A Montreal Canadiens legend, Hockey Hall of Famer, and one of the most lethal hockey scorers, Guy Lafleur “The Flower” is an ice hockey all-time great. Lafleur a quick skater, and magnificent stick-handler plied, his trade for the Montreal Canadiens (the Habs), New York Rangers, and Quebec Nordiques between 1971 and 1991 in a 17-year highly decorated career. He is a Stanley Cup winner, a hockey scoring record-breaker, the Hart Memorial Trophy winner, and Montreal’s all-time leading scorer.
Lafleur’s Career Highlights, Stats, and Records
Guy Lafleur remains one of the most decorated ice hockey players of all-time. In his illustrious 17-year NHL career, he won five Stanley Cups with four being in consecutive years (1973, 1976-1979). He also won the prestigious Hart Memorial Trophy (1977 & 1978), the Lester B. Pearson Award for most outstanding regular season player (1976, 1977 and 1978), the Conn Smythe playoff MVP Trophy (1977), and the Art Ross Trophy (1976, 1977, 1978) for leading the league in points.
In his dominant years, the mid to late 70s, the Flower was a scoring dynamo. He has six consecutive 50 and 100 goal and point seasons, is the Habs’ all-time leading scorer and has a career average of 560 goals, 793 assists, and 1353 points. He has also been inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame (1996) and the Hockey Hall of Fame (1988).
Lafleur’s Early Professional Years
Guy Lafleur’s first professional assignment in his teens was with the Quebec Jr. Aces where he signed aged 15. Playing a starring role and torching defenses with his explosive movements and scoring prowess, he recorded 161 points in 100 games in his sole season there. He then moved on to the Quebec Remparts where he continued his dominance. In his two seasons there, he posted a mind-boggling 379 points return in 118 games and led his team in winning the 1971 Memorial Cup against the Edmonton Oil Kings. In the same year, he was drafted first by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft, joining his childhood dream team and making his grand entrance into hockey’s biggest stage.
Guy Lafleur Professional Career Years
Lafleur rookie years were at best average. Having set ridiculously high standards for himself through his pre-draft years’ performances, Lafleur failed to dazzle from the onset. He posted 175 points in 215 regular-season games in his first three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and fans who were once elated with his drafting were beginning to become impatient. Fewer game minutes and the Canadiens deep squad littered with talented forwards could have contributed to his slow start. However, it did not take long before he got into his stride and transformed into his dominant self.
After the Canadiens’ won the Stanley Cup in the 1972-73 season, Lafleur’s stardom years began. During the following season, 1974-75, Lafleur led the Habs offense by posting 53 goals and 66 assists. His 50+ goals return that season saw him become only the third Canadiens player to record 50+ goals in a single season after Legendary Maurice Richard and Boom Boom Geoffrion. It also set him up to a dominant six years that saw him rack up 6 consecutive 50-goal seasons.
During this period, Guy Lafleur led his team to four straight Stanley Cup wins (1976-79), tied Steve Shutt for the most goals (60) scored in the regular season by a Habs player, and snatched the Habs record (it still stands) for most points (136) in a regular season.
The mid-’80s saw the Montreal Canadiens move from their signature flair play that Lafleur was so dominant in, to a more conservative defensive approach. Following this, Lafleur’s ice time dipped sharply, and with his pride stung, he stunned the hockey fraternity by announcing his retirement in 1984.
Though he walked away from the glamour of the NHL, he never quit his first love, hockey. He participated in several charity matches across Canada and stayed in game shape to earn a call up by the New York Rangers in the 1988-89 season. At the twilight of his career, he signed for Quebec Nordique, his native province’s team where he finally retired in 1991.
Lafleur’s Playing Style
Guy Lafleur was well-known for his attacking flair and explosive movements on ice than anything else. He was a speedster who often left defenders bamboozled by his clean technique and swift movements. He was a bona fide offensive star too and he showed this by returning unreal numbers when he got into the pitch. His six-consecutive 50+ scoring seasons with the Habs, a record that still stands, is a testament to this.
The flower was also a great play-maker. He had a knack for opening up defenses with incisive threaded passes to his teammates. An explosive skater and impressive stick-handler, Lafleur often made great back passes to his Line-mates once he had the defenders focused on him. In his career, he led the Montreal Canadiens in assists per season, 7 times, and posted an 80-assist record in season 1976.
His creative play-making, explosive speed, scoring touch, and huge trophy haul in his glory years, surely cemented his position as a Montreal Canadiens and NHL great
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