Thanks for announcing the pick. There's a ton of information on the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970s out there because the Gazette is featured prominently in google archives. I'm in the midst of making a comprehensive Houle profile. I really think he's been underrated in the ATD for two reasons: 1) He jumped to the WHA for a few years in the middle of his career, which takes away from the time he would spend on the "best Canadiens role players" lists and 2) his career as a crappy GM overshadows his playing career.
But while working on the profile of Houle, a few things stand out:
1) He seems like a depth penalty killer only, but at even strength, he was known throughout the 1970s as "The Shadow" for his defensive work at even strength.
2) In articles that praise the role players of the Montreal Canadiens of the era, his name is featured very prominently.
3) He actually should be listed as a F - he spent significant time at all 3 forward positions.
As a Bruins fan who lived (passionately for hockey) through this era I can say that Houle is definitely underrated by comparison because of the caliber of stars on those Canadiens teams....he would've been very desirable as a 3rd or 2nd liner on any team in the NHL at that time.
Even as by default that I am to be forever a Canadiens hater, I recognize, (and begrudgingly respect), the quality of players on those teams....has anyone noticed how many Habs I have on my team? And how many more I would've picked and/or have considered?
Yes, I'm a Bruins fan but I do not have a pair of black n gold sunglasses.....Houle is a quality pick at this stage of the draft.
Hershey drafts 6'1, 200 lbs. forward Jamie Langenbrunner, the clutch scorer and all-time great versatile role player who was a hero for two franchises in successful Stanley Cup championship runs and has earned praise for his consistent work ethic for 1000+ NHL games. He began his career as an NHL Calder trophy finalist, following that up with a selection on Team USA for the 1998 Olympics, though having to wait until the 2010 Olympics to win a medal, captaining a silver medal win and scoring 4 points. He did become a Stanley Cup champion in his 3rd NHL season, and the 23 year old played an important role in the postseason, scoring several crucial goals, 10 playoff goals that year, including a team-high 4 powerplay tallies, 17 points and 4th in ice time among forwards in the championship drive. His first full season in New Jersey he led the Devils in playoff goals with 11, including 4 game winners, and tied the lead in points with 18, second in ice time among forwards, as he won the Stanley Cup again, repeating his playoff heroics in a new city. He has 87 career playoff points in 146 playoff games to go along with his 663 points in 1109 regular season NHL games.
... an exemplary forechecker and penalty killer who was often assigned to shadow the best players on the opposition.... Langenbrunner's all-around solid play made him a natural leader...
In January 2009, Langenbrunner scored two goals in each of three consecutive games, including three game winners for the Devils. Two of those game-winning goals were scored in overtime. His streak of three consecutive multi-goal games with a game-winning goal was last accomplished by Wayne Gretzky during the 1981–82 season.
He is widely credited for his impressive post-season performances, the most recent being the second overtime goal against the Ottawa Senators in the second round of the 2007 Playoff Series. It was his 12th game-winning goal and his fourth career playoff overtime goal. His 12 playoff game-winning goals top notable Hall of Famers such as Mario Lemieux, Cam Neely, and Paul Coffey and tie him with Legends such as Phil Esposito and Mark Messier.
The Fireworks first selection is 4th line RW Cully Wilson
Wilson, (whom I discovered only when I researching the other day), Stewart and Langenbrunner were 3 of the 5 I was considering....I had to go with the nastiness of Labine, in a slight edge over a contemporary of his as well as a possible maybe from the 70's.
Comfortable at either forward or defense, depending where the team needed him the most, the 5-foot-7, 165-pound Mantha was a skilled skater with a powerful shot who was called upon to fill a defensive role for most of his career.
Playing on a line charged with countering hockey’s top sharp-shooters, Mantha helped hold Boston’s offense to a mere three goals in the Finals as Montreal swept away the heavily favored Bruins to win the 1930 Stanley Cup.
The following year, Mantha maintained his defensive excellence and also managed to make the most of his scoring chances. He followed an 11-goal regular season with five playoff markers, playing a big role in his second Stanley Cup title in as many years.
Playing in an era where referees turned a blind eye more often than they do today, Mantha stood out from the crowd with his clean play. Using speed, agility and anticipation, his game was built on brains and talent rather than more primitive tactics that were the signature style of many around the league.
George Mantha, too, was sent in at strategic moments and showed coolness and skill. Manager Hart sent on the small poke check artist every time the Canadiens were short a man, and he saved more than one difficult situation.
Mantha was one of the fastest skaters of his day. He also showed some offensive skill when given a larger role. In 1937-38 he finished second in the NHL in goals scored and fourth in points scored.