The Truth Behind the Canadiens' "First Choice of Quebecers" Rule: Part 2

Yesterday we took a look at the effect of the "First Choice of Quebecers" (FCQ) rule for the Canadiens during the 1930s and 40s, and found that it had little to no effect on the success of the Canadiens. Today we will look at the second iteration of this rule, out into place during the 1960s.
Allow me to paint a picture for you.

The second World War has ended, and many players who had left to help the war effort are now returning to play in the NHL. Due to this, the league was flooded with NHL players looking to get a job with a very small number of teams. The market became over-saturated, and something needed to be done to help this problem. This was what sparked the NHL draft, where each team would choose a player to bring into their organisation.

In 1963, the Canadiens were given the opportunity to use the FCQ rule under the exact same rules as it was in the original form. This was entirely optional, however, and Montreal did not even use it from 1963 until 1967. In 1968 and 69, the Canadiens selected 3 players:

1968: Goalie Michel Plasse
1969: Forward Rejean Houle
1969: Forward Marc Tardif

These names may not be recognisable by fans of other teams, but these were all excellent players. Each of them won multiple Stanley Cups, but the only player of them to really make their name in Montreal was Rejean Houle. Plasse was selected by Kansas City in the expansion draft in 1974, and Tardif spent the majority of his career with the Quebec Nordiques in the WHA and the NHL.

So... now we've reached a familiar question: How, if not the FCQ rule, did the Canadiens perform as well as they did? I'm glad you asked.

In 1946, the Toronto Maple Leafs fired the GM, Frank Selke, who was quickly scooped up by the Canadiens. Selke had an interesting idea, where an NHL team would have minor league associates where players signed by the NHL teams could play and hone their skills. This was the birth of NHL farm systems, which are a cornerstone of the NHL today. It took teams a few years before they caught on to what Selke was doing in Montreal. This gave Montreal the opportunity to bring teams into their organisation and signing players to C forms. This is how the Canadiens picked up Jean Beliveau, who had to be heavily convinced before joining the Canadiens in 1953. I don't think I need to go in-depth on the impact Beliveau had on the Canadiens.

Even more importantly, was the acquisition of Sam Pollock in 1947, who eventually became GM of the Canadiens in 1964. Pollock was a wizard regarding trades and drafting. Arguable the best example was a trade with the Boston Bruins that sent Guy Allen and Paul Reid to the black-and-gold for Alex Campbell and Ken Dryden. Just look at some of these trades/draft picks made by Pollock during his time in Montreal.

-Gerry Desjardins to Los Angeles for two 1st round picks. One of those picks was traded, and the other was used to draft Steve Shutt.

-Garry Monahan and Doug Piper to Detroit for Bart Crashey and Pete Mahovolich.

-Dick Duff to Los Angeles for Dennis Hextall and a 2nd round pick. That pick was used to acquire Larry Robinson.

-Ernie Hicke and a 1st round pick to California Golden Seals for Francois Lacombe, cash, and a 1st round pick. That pick was used to acquire Guy Lafleur.

You get the point. Pollock was an absolute legend GM, one of the best in the business. Through trades, drafting, and signing, the Canadiens built a dynasty during the 1960s and 70s, just like any other team. Pollock's impact on the Canadiens was infinitely greater than any player chosen with the FCQ rule.

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