6 talented Canadiens players that left after just one season

Sep 7 2023, 5:09 pm

Plenty of great players have graced the Montreal Canadiens roster over the past century. While some spent their entire careers here, others were gone far too soon — in some cases, after just one year.

In this article, we’ll explore the stories of six promising Canadiens players who, despite producing good numbers, saw their time with the Habs cut short.

Alex Tanguay

Back in 2008, the Calgary Flames sent Alex Tanguay, along with a fifth-round draft pick to Montreal in exchange for a first and second-rounder.

Tanguay immediately boosted the Canadiens offense, scoring 16 goals and 41 points over just 50 games.

The Canadiens chose not to re-sign the Sainte-Justine, Quebec native the following season.

Erik Cole

While his tenure with the team technically extended into a second season, forward Erik Cole only played 38 games with Montreal between 2011 and 2013.

He made every one of those starts count, though, netting an impressive 28 goals and 95 points over the brief stint.

After playing just three games in the 2012-2013 campaign, the top-line forward was traded to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Michael Ryder and a draft pick.

Thomas Vanek

In March of 2014, Thomas Vanek ended up with the Montreal Canadiens via trade.

It didn’t take him long for the Austrian forward to make an impact, as a few days later, he showcased his scoring prowess by netting his first three goals for the Canadiens in a thrilling hat trick performance against the Colorado Avalanche.

Vanek’s 18-game Canadiens stint concluded with him logging 15 points with the team.

After helping the Habs make a run to the Eastern Conference Finals that postseason, former general manager Marc Bergevin opted not to re-sign the free agent.

Alexander Radulov

Shortly after arriving in Montreal from the KHL, Alexander Radulov became a Habs fan favourite.

Netting 18 goals and 56 points in his first and only season with the Canadiens, the Russian forward fit in nicely among the lineup’s top-six.

When his one-year, $5.75 million contract was up, though, negotiations between him and Habs management proved difficult. He ultimately signed with the Dallas Stars to a five-year, $31.25 million contract

Ilya Kovalchuk

Before the 2019-2020 NHL season was suspended due to COVID-19, Ilya Kovalchuk joined the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent.

And fans were loving it.

In his 22 games with the team, the Russian sniper netted six goals — a few of those being overtime winners — and seven assists

Despite being popular with fans and teammates, the then-36-year-old was traded at the deadline to the Washington Capitals, where he would conclude his NHL career.

Corey Perry

The Canadiens signed Corey Perry to a one-year, $750,000 in December of 2020.

Despite being on a bargain deal, the veteran sniper brought lots of value to the Canadiens’ bottom-six. Perry’s gritty style of play and goalscoring abilities proved especially valuable in Montreal’s run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

After the regular season concluded, Perry indicated his interest in extending his contract with the Canadiens. Nevertheless, Bergevin chose not to offer a deal to the fan-favourite, prompting him to sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning instead.

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