st Century. When he returned less than a year after being diagnosed with cancer, the long and emotional ovation he received on April 9, 2002, is burned into the memory of every Habs fan. Despite never winning a Stanley Cup, there are fans clamouring for his sweater to be retired.

12 – Yvan Cournoyer

The “Roadrunner”, as Cournoyer was known due to his speed along the right wing, played 16 NHL seasons, all with Montreal. A member of the famed Team Canada 1972 Summit Series team, he scored 428 goals and 863 points in 968 NHL games played. In that time, he won eight Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1973. His last four seasons were as captain of the Canadiens. His number 12 was retired on Nov. 12, 2005, in a ceremony prior to playing the rival Toronto Maple Leafs in which Dickie Moore also had his number 12 retired. Cournoyer entered the HHOF in 1982 and has been a team ambassador since his retirement in 1979.

13 – Mike Cammalleri

Mike Cammalleri joined the Habs as one of several big-name unrestricted free agent signings in the summer of 2009 when general manager Bob Gainey tried to rebuild in one summer using the Scott Gomez trade and free agency. Cammalleri had two productive seasons, but he will be best known for his playoff performances, in 2010 where he scored 13 goals in 19 games before the Habs bowed out to the Philadelphia Flyers and in 2011 where he had 10 points in seven games.

Cammalleri was not with the Canadiens long as he was traded to the Calgary Flames in 2012 during the second intermission of a game versus the Boston Bruins by GM Pierre Gauthier for comments to the media stating the team’s play in the week leading up to his trade was unacceptable.

14 – Tomas Plekanec

The undersized center was a 2001 third-round pick of the Canadiens. Tomas Plekanec and his famous turtleneck undershirt played all but 17 games of his 1,001 NHL game career with the Canadiens. He provided the team and their fans seven 20-goal seasons and 14 quality NHL seasons playing the shutdown-center role until his trade to the rival Maple Leafs.

Tomas Plekanec (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

After their first-round exit, Plekanec re-signed with the Canadiens for one more season to reach the 1,000 game plateau and retire with the Canadiens.

15 – Bobby Smith

Smith arrived in Montreal in Oct. 1983 in a trade with the Minnesota North Stars in return for Mark Napier and Ken Hodge. The Canadiens acquired the former Calder Trophy winner to add a top center who could lead a young, rebuilding team. In his 505 NHL games with the Canadiens, he scored 172 goals and 482 points. As well as being a playoff producer, he helped the Habs make deep playoff runs in every season he played in Montreal, including a Stanley Cup Final in 1989 and a Cup championship in 1986. He was traded back to Minnesota in 1990 where he finished his playing career.

16 – Henri “Pocket Rocket” Richard

Richard is the younger brother of Canadiens legend, Maurice Richard. The “Pocket Rocket” joined his brother and the Canadiens in 1956 and they formed an important duo during the greatest dynasty in NHL history, winning five consecutive Cups, something no other team has duplicated. During his 20-year NHL career, Henri won 11 Stanley Cups, becoming the only player in hockey history to win that many championships.

Henri Richard – (THW Archives)

He followed in his brother’s footsteps and became captain of the Habs for four seasons. Upon his retirement in 1975, the team retired his number 16. He was inducted to the HHOF in 1979.

17 – Jean-Guy Talbot

Talbot patrolled the Canadiens’ blue line for 12 NHL seasons from 1956 to 1967 where he helped the Canadiens win seven Stanley Cups. He was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the 1967 expansion draft and helped lead that franchise to three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals where they lost all three, twice to the Canadiens, once to the Boston Bruins.

18 – Serge Savard

Nicknamed “the Senator”, Serge Savard anchored the Canadiens blue line for 15 years. During the 1970s, he formed part of the famed “Big 3” with future HHOF players Larry Robinson and Guy Lapointe. Savard was known for the famous “Savardian spin-orama” at the blue line to create space from his opponents. In 1972, he played for Team Canada in the Summit Series, playing the final three games on a hairline fracture in his leg.

The “Big 3” from L to R: Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe, Larry Robinson (THW Archives)

During his 917 NHL games with the Canadiens, he scored 100 goals and 412 points on his way to winning a Masterton Trophy, a Conn Smythe Trophy and seven Stanley Cups. After his retirement in 1983, he rejoined the Canadiens as the GM. He became the architect of two more Stanley Cup championships in 1986 and 1993. In 1986, he was inducted into the HHOF.  During a ceremony in 2006, his number 18 was retired. He is still with the team on a part-time basis as a special advisor to the owner Geoff Molson.

19 – Larry Robinson

Larry Robinson, the 1971 second-round selection, joined the Canadiens full-time in 1973. He went on to play 17 seasons with Montreal before joining the Los Angeles Kings in 1989 to finish his playing career. During his time in Montreal “Big Bird” played a physical, two-way game that earned him a reputation as a feared competitor.

