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02-07-2011, 12:03 AM
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I didn't expect this guy to still be on the board at pick 105 (especially with the premium on defensemen).

GM hungryhungryhippy selects, for the second draft in a row, defenseman Jean-Claude Tremblay. JC is an ace in the #1 spot, and belongs right next to guys like Leetch and Lapointe in this league, and I look forward to debating with anyone who doubts that for a second.

The Rundown...


- Won 5 Stanley Cups as the #1 D-man of the late 1960s Montreal Canadiens
- "A very important cog in our machine" -Jean Beliveau
- Arguably played 8 seasons of top-5 Norris level hockey in a tough era, and once lost winning the trophy only to Bobby Orr


- High-end skill set
- Smooth skater, highly mobile, puck-moving defenseman
- Elite playmaker who was known for making perfect passes at high-speeds coming out of his zone
- Ran Montreal's transition game
- Was THE powerplay quarterback on one of the most efficient units in the league for 11 years

In his own zone:

- Tremendously responsible defensively
- Intelligent, efficient defenseman who was known for impeccable positioning and crafty stick-work
- Played in all crucial defensive situations for the Habs during their playoff runs, in all areas of the ice, at all times, when a lead had to be protected, etc...


- An absolute monster in the playoffs, arguably the most dominant post-season player of his era


Full bio...

Jean-Claude Tremblay, D, LHS, 6'1'', 190 lbs *adjusted sizes*

"He was a very important cog in our machine." - Jean Beliveau

From Joe Pelletier's blog Greatest Hockey Legends:

Jean-Claude (J.C.) Tremblay is one of the most intelligent, two-way defenders of all time. Yet very few give him recognition as such.

Tremblay was an excellent all around performer during this time, and saved his best performances for the playoffs.

He was tremendously responsible defensively and a great two way defenseman, often head manning the puck to the speedy Montreal forwards...

Defensively Tremblay was efficient and heady, relying on his intelligent stick to break up plays rather than bones. He never really had an obvious physical game, something that his critics pointed out regularly. But he was so smart, it did not really matter.

Tremblay established his reputation as a great in the playoffs, where he was a tremendous performer, seemingly able to turn up his game like flicking a switch. He scored 14 goals, 51 assists and 65 points in 108 games, helping the Montreal Canadiens to 5 Stanley Cup championships.

The year is 1966. Ace defenseman Jean-Claude Tremblay is the key player as the Montreal Canadiens defend their Stanley Cup championship. Tremblay leads all Canadiens players in point scored during these playoffs, tallying 11 points including 1 goal and 6 points in the finals against Detroit. His defensive effort was also supreme. He seemed to always be on the ice for the many crucial situations faced in a playoff game.

For years J.C. played in the NHL and didn't put up great numbers until his 11th season. Then, when he reached his prime, he left the NHL to join a league which was mostly regarded to be of lower quality than the NHL. If he had stayed in the NHL he, as it turned out, would have won 4 more Stanley Cups and be part of what many believe is the greatest team of all time (the 1976-79 Canadiens).

From the official Montreal Canadiens' site:

A mobile defenseman with a smooth skating stride, Jean-Claude Tremblay sparkled as the team's power play quarterback for 11 seasons in Montreal.

Jean-Claude Tremblay patrolled the Montreal blue line for over a decade, earning five Stanley Cup Championships along the way.

A superb skater – fast, mobile and blessed with innate hockey smarts – Tremblay was an offensive threat able to make precise passes through traffic to teammates in full flight.

Forgoing the more robust style of play preferred by most defensemen, Tremblay rarely lay on the body, going about things with a bit more finesse than most of his peers. A magician with his stick, Tremblay effortlessly stripped enemy forwards of the puck, turning it back up the ice to begin the counter attack.

Agile and elusive, once Tremblay had the puck, rarely did opponents get it back. He quarterbacked the most potent power play in the league and often seemed to kill entire penalties on his own, weaving his way through whole teams for the duration of his team’s penalty.

Dedicated to his craft, Tremblay spent countless hours refining his skills and adding to his bag of tricks. He developed a long lob that he occasionally released from centre ice, sometimes embarrassing unsuspecting goalies.

