Is it true that prior to the expansion on 1972, the Canadiens had first rights to draft all players born in Quebec? Before other teams could draft them?
Kind of...until 1969 each team had dibs on any amateur player within 50 miles of their team so Montreal got the best Quebecois players while the Leafs had dibs on the best Ontario born players. In 1970 the draft started and since then all the players have been selected through the draft system.
TLDR; This rule that you will often hear as being the reason for the habs success in the 60's/70's gave us Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif. Houle's association with the club would haunt us years later.
The truth is, back when we originally had the rights to Quebec born players the draft didn't really have any meaning. All the best propects were signed to C-forms and so by the time the draft came along those players weren't draft eligible. The draft didn't mean anything until expansion and at that point we managed to get a couple of players out of it.
So yeah, the next time somebody asks you about our "rights" on getting Quebec players you can tell them that we got Marc Tardiff and Rejean Houle out of it.
Houle btw, left for the WHA shortly afterwards and he eventually came back to the NHL and played for us. Then of course he became our GM and completely wrecked our team.