In his 1,202 games with the Canadiens, he scored 197 goals and 883 points. He won two Norris Trophies, the 1978 Conn Smythe Trophy, and six Stanley Cups. In 1995, he was the final member of the “Big 3” to be inducted into the HHOF (Guy Lapointe was inducted in 1993). Robinson’s famed number 19 was retired prior to a game versus his hometown Ottawa Senators on Nov. 19, 2007. Since his playing career, Robinson has moved onto a successful coaching career, winning four more Stanley Cups.

20 – Pete Mahavolich

The younger brother of Frank Mahavolich, Pete was acquired in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings in 1969. He patrolled center for the Canadiens for nine NHL seasons, scoring 223 goals and 569 points in 580 games played. He won four Stanley Cups with the team before being traded in 1977 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in return for 50-goal scorer Pierre Larouche. He was a member of Team Canada for the 1972 Summit Series. After his retirement, he became a professional scout and has worked with several NHL teams.

21 – Guy Carbonneau

Guy Carbonneau
Guy Carbonneau (THW Archives)

Guy Carbonneau was an offensive star in junior hockey, capping off his amateur career with a 182-point season. However, this was not a precursor to the type of NHL player he would become. While he was able to put up 221 goals and 547 points in his 912 games with the Canadiens, he became best known as a stalwart defensive centerman and the winner of three Selke Trophies. He became captain of the Canadiens in 1990 and held that role until he was traded in 1994.

He won two Stanley Cups with Montreal and one with the Dallas Stars at the end of his playing career. In 2005, somewhat ironically considering his offensive output in junior hockey, the QMJHL created the Guy Carbonneau Trophy to be awarded annually to the top defensive forward in the league. In 2019, Carbonneau was inducted into the HHOF.

22 – Steve Shutt

The fourth-overall pick in 1972, Shutt wasn’t known for his blistering speed or great size, but he did have a highly accurate shot, a knack for getting open and an ability to score from in close. In 1977, he became the first left winger in NHL history to score 60 goals. In his 13 seasons with the Canadiens, Shutt scored 408 goals and 776 points in 871 games. He won five Stanley Cups, including four consecutive Cups from 1976 to 1979. He was inducted to the HHOF in 1993.

23 – Bob Gainey

Bob Gainey was drafted eighth overall in 1973 and played his entire NHL career with the Canadiens. In 1,160 games, he scored 239 goals and 501 points – not offensive numbers that stand out for a player that ended up being inducted into the HHOF in 1992. He also won five Stanley Cups as a player, four Selke Trophies and a Conn Smythe Trophy in 1979 after playing the playoffs with two separated shoulders and leading his team to a fourth-straight Cup title.

His style became the blueprint for checking forwards that teams need to win Cups. As a member of Team Canada in the 1976 and 1981 Canada Cups, his play was so technically sound that the Soviet coach at the time, Viktor Tikhonov described him as the world’s best technical player.

Bob Gainey carried off the ice by his teammates after winning the 1979 Stanely Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy while playing with two separated shoulders. (THW Archives)

Before Gainey, there was no Selke Trophy for top defensive forward. His excellence in that style was the reason the NHL created the award, which Gainey won four years in a row after its introduction. In 2008, while he was the Habs GM, the team retired his number 23 and honoured him as one of the greatest captains in team history.

24 – Chris Chelios

Chris Chelios’ time in Montreal was short compared to the length of his 27-year NHL career and 1,651 NHL games. Yet, his seven seasons in Montreal were memorable. He scored 72 goals and 309 points in 402 games. He won his first of three Stanley Cups and his first of three Norris Trophies while finishing second in Calder Trophy votes behind only Mario Lemieux.

Chris Chelios of the Montreal Canadiens
Chris Chelios of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Before his trade to Chicago Blackhawks in 1990, a trade that Habs fans still argue the merits of, he held the title of co-captain with Carbonneau. Chelios was inducted into the HHOF in 2013, three years after his retirement as an Atlanta Thrasher.

25 – Vincent Damphousse

Originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, he played six seasons with Toronto and the Edmonton Oilers, establishing himself as a top-line offensive center before being traded to Montreal in a blockbuster deal that sent Shayne Corson to Edmonton. In Damphousse’s seven seasons in Montreal, he scored 184 goals, 498 points in 519 games. He was also instrumental in the 1993 Cup championship, scoring 23 points in 20 games during their surprise run to the title. He spent two seasons as the Canadiens captain before being traded to the San Jose Sharks in 1999. He retired from the NHL in 2004 and became an analyst with RDS.

26 – Mats Naslund

Nicknamed “le Petit Viking” or “little Viking”, Naslund was one of the smallest players to wear le Bleu Blanc et Rouge in the last 50 years. He was a dynamic offensive player well known for his gentlemanly play, earning him a Lady Byng in 1988. In his eight years with Montreal, he scored 243 goals, 612 points in 617 games. Naslund holds the distinction as the last Canadiens’ player to score 100 points in a season, which he did in 1986, the year he helped lead the Habs to his only Stanley Cup.

27 – Alex Kovalev

“L’Artiste” joined the Habs via a trade in 2004 that was widely hailed as the best trade Gainey had made as Montreal’s GM. In Kovalev’s five seasons with the team, he scored 103 goals and 234 points in 314 games.