A regular season stalwart, Tremblay took his game to another level in the playoffs.

From HabsWorld's "The Forgotten Habs" Series:

There wasn’t a better puck handler in the league than J.C. He was able to produce offense from the blue line, and was the leagues best playmaking defenseman. One of his signature plays was to rush up to the center red line and flip the puck in the air towards the goaltender. When done properly the puck would take an unpredictable bounce in front of the goaltender. Tremblay later estimated that he was able to score 25 goals off these weird bounces by frustrated goalies.

But it was in the playoffs where J.C. really shone, scoring 9 points in 13 playoff games. With the Canadiens up 3 games to none in the finals against the Blues, the Canadiens were trailing 2-1 in the third period. At 7:24 of the third, J.C. set up Henri Richard for the tying goal, and four minutes later scored the Stanley Cup winning goal.

In 1971-72 Tremblay was made one of the team’s assistant captains. He responded by contributing 57 points and an astonishing career high plus/minus of +52. Tremblay’s stature was never higher; he was named to represent Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series.

J.C. Tremblay played the majority of his career in the shadows, first in the shadow of the great Doug Harvey, and then when his spot on the Canadiens was taken over in the next year by Larry Robinson. But J.C. Tremblay was a great player in his own right, a player for whom recognition was a constant struggle, and one of the top defensemen ever to play for the Canadiens.

From legendary Habs sportswriter Red Fischer:

During his time, there was nobody better, in terms of taking care of business in his own end of the ice.

He didn't have the size, but few had a better understanding of what was needed to win. Tremblay's colleagues during his years with the team were people such as Jacques Laperrière, XXXXXX and XXXXXX, but when a lead had to be protected or an important goal was needed, Tremblay was your man

From hockey author, Paul Denault:

[addressing the notion that Tremblay had a bad personality]

We must be careful to make judgements about people off the ice, when we only know them through heresay. I have spoken to many of his former teammates, and to a man they all recall J.C. as a great player, an exemplary teammate, and above all a winner.

From reputable HFBoards poster, and former ATD champion, Struminator:

Tremblay was one of the most misunderstood athletes of his time, in my opinion. I don't think anyone ever called him a bad teammate, and really he appears to be one of the earliest victims of the Montreal media as much as anything. I also think people sometimes confuse Tremblay's softness with lack of defensive ability, which is not the case. J.C. had tremendous hockey sense and timing, and was extremely good at playing the stick, stealing pucks, etc. - more or less the same tactics we see employed by Lidstrom today (though Tremblay wasn't that good defensively). At any rate, he was quite good in his own end.

It seems strange to me that Tremblay has had a reputation on this board for playing poor defensive hockey For those of us who saw Tremblay play (I am old enough to remember him in his last couple of years in Montreal), such statements are mindboggling, but they seem to have been accepted as fact around here for some time. At any rate, it is hard to imagine that the Habs could have won 5 Cups with Tremblay as their #1 defenseman if he hadn't been very good in his own zone.


Originally posted by Sturminator:

J.C. Tremblay broke through late in the 64-65 season, carried it through to an excellent playoffs and went into the 65-66 season as one of the best defensemen in the league, ending up 4th in Norris voting. Over the next six seasons, Tremblay would place in the top-5 in Norris voting another 4 times, peaking at 2nd in 67-68, the year Bobby Orr won his first trophy. Other than the 69-70 season, in which J.C. missed 18 games to injury, he was considered one of the NHL's top 5 defensemen 5 out of 6 seasons at his peak - an impressive run of consistency in an era of stiff competition.

Tremblay's Norris voting record: 65-66 (4th), 66-67 (5th), 67-68 (2nd ), 70-71 (3rd), 71-72 (5th)

The players who beat Tremblay during those seasons: Bobby Orr (4 times), Pierre Pilote (2 times), Brad Park (2 times), xxxxxx (2 times), Tim Horton, Jacques Laperriere, xxxxxx and XXXXXX

After 7 seasons among the NHL's best and still at the top of his game, J.C. Tremblay jumped to the WHA. At this point, evaluating his career becomes a little bit harder. What do we make of his WHA career? We know he was very good in his first four seasons in the WHA, being named a 1st team all-star three times, once 2nd team, leading the league in assists twice and winning the Dennis A. Murphy award for best defenseman twice. But so what? How much should we credit Tremblay's WHA accomplishments?

