Some NHL franchises just have a superior system for developing players from within. Where some teams since the 1960’s have only drafted a handful of players that have gone on to play over 1,000 NHL regular season games, from just the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, the Montreal Canadiens drafted and developed four players that went on to surpass the 1,000 game plateau in the National Hockey League. Even the first overall pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1984, Mario Lemieux, played just 915 over his Hockey Hall of Fame career.
Petr Svoboda was the fifth overall pick at the 1984 NHL draft. He is listed as playing for the Czechoslovakia national junior team but his junior hockey club was HC Litvinov. The defenseman and native of Most, Czech Republic played with Montreal from 1984-85 until a trade sent him to the Buffalo Sabres midway through the 1991-92 season and continued on in the NHL until 2000-01.
Along with the Habs and Sabres, Svoboda also played for the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Over 1,028 games, he scored 58 goals and totalled 399 points. Petr was part of the 1985-86 Stanley Cup winning team in Montreal and went to the Stanley Cup finals in 1996-97 before being swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
Shayne Corson was taken eighth overall by Montreal after playing three years of major junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League from 1983-84 to 1985-86, one with the Brantford Alexanders and two with the Hamilton Steelhawks. Both those teams are predecessors to the present day Erie Otters. Corson played two separate stints with the Canadiens, 1986-87 to 1991-92 and 1996-97 to 1999-00. He saw his first action with the club in 1985-86 with three regular season games while still a junior.
He played in the NHL until the end of the 2003-04 season, also appearing with the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars. Corson played 1,156 regular season games, contributed 693 points. He also played in 140 playoff games but the closest he came to a Stanley Cup championship was a loss in the finals to the Calgary Flames in 1988-89.
Stephane Richer was drafted from the QMJHL’s Granby Bisons in the second round, 29th overall. Richer played two years in the QMJHL, 1983-84 and 1984-85. Part way through his second season, he was traded from Granby to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. Like Shayne Corson, Richer had two stints with the Canadiens, 1985-86 to 1990-91 and 1996-97 to 1997-98. His first action with the Habs came in the form of a single game played during the 1984-85 season while still a junior in the QMJHL. He also appeared in nine AHL Calder Cup playoff games that year with the Sherbrooke Canadiens.
Stephane played 1,054 regular season NHL games before retiring after 2001-02, also playing for the New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored 421 goals and totalled 819 points. Twice with the Canadiens, Richer reached the 50 goal plateau with 50 in 1987-88 and 51 in 1989-90. He played for two Stanley Cup winning teams, the 1985-86 Canadiens and the 1994-95 New Jersey Devils.
Like Richer, Patrick Roy was drafted out of the Granby Bisons. Roy, a Hockey Hall of Fame goalie since 2006, played for the Bisons from 1982-83 to 1984-85. He was a third round pick of the Canadiens, 51st overall. He played for Montreal from 1985-86 to 1995-96, earning the first of his three Conn Smythe Trophies as he led the Habs to the Stanley Cup in his rookie year.
Patrick was traded to the Colorado Avalanche during the 1995-96 season and finished his career with that club, retiring after the 2002-03 season. Roy was part of four Stanley Cup winning teams, two with Montreal and two with Colorado. Along with his three Conn Smythe’s, he won the Jennings Trophy five times and the Vezina Trophy on three occasions. His number 33 has been retired by both the Canadiens and Avalanche.