Mats Naslund

Like every other position, the Montreal Canadiens have had a lot of great left wingers over their long and glorious history. Steve Shutt, Bob Gainey, Dickie Moore, Toe Blake, Aurele Joliat, Bert Olmstead, and Frank Mahovlich are all Hall of Fame left wingerss.

But did you know the record for most points in one season by a Montreal LW is held by Mats Naslund, the very first Montreal player from overseas?

"Le Petit Viking" was born and grew up in Timra, a small city in the northern parts of Sweden. Mats Naslund was an extremely talented player in his early years and played against 11-year olds as a 6-year old. He made his first impact when he led Sweden to a Gold medal in the European Junior Championships in 1977 and later that year was voted as the best Swedish junior player.

In 1978 he left his longtime club Timra to play for the top club Brynas. A year later Mats was selected to play in the 1979 World championships. At first the trainer's selection of Mats was heavily criticized by media and hockey people in Sweden, as they all claimed that he was to small to compete in international play among seniors.

He quickly silenced the critics when he led the Swedish team in goals (5) and points (7). His fine play caught the eye of Montreal Canadiens scouts. A lot of Canadian journalists were curious who this little fellow was. Montreal selected Mats with their 2nd choice, 37th overall despite the fact that he only was 5'7" and 160lbs.

Mats didn't disappoint the scouts and had a fine season in the Swedish league as well as a 10 point performance in the 1980 Olympics. After the Olympic games Montreal wanted to sign Mats, but he declined the offer because he didn't feel ready. During the next season (1980-81) he led the Swedish league in assists (25) and points (42).

In 1981 he tore his ACL while playing badminton and missed the 1981 Canada Cup. His injury made Montreal back off for a while in their pursuit of his signature. But just three weeks prior to the 1982 World championships Mats signed a 3 year contract with Montreal, becoming the first ever European trained player in Canadiens 73 year history.

He was an instant hit with the Forum fans, scoring three goals in his first pre-season game (vs Philadelphia). From that moment on he was "Le Petit Viking," the little Viking. Mats sat out the first three games of his rookie season, but when Rejean Houle got injured, Mats got his NHL debut which came against the rivals Quebec Nordiques on October 11th 1982. Two nights later Mats buried a shot behind New Jersey's goalie Lindsay Middlebrook for his 1st career NHL goal. He was also the game's 2nd star. Mats also scored in his 3rd game vs NY Rangers and clicked immediately with his line mates Mario Tremblay and Pierre Mondou.

Mats best season in the NHL was undoubtedly the 1985-86 season when he scored 110 points (43 goals and 67 assists) and was a 2nd All-Star left wing. The crowning moment was the Cup win later that season where he scored 19 points, including 8 goals, in the playoffs and was a key component for Montreal. Mats never won another Cup although he had a splendid playoff the following season, scoring 22 points.

During his career Mats earned a reputation as a true playoff warrior, scoring a very respectable 92 points (35 goals and 57 assists) in 102 playoff games. By doing so he won over a lot of fans, and remains one of the most popular European players in Canada.

Mats strongest asset was undoubtedly his speed and acceleration, plus a great change of pace ability. He had good hands and took passes excellently while in full stride. Despite his small size he could absorb and give a check as good as anyone. He wasn't a true superstar player but an above average player who took over Guy Lafleur's role as Montreal's dynamic offensive leader and fan favorite. The Montreal Forum applauded his efforts every time announcer Claude Mouton announced a goal by "number 26, numéro vingt six . . . Matsss....Nasluuuund."

The winner of the 1988 Lady Byng Trophy played in Montreal until 1990 before deciding to return back to Europe. He spend the 1990-91 season in Lugano, Switzerland. Despite scoring 31 goals and 70 points in 42 games. After the season was over he rejoined the Swedish national team for a world championship gold medal. After his Swiss adventure he returned back to Sweden where he joined Malmo and helped them win two titles in three years (1992 and 1994).

In 1994 Mats won the Olympic Gold and shared the lead in the tournament with 7 assists. During the lockout season in 1994-95 Mats attempted a comeback in the NHL, jumping on a lucrative deal offered to him by Boston and played 34 games. The aging Naslund would score 8 goals and 22 points.

