Act 2: The Productivity of Quebec-born Players on the Montreal Canadiens

Consider this a sister post to the previous one, which documented the Quebec-born presence on the Montreal Canadiens since expansion. This post examines the productivity of Quebec-born skaters on the Montreal Canadiens since 1967.

An analysis of the data reveals a simple yet stunning conclusion: measured in terms of goals per man game, the productivity of Quebec-born skaters on the Canadiens has fallen precipitously since the late 1980s.

Montreal Canadiens Quebec-born Players: Productivity

In the 1970s, the average Quebec-born skater accounted for slightly less than 0.3 goals per regular season game played. That number held steady during the 1980s. Indeed, 1987-1988 represented a banner year for home grown talent, as Quebec-born skaters averaged 0.344 goals per man game in the regular season, the second highest level achieved since expansion. Stephane Richer potted 50, Claude Lemieux added 31, and Guy Carbonneau contributed a respectable 17.

But in the 1990s, the productivity of Quebec-born talent fell off drastically. To cite but one example, in 1998-1999 Quebec-born skaters scored only 0.121 goals per man game in the regular season–a productivity level that was 65% lower than in 1987-1988. Benoit Brunet led all Quebec-born skaters in that year of famine with only 14 goals.

As mentioned in the previous post, Andre Savard’s term in the early 2000s saw a rebound in the presence of Quebec-born talent on the Habs. Unfortunately, that talent was woefully unproductive. In 2002-2003, Quebec-born skaters eked out a measly 0.101 goals per man game–the lowest mark since expansion (and likely of all-time). If we remove the 24 goals netted by Yannic Perreault, the rest of the Quebec-born skaters on the team (there were 10 others) combined for only 38 goals in 541 man games. Compelling evidence that quantity is not a guarantee of quality.

In 2009-2010, Quebec-born skaters accounted for 0.124 goals per man game, right in line with the decade average of 0.126. Here’s hoping that Mathieu Darche, Maxim Lapierre, and perhaps David Desharnais can push that number up this season, but I’m not holding my breath.

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  • Rick Berthelot  On July 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    This may be interesting but what whould really be interesting would be a comparison of Montreal’s Quebec born players vs the league’s Quebec born players. Perhaps Montreal is just drafting or signing second rate players to fill their quota as opposed to commiting to elite level players.

  • Mick Lafferty  On August 3, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Hmm…this is an interesting exercise, but it has some problems: it doesn’t go beyond evaluating the quality of productivity as anything other than goals scored. Jose Theodore potted only one goal while he was here, yet he represented a quality Quebec-born player in his good years. Likewise, the balance of Quebec-born defencemen to forwards in any given year will seriously affect this statistic. Finally, I think a more useful stat would measure productivity in goals by forwards per man-game against leaguewide goalscoring (a goal in the 80s was easier to come by than in 2002) and team goalscoring, so that Quebec-born mediocrity is measured only against the general mediocrity of the Houle-era Habs, rather than against the general discrepancy between the corps of Habs players in 1989 vs. 1999, for example.

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