I'm not normally one to look upon WHA players all that favorably. It was without a doubt a second rate league when compared to the NHL, and while there was certainly some nice talent in the league, there was very little depth. With a few exceptions, the performance of WHA players are very hard to evaluate against their NHL counterparts, but Tremblay is one of those exceptions. It is accepted as fact that J.C. carried over into the WHA the level of play which had defined his NHL career for the 7 previous seasons. He wasn't merely good in the WHA, for the first 4 seasons he was ridiculously dominant, which is exactly what you'd expect from a guy who was NHL top-5 good and still at his peak. If we're simply rating Tremblay against himself, three of his first four WHA seasons were up to his previous NHL standard: he won the best defenseman award and the assists crown in 72-73, won best defenseman again in 74-75 and won another assists crown to go along with a 1st team all-star berth in 75-76.

Add those accomplishments to his NHL resume, and suddenly you've got a guy who played 8 seasons of top-5 Norris level hockey in a tough era, and once lost winning the trophy only to Bobby Orr - a record of success that compares favorably to established lower-level ATD #1's like Brian Leetch, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, Borje Salming and Chris Pronger. When we factor in Tremblay's outstanding playoff record and his strangely underrated two-way play (which stems mostly from his softness and the misconception that it made him ineffective in his own end), there is a very good argument that he is, in fact, a top-32 all-time defenseman, and every bit deserving of his #1 role in Portland.


Alternate Captain of the 1972 Montreal Canadiens
Captain of the the 1973 Quebec Nordiques (WHA)

First NHL All-Star Team Defenseman (1971)
Second NHL All-Star Team Defenseman (1968)
NHL All-Star Game x7 (1959, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972)

First WHA All-Star Team Defenseman x3 (1973, 1975, 1976)
Second WHA All-Star Team Defenseman (1974)

Top-5 Norris Trophy Nomination x5 (2nd*, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th)
*2nd to Bobby Orr

Dennis A. Murphy Award (best defenseman in the WHA) x2 (1973, 1975)

Played in the 1974 Summit Series
Selected to play in the 1972 Summit Series, but was dropped after leaving the NHL to go play in the WHA


Top-10 Assists Amongst All Skaters x2(6th, 8th)

Top-10 Scoring Amongst Defensemen x5 (2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th)
Top-10 Goalscoring Amongst Defensemen x4 (3rd, 5th, 5th, 7th)
Top-10 Assists Amongst Defensemen x6 (2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 9th)

*At the time of leaving the Canadiens, was in the top fifty all-time NHL assist leaders*
*At the time of leaving the Canadiens was team's all time leader in points for defensemen*

Also led the WHA in assists (amongst all skaters) x2


Top-10 Playoff Scoring Amongst All Skaters x3 (2nd, 6th, 7th)

*Including Hull, Howe, Mikita, Delvecchio, Ullman, H. Richard, Bathgate, Mahovlich, etc...

Top-10 Playoff Scoring Amongst Defensemen x6 (1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 5th)

*Including Pilote, Kelly, Gadsby, Orr, Park, etc...

Stanley Cup Champion x5 (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1971)

*Was robbed of a Conn Smythe trophy in 1966 - he led the playoff in scoring and was spectacular for the cup winning Canadiens, but the award was controversially given to the goalie of the losing team*

Reputable HFBoards poster Struminator:

It's worth noting that Montreal was able to win Cups over this period without Laperriere in the playoffs, but the one year that Tremblay got hurt (69-70), they did not even qualify for the postseason. Over the span of Tremblay's peak years in Montreal (1965-72), he scored 60 points in 85 playoff games, an absolutely ridiculous pace for that era, and didn't have a single poor performance. The 2nd place scorer among defensemen over this period (XXXXXX) has barely more than 50% of Tremblay's total, with 32 points. J.C. Tremblay was quite clearly the dominant postseason defenseman of his era, and quite possibly the single best postseason player of his era, as well.

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