Alex Kovalev, 2009 (THW Archives)

Before he left Montreal as a free agent to sign with the Ottawa Senators, fans assembled outside the Bell Center in protest, demanding the team keep Kovalev.

28 – Eric Desjardins

Desjardins was the 1987 second pick of the Canadiens. He joined the team full-time in 1989 and became a staple on the top pair. In his seven seasons in Montreal, he scored 43 goals, 179 points in 405 games played. The highlight of his career with the Canadiens was Game 2 of the 1993 Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings where he scored all three goals in a 3-2 victory, including the power play goal on the infamous Marty McSorley illegal stick call. The one-time Cup champion was then traded in 1995 to the Flyers with John LeClair for Mark Recchi.

29 – Ken Dryden

Montreal has a long history of great goaltenders and Ken Dryden is near the top of that list. Originally a Boston Bruins draft pick, he was traded to Montreal in return for Guy Allen and Paul Reid (take a moment to Google them). After a standout NCAA career at Cornell, he joined the Canadiens late in 1971.

He won the starter’s role in the playoffs and led the team to the 1971 Cup while winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP. In 1972, still a rookie, he won the Calder Trophy as top rookie, becoming the first person in NHL history to win a playoff MVP before winning the top-rookie honors.

Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens
MONTREAL, CANADA – CIRCA 1975: Ken Dryden #29 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during a game at the Montreal Forum circa 1975 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

In his eight NHL seasons, all with Montreal, he played 397 games and won five Vezina Trophies and six Stanley Cups. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983, three years after his retirement. In 2007, the Canadiens retired his number 29. Dryden has gone on to distinguished careers in hockey management, politics and as an author.

30 – Chris Nilan

Nilan was a 19th-round selection in the 1978 draft for the Canadiens. His nickname “Knuckles” was from his ability to fight, something his 3,043 career penalty minutes (PIM) can attest to. But he was more than a fighter – he could play the rough-and-tumble style he grew up idolizing in Boston, even providing offence with a career-high 21 goals in 1985. In total, Nilan scored 88 goals, 175 points, and 2,248 PIM in 523 games, winning the 1986 Stanley Cup.

31 – Carey Price

Carey Price’s selection at fifth overall in the 2005 draft surprised many, but GM Bob Gainey saw greatness in him, famously calling him a thoroughbred in a 2009 season in-review press conference. History has proven Gainey correct. Price has become a premier goaltender, having won at the AHL, World Juniors and Olympic levels.

Carey Price Montreal Canadiens
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In the NHL, he’s won a Vezina, a Hart, a Ted Lindsay and a Jennings Trophy. He holds the record for most wins as a Canadien, surpassing Jacques Plante’s previous record of 314 wins.

32 – Claude Lemieux

Lemieux was the 1983 second-round selection of the Canadiens. He is best known as a fierce competitor that would do anything to win. His hard-nosed playing style drew plenty of controversies and earned him a reputation as a hated rival. One incident occurring in the 1996 playoffs where he checked Detroit Red Wings forward Kris Draper from behind, breaking Draper’s jaw. That was the moment the Detroit and Colorado Avalanche rivalry was born. Lemieux completed his career with four Stanley Cups on three different teams and the 1995 Conn Smythe Trophy with the New Jersey Devils. In his seven seasons in Montreal, he scored 97 goals, 189 points and won the 1986 Stanley Cup

33 – Patrick Roy

Patrick Roy was drafted in the third round in 1984. He was not a goaltender known for technical perfection, but was known as a fierce competitor. He is also known as the goaltender to have popularized the classic butterfly style. Roy’s 551 NHL wins sits second all-time behind only Martin Brodeur’s 691 as the winningest goaltenders in NHL history. Roy’s time in Montreal was the stuff of legends, winning 289 games in 551 starts. He also won two Stanley Cups with the Canadiens, and two more with Colorado. He also won five Vezina Trophies, five Jennings Trophies, and three Conn Smythe Trophies.

He was inducted into the HHOF in 2006, only three years after his retirement in 2003. Roy’s departure from Montreal will live on in infamy. In 1995, he and then-coach Mario Tremblay had a public feud that came to a head on Dec. 22, 1995, in a game versus Detroit. After allowing nine goals, Roy left the ice, walked past Tremblay on the bench to the team president Ronald Corey, seated behind the bench, to demand an immediate trade.

best Habs goalies
Patrick Roy sporting his 33 (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Four days later, he was traded to Colorado to spend eight more seasons on a Cup contending team while the Canadiens began a downward slide. To many Habs fans, this trademarked the end of the glory years for the Canadiens and a championship drought that is closing in on nearly three decades. The Canadiens and Roy mended their feud when they brought him home to retire his number 33 on Oct. 28, 2008.

