Small trades with big results is a series that looks at trades throughout NHL history that seemed small or insignificant at the time but turned out to be much, much more. In this installment, we look at how Patrick Roy ended up with the Montreal Canadiens.
Small NHL Trades with Big Results: Patrick Roy
The Winnipeg Jets were looking for some added blueline depth in hopes of getting over their playoff hurdles. Being stuck in the same division as the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, life was difficult for the Jets. The Jets were desperate to get out of the first round of the playoffs after two straight seasons of playoff disappointment. They reached out to the Montreal Canadiens, who seemed to have a bit of a surplus of defencemen, and were willing to deal. Still, there is no way the Jets were thinking they were inadvertently giving up Patrick Roy.
On November 4th, 1983 the Jets would acquire defenceman Robert Picard from the Habs in exchange for a 1984 3rd round pick. Nothing fancy with this trade, just a team parting with a mid-round pick for some depth. This trade happens all the time in the NHL. It’s simple and fair.
Robert Picart was originally selected 3rd overall in the 1977 draft by the Washington Capitals. Unfortunately for Picard, the Capitals were a disaster and had the expectation of carrying the team out of the darkness. Picard played well enough, posting 42 goals and 156 points in three seasons in Washington. Still, he failed to meet the unrealistic expectations of the Capitals and was shipped out of town. He was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 1980-81 season. His stay in Toronto was short-lived, as Picard was traded to the Habs in March of 1981. Picard played 141 games with the Canadiens over parts of four seasons before being shipped to the Jets. Again, Picard was solid enough, but couldn’t quite live up to the expectations that were placed on him.
With the 51st overall pick in the third round, the Canadiens picked a skinny kid from Quebec City named Patrick Roy. The Habs were busy at the 1984 draft. Before the third round, the Canadiens made moves to move up in the first and second rounds. They selected Petr Svoboda, Shayne Corson and Stephane Richer with those picks. Still, the Habs had to surrender several picks and goaltender Rick Wamsley in those moves. With Wamsley out the Habs needed to add some more goaltending depth to the organization. Hence the pick of Roy.
Picard played two solid seasons with the Jets. He paired with Randy Carlyle on the Jets blueline were a key partnership for the Jets in the subsequent seasons. The Jets were also able to escape the first round of the playoffs in 1985 for the first time. Unfortunately, they were not able to get any further until the 2018 playoffs. Again, despite his solid but unspectacular play, Picard was traded to the Quebec Nordiques during the 1985-86 season for Mario Marois. Picard would play for the Nordiques for the rest of his career, except for a 20 game stint with the Detroit Red Wings to close out the 1989-90 season.
Where to begin, Patrick Roy developed into arguably the greatest goaltender in NHL history. He became an NHL regular for the Canadiens in the 1985-86 season. It was during the 1986 Stanley Cup playoffs where Roy made a name for himself, leading the Canadiens to their 23rd Stanley Cup. As a rookie, he posted a 15-5 record with a 1.93 GAA and a .923 save percentage in those playoffs. These numbers earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. This was Roy’s launching point to NHL stardom.
In his career, split between the Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche Roy would win a total of four Stanley Cups, three Conn Smythe’s, five Jennings trophies and three Vezina’s. He played in 11 All-Star games and was named a first-team All-Star four times. His number 33 was retired by both the Canadiens and the Avalanche. Roy posted a career record of 551-315-131 in 1,029 regular-season games. He posted a career 2.54 GAA and a .912 save percentage along with 66 shutouts. Known as a fierce competitor, Roy’s play would rise during the playoffs. In 247 games, Patrick Roy would post a career record of 151-94 with a 2.30 GAA, a .918 save percentage and 23 shutouts.
Roy holds the record for the number of playoff games played (247) and won (151) by a goaltender in NHL history. He was the first goaltender to win 5oo games and play in 1,000 regular-season games. His three Conn Smyth’s are also an NHL record. He is second all-time in goalie wins with 551. Patrick Roy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.
Nothing can Turn into Something
There you have it, the end result was a journeyman defenceman was traded for what would eventually become one of the greatest players in NHL history. Now, it goes without saying the draft is a random animal at the best of times. So there is no guarantee the Jets would have even selected Roy with that pick and 20 other teams passed on him more than once. Still, it just goes to show that even something as small as a depth defenceman being moved for a mid-round pick can have major ripple effects on the NHL.