Mats finished his NHL career with 634 points (251 goals and 383 assists) in 651 games. He also had 280 points (123 goals and 157 assists) in 294 games in the Swedish Elite League. Mats holds the distinction of being one of very few Swedish players to have won the Swedish league championship, an Olympic Gold, a World championship and a Stanley Cup.



Pierre Mondou

This is Pierre Mondou. He won three Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens in the late 1970s. The native of Sorel, Quebec was a nice complimentary player with that dynasty team. Along with similar players like Doug Risebrough, Mario Tremblay, Rejean Houle, Doug Jarvis and Jimmy Roberts, Mondou was excelled as an extraordinary role player.

In junior hockey in Sorel and Montreal, as well as in the American Hockey League when he first turned pro, Mondou was an offensive star. Buried behind the likes of Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt and Jacques Lemaire, Mondou became more of an all-round player with the Habs. He injected youth and life into the Habs dynasty, as well as four seasons with at least 29 goals. But he was better known as a support player who could add offense. He was versatile in that he could play either center or wing with equal ease. He excelled as a penalty killer, and, because of his skating ability, was often called upon to shut down the other team's top lines.

Unfortunately for Mondou his career came to a scary end at the age of 29. An errant high stick belonging to Hartford's Ulf Samuelsson clipped Mondou in the left eye. The incident happened as Mondou was scoring the game winning goal in overtime. Sadly it would the last goal Mondou would ever score, as he was forced to retire because of the injury.

In 548 regular season games Pierre Mondou scored 194 goals, 262 assists and 456 points while totalling 179 penalty minutes. He added another 17 goals and 45 points in 69 playoff games.

Mondou later served as a long time scout for the Canadiens.



Jean Gauthier

Jean Gauthier died February 20th, 2013. He was 75 years old.

Gauthier played 166 NHL games in the 1960s. He played with Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia, as well as with the New York Raiders of the WHA.

Gauthier was a rough and tumble defenseman who was no stranger to the penalty box. He won a Memorial Cup as a junior star with the Flin Flon Bombers and after apprenticing in the minor leagues, the Habs moved veteran Bob Turner to make room for Gauthier.

The move turned out to be a bit of a bust. After playing the 1962-63 season in Montreal, Gauthier was destined to play the rest of the Original Six days in the minor leagues with a few big league call-ups. At least he got called up during the 1965 playoffs and played a couple of games. That was good enough to get his name on the Stanley Cup!

Once the NHL expanded Gauthier, like so many career minor leaguers, found regular work with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1967-68. But he could not stick in the league beyond that season, returning to the minors while also making brief appearances in Boston and again in Montreal.

In 166 NHL games Jean Gauthier scored 6 goals and 29 assists.



Robert Fillion

This is 2 time Stanley Cup champion Robert Fillion. His name is inscribed on the Stanley Cup in 1944 as Bob as he was known as "Bobby" when he first broke into the National Hockey League. In 1946 it is inscribed as Robert.

Fillion played 327 games in the 1940s with Rocket Richard's Montreal Canadiens. He scored 42 career goals and 103 points, adding another 7 goals and 11 points in 33 playoff games.

The 5'10" 170lbs left winger out of Thetford Mines, Quebec was a junior teammate of Rocket Richard. But in the NHL he was turned into "a fine checker." In his best season he scored 30 points (1943-44 as a rookie). Two years later he posted a career best 10 goals.

"I had been a high scorer in junior but the Canadiens made me into a defensive forward, just like they did with Guy Carbonneau," he described many years later.

He may not have been a Picasso on the ice but Fillion was very much interested in artists of a different sort. He often visited artist studios while on road trips and took up painting himself! It may have been a bigger passion for him than hockey!

Bob, the brother of Marcel Fillion who played 1 game in the NHL, worked in public relations for years after retiring from hockey. He also went back home to work in a mine in Thetford Mines before retiring to Montreal's south shore. He was a regular guest at Montreal Canadiens games right through to his final season.


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