34 – Sergei Zholtok

Contrary to popular opinion among Habs fans, there won’t be a solid contributor or HHOF player to have worn every number for the Canadiens. Zholtok had a good 10-season NHL career split among six NHL teams. His time in Montreal was during perhaps the worst time in franchise history. Arriving in 1999, he played three seasons scoring 34 goals and 71 points in 170 games. During the 2004 NHL lockout, Zholtok returned to his native Latvia to play for Riga. Tragically he collapsed and passed away from cardiac arrhythmia during a game Nov. 3, 2004.

35 – Mike McPhee

McPhee, a Nova Scotia native, was drafted by Montreal in the sixth round of the 1980 draft. He played a defensively responsible two-way game that was highly prized by his coaches. In his nine years with the Canadiens, he scored 162 goals and 234 points. He was also a part of the 1986 Stanley Cup championship.

36 – Sergio Momesso

Momesso was a second-round pick of the Canadiens in 1983. An NCAA product out of RPI, he was a big body blessed with a mean streak that loved playing a power game and going to the net. He enjoyed a 13-year NHL career with five different NHL teams. In his four seasons with his hometown Montreal, he scored 29 goals and 67 points in 137 games. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues for a second-round pick that would later become Patrice Brisebois.

37 – Steve Penney

Penney, a Québec native, was an eighth-round pick of the Canadiens in 1980. His NHL career lasted only five seasons, three of which were with Montreal. He became a fan-favorite in his rookie season when he carried the Canadiens on a deep playoff run in 1984 where they lost to the New York Islanders in the Cup Final, the last of that franchise’s dynasty of four-straight Cups.

He was the starting goaltender for three seasons until the arrival of Patrick Roy. In 1986, Penney suffered a season-ending injury that allowed Roy to take over and lead the Habs to the 1986 Cup. Unfortunately, Penney’s name is not on that Cup despite being eligible; however, the Canadiens did keep Penney in the team photo and awarded him a Cup ring.

38 – Vladimir Malakhov

Malakhov arrived in Montreal in 1995 from the Islanders in the trade that also brought in Pierre Turgeon. Malakhov was a smooth-skating defenceman who could anchor a power play unit coupled with a physical side. In his six seasons in Montreal, the Russian defender scored 42 goals and 141 points in 283 games. In 2000, Malakhov was traded to New Jersey in exchange for Sheldon Souray.

39 – Brian Skrudland

Skrudland joined the Canadiens in 1986 just in time to win his first of two Stanley Cups – his second, and only other Cup was with the Stars in 2000. He was a prize defensive center who was in the conversations for Selke Trophies but was never able to win one. In his eight seasons with Montreal, Skrudland scored 78 goals and 217 points in 475 games.

Related: Canadiens GM Showdown – Bergevin vs. Gainey

He holds two distinctions outside of being a Cup champion. Skrudland holds the NHL record for the fastest playoff overtime (OT) goal when he scored nine seconds into OT in Game 2 of the 1986 Cup Final against the Calgary Flames. His other distinction is that he was the first captain of the Florida Panthers, a role he held for four seasons.

40 – Joel Armia

Currently still with the Canadiens, Joel Armia was acquired in the summer of 2018. The former Buffalo Sabres’ 2011 first-round pick was slow to blossom.

Joel Armia Montreal Canadiens
Joel Armia, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He has become a quality, top-nine player who excels in using his large frame to gain and retain possession, a trait the smaller Canadiens have been in need of. In his first 100 games with the team, he has scored 27 goals and 50 points.

41 – Jaroslav Halak

Halak was a ninth-round pick of the Canadiens in 2003. He joined the Habs in 2006. In 2010, he became a cult icon in Montreal as he led the underdog team into the Eastern Conference Final that year, beating powerhouse teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Related: Top 3 Canadiens’ All-Time Goalies

That summer he was traded to St. Louis in exchange for Lars Eller, to make way for Carey Price to take over as the starting goaltender.

42 – Darcy Tucker

Darcy Tucker was drafted in the sixth round of the 1993 draft. In his two and a half seasons with Montreal, he scored 8 goals and 26 points in 118 games. His hard-nosed, physical style while playing on the edge made him a cult icon with the Toronto Maple Leafs fans, where he spent the majority of his 14-year NHL career.

43 – Patrice Brisebois

After winning two World Junior Championship Gold Medals and two Memorial Cups, Brisebois was a 1989 selection for the Canadiens. He joined the team in 1990 and by 1993 became a staple top-four defenceman acting as the power play quarterback for the team, winning the Cup in 1993. Unfairly maligned by fans, he was mockingly nicknamed “Breezeby” for having a penchant of being beaten wide by attacking forwards and not living up to his multi-million dollar paycheck. He had an 18-year NHL career, and in the 16 seasons he played for Montreal he scored 87 goals and 371 points in 896 games.

44 – Sheldon Souray

Acquired in a trade with the Devils, Souray soon became a potent power play weapon on the Habs’ blue line. His large frame and heavy shot made him an instant fan-favorite.

His best season with the team was in 2006-07 when he scored 26 goals and 64 points. In his six seasons with the Tricolore, he scored 62 goals and 160 points in 324 games.

45 – Gilbert Dionne

The younger brother of HHOF legend Marcel Dionne, Gilbert was a fourth-round selection for the Habs in 1990. Projected to be a sniper at the professional level, the hope was for Dionne to add scoring punch to the Canadiens’ lineup. Despite arriving in Montreal mid-way into the 1991 season where he scored 21 goals and 34 points in 39 games, he unfortunately had trouble staying in the NHL.

In his six-year NHL career, he only had two full seasons on an NHL club without being sent to the AHL. In parts of five seasons with the Canadiens, Dionne scored 60 goals and 130 points in 196 games and winning the one thing his brother Marcel couldn’t – a Stanley Cup with the 1993 Canadiens.

46 – Andrei Kostitsyn

The Belorussian native was drafted tenth overall in the 2003 draft by the Canadiens. Despite health concerns that year, Kostitsyn was drafted to become an offensive star for the Habs. He became a permanent fixture in Montreal in the 2007 season, scoring 26 goals. In his seven seasons with the team, he scored 99 goals and 201 points in 379 games.

Andrei Kostitsyn Canadiens
Former Montreal Canadiens Forward Andrei Kostitsyn (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

He was traded to Nashville where he infamously broke curfew the night before a second-round playoff game, returning to his hotel at 5 A.M. with Alexander Radulov. They were both suspended for the next game. After that playoff season was completed, Kostitsyn returned to Russia to play in the KHL.

47 – Alexander Radulov

Alexander Radulov arrived in Montreal as a UFA in 2016, assuming a scoring role on the Habs’ top line immediately. Fans became enamoured with the Russian winger’s enthusiastic personality and hard-working playing style. Despite repeating claims declaring his love of the city and fans of Montreal, he decided to sign a five-year deal with Dallas despite receiving the same offer from the Canadiens. In his only season with the team, Radulov scored 18 goals and 54 points in 76 games.

48 – JJ Daigneault

Acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers, Daigneault was brought in to provide strong positional defensive play. In a 16-year career, he played for 10 different NHL teams and he spent the majority of that time with the Canadiens. In his seven seasons with the Habs, he won the 1993 Stanley Cup, scored 22 goals and 90 points in 352 games.

49 – Brian Savage

The Sudbury, Ontario native, Savage was drafted by the Canadiens in the eighth round of the 1991 draft. Before joining the team as a permanent fixture, he won Olympic silver with Team Canada in the 1994 Winter Games. He arrived as an NHL regular in 1995. In his time with the Canadiens, Savage scored 155 goals and 285 points in 461 games. He was traded in 2002 to the Phoenix Coyotes for Sergei Berezin.

50 – Never been worn

51 – Francis Bouillon

Bouillon, a New York state native of Haitian and Quebecois descent, was never drafted. The 5-foot-8 defenceman had to prove himself at every level. Playing a physical style, he was never expected to make the leap into professional hockey. However, his positional play and an unmatched effort and hard work earned him two QMJHL titles and a Memorial Cup.

(Photo: Andy Martin Jr)
Montreal Canadians Francis Bouillon (Photo: Andy Martin Jr)

When the Canadiens hired his junior coach Michel Therrien, he brought Bouillion into the professional ranks where he 776 games over 14 seasons with the Habs and Nashville Predators. During his 11 seasons in Montreal, Bouillon became an instant fan-favorite due to his energy and work ethic.  Now retired, Bouillon is currently working as a player development coach with the Canadiens.

52 – Craig Rivet 

Drafted by the Canadiens in the third round of the 1992 draft, Craig Rivet was seen as a future physical, stay-at-home defenceman who can play in a top-four role. In his 12 seasons in Montreal, he proved to be exactly that. He scored 39 goals and 151 points in 653 games while averaging over 19 minutes per game. However, his largest impact is still felt today, thanks to a fateful deadline day trade in 2007 when he was sent to the San Jose Sharks in return for Josh Gorges and a first-round pick that became Max Pacioretty.

53 – Victor Mete

A fourth-round pick in 2016 draft, the 5-foot-9 defenceman from the OHL’s London Knights wasn’t expected to make it to the NHL. Yet, the highly mobile defender was able to make the leap one year later, spending the majority of his time playing in the team’s top four.

Victor Mete
Victor Mete, February 20, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He holds the Canadiens record of most NHL games before scoring his first NHL goal at 126 games, formerly held by Mike Komisarek at 125, when Mete scored on Oct. 17, 2019, versus the Minnesota Wild.

54 – Charles Hudon 

A fifth-round pick by the Canadiens in 2012, Charles Hudon was an offensive star in the QMJHL. He has spent the majority of his professional career in the AHL where he’s a top-line winger who lights the lamp regularly. However, he hasn’t been able to translate his game to the NHL, where, in parts of five seasons, he has scored 13 goals and 40 points in 119 games.

55 – Sergei Gonchar

Gonchar had a long NHL career spanning 20 seasons, playing for multiple teams and winning the 2009 Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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He arrived in Montreal in a trade from Dallas Stars, playing only 45 games in le Tricolore.

56 – Stephane Robidas

Robidas was a seventh-round pick in 1995. The stay-at-home defenceman had a 937-game NHL career spanning 15 seasons and five teams. After three seasons in Montreal, he was lost on waivers to the Atlanta Thrashers. Now retired, he is the director of player development for Toronto.

57 – Benoit Pouliot

Pouliot was an offensive star for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves, eventually picked fourth overall in 1995 by Minnesota. In 2009, after an underwhelming few seasons, he was traded to the Canadiens in return for Guillaume Latendresse. Pouliot played two seasons with the Habs, scoring a respectable 28 goals and 54 points in 118 games.

58 – David Desharnais

Despite being a scoring powerhouse in the QMJHL, Desharnais was undrafted. The Canadiens took a chance on him in 2008 offering him a contract. He proved instantly that, despite his 5-foot-7 frame, he could play center in the professional ranks, setting a rookie scoring record with ECHL Cincinnati of 106 points. He arrived in Montreal in 2009, eventually becoming the team’s top center.

Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais (Icon SMI)

He was traded in 2017 to the Oilers in return for defenceman Brendan Davidson. Desharnais played nine NHL seasons, eight with the Canadiens where he scored 79 goals and 250 points in 435 games.

59 – Mikhail Grabovski

Grabovski was drafted by the Canadiens in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Draft. He played 27 games before being traded to Toronto in return for Greg Pateryn and a second-round pick. That second was later traded to Chicago in return for Robert Lang.

60 – Jose Theodore 

Jose Theodore was a second pick of the Canadiens in 1994. He joined the professional ranks in 1996 and split time between Montreal and the minors until he joined the team full-time in 1999 when he split the crease with Jeff Hackett. He became the starter the following season and rose to prominence quickly winning the Hart and Vezina Trophies in 2002. His time in Montreal came to an end in 2006 when he lost the starter’s job to Cristobal Huet and was traded to Colorado for David Aebischer. In his nine seasons in Montreal, Theodore had a record of 141-158-35 in 353 games.

61 – Raphael Diaz 

Diaz, an undrafted UFA and 5-foot-11, right-handed defenceman isn’t a household name – he only played 128 games in Montreal out of a 201-game NHL career. What may be most memorable is he was the player used to trade for Dale Weise, who himself was later traded to Chicago for centerman Phillip Danault. So Habs fans can thank Diaz for helping the Habs bring in a quality centerman.

62 – Artturi Lehkonen

A 2013 second-round pick, Lehkonen spent time developing in Finland before jumping the pond and joining the Habs in 2016.

Artturi Lehkonen, Edward Pasquale
Montreal Canadiens left wing Artturi Lehkonen scores on Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Edward Pasquale (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

The defensively responsible winger was viewed as an essential piece for the Canadiens as he consistently improved his offensive outputs each season while playing increasingly more difficult minutes. He was dealt to the Avalanche at the 2022 Trade Deadline.

63 – Craig Darby 

A 1991 second-round pick for Montreal, Darby never was able to reach his potential as a two-way center in the NHL. He played 166 of his 198 games in the NHL with the Habs scoring 19 goals and 47 points.

64 – Greg Pateryn

Pateryn is the only player to ever wear this number. He was acquired in 2008 in the Grabovski trade with Toronto. He played 82 games over parts of four seasons with the Habs and was traded to Dallas in 2017 for Jordie Benn just days after Pateryn’s spouse made derogatory posts on social media about Francophones. (from ‘Stu Cowan: Former Canadien Greg Pateryn thrilled to get a fresh start in Dallas,’ Montreal Gazette, 03/29/2020)

65 – Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw, a gritty forward who could play any role up and down the lineup, arrived to the team with the pedigree of a two-time Cup champion with Chicago.

Andrew Shaw Chicago Blackhawks
Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates a goal. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

His three seasons in Montreal were filled with his signature style, but also concussion issues. He was traded back to his beloved Chicago in 2019. In his 186 games with the Canadiens, he scored 41 goals and 96 points.

66 – Never Worn

67 – Max Pacioretty 

The only player to ever wear this number is former captain Max Pacioretty. Drafted in 2007 with the pick acquired in the Rivet trade, he grew into a goal-scoring threat, posting multiple 30-plus goal seasons for Montreal. However, there was a fear that he would never reach his potential after he suffered a broken neck resulting from a hit by Bruins captain Zdeno Chara in 2011.

Max Pacioretty
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Pacioretty earned the 2012 Masterton after returning the following season and scoring 33 goals. He was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Tomas Tatar, Nick Suzuki and a pick. In his time in Montreal, Pacioretty had 226 goals, 448 points in 626 games.

68 – Yannick Weber 

The only player to wear this number is Carey Price’s brother-in-law, Yannick Weber. He played only 115 games over five seasons with the Canadiens. The Habs let him go as a UFA and he joined the Vancouver Canucks. 

69 – Never Worn

70 – Greg Stewart 

Stewart, a left winger, was a 2004 eighth-round pick of the Canadiens. He played in 26 games over three seasons, scoring one assist. He is the only player to have worn this number.

71 – Mike Ribeiro

Ribeiro was a 1998 second-round pick. He began his professional career in 1999, playing up and down between the NHL and AHL for several seasons, arriving with the Canadiens full-time in 2002. Once he arrived, he quickly established himself as a quality playmaking center, albeit undersized and lacking in physicality. Of his 1,074-game NHL career over 17 seasons, Ribeiro played his first six NHL seasons in Montreal scoring 50 goals and 153 points in 276 games. He was traded to Dallas for Janne Niinimaa.

72 – Erik Cole 

Cole, a Stanley Cup champion in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes, was a power forward who arrived as a UFA signing in 2011. In his only full season with Montreal, he formed a top line with Desharnais and Pacioretty, where all three topped 60 points each, a rare feat in Montreal in the 21st century. Cole finished the season with 33 goals.

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In his 101 games, he scored a total of 38 goals and 67 points. He was traded to Dallas early in his second season in return for Micheal Ryder.

73 – Brendan Gallagher 

This is kind of cheating the system because Gallagher only wore this number in his rookie season before switching over to number 11, yet he is still the better player to have worn this number over the only other one, Micheal Ryder. The diminutive right winger plays with an edge to his game coupled with a non-stop motor. He plays every shift giving his entire effort possible, which has made him the heart and soul and fan-favorite of the Canadiens. A fifth-round pick in 2010, Gallagher has proven all of his detractors wrong at every level. In his first 536 NHL games – all with Montreal – he scored 170 goals and 328 points.

74 – Alexei Emelin

It was a tough call to place Emelin over Sergei Kostitsyn, but Emelin provided quality top-four minutes and a physical game in a time when the team had little of both. A Canadiens’ third-round choice in 2004, he didn’t come to North America until 2011. He arrived with the reputation as a heavy hitter, sometimes putting himself out of defensive position to lay the big hits, which hurt the team at times, but provided fans with some entertaining plays.

Hard hitting defenseman Alexei Emelin (THW Archives)

He averaged more than three hits per game in his six seasons in Montreal, which is quite a bit in that era. He scored 14 goals and 72 points in 380 games with Montreal before being selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft.

75 – Hal Gill

The behemoth 6-foot-7, 245 pound defenceman was not known for being fleet of foot, he was however quite effective at keeping forwards outside the slot and killing penalties. After winning the 2009 Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh, he signed as a UFA in Montreal. He was brought in as added leadership to help mentor a young PK Subban. His ability to block shots played a big role in the Canadiens’ 2010 playoff run defeating the favorite Penguins and Capitals before losing to the Flyers. In his three seasons in Montreal, he played 198 games, scoring 5 goals and 28 points. He was later traded to Nashville for picks and Blake Geoffrion, the grandson of Boom Boom Geoffrion, and great-grand-son of Howie Morenz.

76 – P.K. Subban

P.K. Subban was a 2007 second-round pick. His game was raw, but skilled, which is why he slid down the draft charts. However, the highly talented, puck-moving defenceman soon showed the NHL he was for real, establishing himself as a top-pairing defenceman and winning the Norris Trophy in 2013, becoming the first Habs defenceman to win the award since Chelios won in 1989.

P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
PK Subban, Montreal Canadiens (Photo: Andy Martin Jr)

His high-risk, high-reward style, high-energy personality and charitable work in the city endeared him to fans in Montreal. In his seven seasons in Montreal, he scored 63 goals and 278 points in 434 games. He was traded in 2016 to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber, a trade that has divided a fan base and is hotly debated, likely until the end of time.

77 – Pierre Turgeon

A star point-producing center, Turgeon arrived in Montreal with much fanfare in an offseason trade with the New York Islanders. The 1987 first-overall pick then spent three seasons in Montreal scoring 50 goals and 127 points in 104 games. He also spent one season as the captain of the Canadiens before he was dealt to the St. Louis Blues in a multi-player deal that included the return of Shane Corson.

78 – Eric Landry

Landry, a centerman, was the only player to ever wear 78. He played two seasons in the Canadiens organization, mostly with the AHL affiliate. In his 53 games with the team, he scored 4 goals and 12 points.

79 – Andrei Markov 

Andrei Markov was the only player to wear 79. Even if he wasn’t, it would have been easy to select him as the best. The former sixth-round pick in 1998 began with the Canadiens in 2000.

Andrei Markov
Andrei Markov (Icon SMI)

A prototypical puck-moving defenceman, he was best known for his sublime and almost effortless passing through traffic that made him an effective power play weapon for many years. He played his entire 990-game NHL career with the Canadiens, scoring 119 goals and 572 points.

80 – Ben Maxwell

Maxwell was drafted out of the WHL by the Canadiens in the second round of the 2006 draft. Drafted to become a productive two-way centerman, Maxwell couldn’t translate his scoring or defensive touch to the NHL. In his 20 games with the Canadiens, he scored zero points. His first NHL point was with the Atlanta Thrashers in their last season before moving to Winnipeg.

81 – Lars Eller

Acquired in the Halak trade, Lars Eller was seen as a future top-six center the Habs had been in desperate need of. Some nights he flashed his offensive talents, scoring four goals against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 4, 2012.

(Photo: Andy Martin Jr)
Lars Eller (Photo: Andy Martin Jr)

However, he could never get past playing a third-line role or score more than 30 points in a season. He was traded to Washington for picks.

82 – Donald Audette

Acquired in a trade with Dallas in 2001 in return for Benoit Brunet, it was hoped that he could add some scoring to the Habs lineup. After multiple seasons scoring 20 to 30 goals per season, time caught up with Audette who ended up playing a depth role on the Habs’ third line before being waived in 2004.

83 – Ales Hemsky

Signed as a low-risk, high-reward UFA to a one year deal, Hemsky, a former first-round pick, was hoped to add scoring depth. He had an excellent training camp and preseason. However, seven games into the season he suffered a severe concussion and one year later after recovering, he retired from the NHL.

84 – Guillaume Latendresse

Latendresse was a second-round pick of the Habs. Fans were so excited to see the QMJHL star with the Canadiens that he became an instant celebrity. He made the team in his first training camp, scoring 16 goals as a rookie. He could never hit his stride and was traded to Minnesota for Pouliot.

Latendresse was able to get 25 goals with Minnesota that season. He eventually signed with the Ottawa Senators, but concussions eventually ended his career.

85 – Morgan Ellis 

Ellis is the only player to wear this number. He was the Canadiens’ fourth-round pick in 2010, the left-handed defenceman played an all-around game that earned him a professional career, mostly in the minor leagues. He played three games for the Canadiens, the only NHL games he would play, in 2015.

86 – Jonathan Ferland 

Ferland is the only player to wear this number. He was a seventh-round pick in 2002 of the Canadiens and spent the majority of his career in North America playing in the minor leagues. He had a seven-game call-up with the Canadiens in which he scored his only NHL goal in 2006.

87 – Never Worn

88 – Chris Higgins

Higgins wore this number for two games in 2003. As a first-round pick of the Canadiens, fans expected big things from the scoring winger out of NCAA Yale. He didn’t disappoint, scoring 23 goals in his rookie season.

He scored 20 or more in his first three seasons, then he was traded to the New York Rangers in the ill-fated Scott Gomez trade. In his time as a Canadien, Higgins scored 84 goals, 151 points in 282 games.

89 – Nikita Nesterov

Acquired in a late-season trade, Nestorov only wore this sweater for 13 games. The mobile defenceman was brought in as defensive depth for a playoff run, and provided physical play and some help on a third pairing. In his 13 games with the team, he scored one goal and five points.

90 – Tomas Tatar

Tatar was acquired in the Pacioretty deal. Since his arrival in Montreal, he has provided fans with steady play as a two-way winger with a scoring touch, leading to a career year of 58 points in his first season with the team, and his second is on pace to out produce that season as well. In his first 138 games with the Canadiens, he has scored 45 goals and 110 points.

91 – Scott Gomez

Gomez was acquired in a trade with the Rangers that many have now looked back on as being one of the worst in Bob Gainey’s tenure as the GM of the Canadiens. At the time he was still considered a quality playmaking center providing a 59-point season in his first with the team.

Scott Gomez (THW Archives)

After that, there was a sharp drop in production. After a 60-game scoreless drought, the 2012 lockout gave Canadiens management the option to terminate his contract.  

92 – Jonathan Drouin

The former 2013 third-overall pick was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning in return for defenceman Mikhail Sergachev. An offensive star in the QMJHL and Montreal native, Drouin’s arrival was hailed as the return of a hometown hero. He matched his career high in points in his second season, but injuries and consistency issues left doubt for fans. In his time in Montreal, he scored 48 goals and 186 points in 321 games with the club.

93 – Doug Gilmour

The HHOF and 1989 Stanley Cup champion signed with the Canadiens as a free agent in 2001 where he scored 41 points and helped lead them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs where they upset the top-seeded Bruins before losing in the second round to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Doug Gilmour, Toronto Maple Leafs
Doug Gilmour
(Image Courtesy of D’Oliveira Photography)

He played one more season, then was traded to Toronto so that he could play his final game as a Maple Leaf and retire.

94 – Yanic Perrault 

Known as a faceoff specialist, Perrault signed as a UFA center with the Canadiens in 2001. He spent three productive seasons with the team before the 2005 lockout, after which, he signed with the Nashville Predators. In his three seasons, Perrault scored 67 goals and 133 points in 224 games.

95 – Sergei Berezin

Acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Brian Savage in the 2001-02 season, Berezin played only 29 games for the Canadiens. The left winger scored only four goals and six assists before he was traded to Chicago for a pick. He played only one more season in the NHL before returning to Europe.

96 – Never Worn

97 – Joshua Roy

98 – Never Worn

99 – Never Worn and retired league-wide by the NHL for Wayne Gretzky