Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Stephane Richer
While playing midget hockey, young Stephane Richer was a smallish kid who had serious doubts about his ability to progress much farther through the ranks of hockey. He was seriously considering calling it quits when he was offered encouraging words and an invitation from a local police officer and coach to join his club. The man's name was Pat Burns, the future bench boss of the Montreal Canadiens. Richer believed Burns' assessment of his potential and stuck to his path in hockey.

He eventually found his way to the Granby Bisons of the QMJHL in 1983. In his only full season of Major Junior A, he was voted the league's rookie of the year. The following season was a whirlwind tour as he hopped his way from Granby to the Canadian National Junior club to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, to the Montreal Canadiens and finally to the Sherbrooke Canadiens where he ended the year.

In 1985-86, Richer became a regular with the Habs where he was reasonably prolific on offense. But he'd yet to show any concrete signs of being all-star material although he did play a useful role in the Canadiens' Stanley Cup victory that year.

In 1987-88, however, all of his offensive tools came together. His excellent skating ability, his refusal to be intimidated, his size and strength and his cannon-like shot with the lightning quick release were all harmonized under one helmet. By season's end, he became the first Canadiens 50-goal scorer since Guy Lafleur's heyday.

But although Richer had given fans a taste of that familiar glory from the past, he often found himself embroiled in controversy and under criticism for not being committed to play his best every night. He was rumoured to be feuding with coach Pat Burns. He was frequently beset by injuries. In sum, as often as Richer could excite and satisfy fans, he could also disappoint them with off-ice distractions.

But through it all, the success was undeniable. He performed valiantly as the Canadiens' lost to Calgary in the Stanley Cup finals of 1989. Then, the following year he put together another 50-goal campaign. In 1991, the Canadiens decided to go with Kirk Muller, using Richer as collateral to be sent to the Devils. In New Jersey, Richer continued to be a solid offensive performer over the five seasons that followed.

In 1995, he again made his return to the winner's circle as the Devils won their first-ever Stanley Cup. After one additional campaign, he was traded back to Montreal for a season and a half before being traded to the Tampa Bay Lighting in 1998.

In Florida, Richer's numbers fell into a decline as he assumed a new role as the aging veteran leader. Midway through the 1999-2000 campaign, he was dispatched to the Detroit Vipers of the IHL and then scooped up by the St. Louis Blues where he remained until the end of the season. Richer then retired from hockey but then staged a comeback. He joined the Pittsburgh Penguins for the start of the 2001-2002 season and ended that year with the New Jersey Devils.

After 10 games with the New Jersey Devils, Stephane Richer officially announced his retirement on August 18, 2002.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1982-83 Laval Insulaires QAAA 48 47 54 101 86
1983-84 Granby Bisons QMJHL 67 39 37 76 62 3 1 1 2 4
1984-85 Granby Bisons QMJHL 30 30 27 57 31
1984-85 Canada WJC-A 7 4 3 7 2
1984-85 Chicoutimi Sagueneens QMJHL 27 31 32 63 40 12 12 14 26 25
1984-85 Montreal Canadiens NHL 1 0 0 0 0 0
1984-85 Sherbrooke Canadiens AHL 9 6 3 9 10
1985-86 Montreal Canadiens NHL 65 21 16 37 50 +1 16 4 1 5 23
1986-87 Montreal Canadiens NHL 57 20 19 39 80 +11 5 3 2 5 0
1986-87 Sherbrooke Canadiens AHL 12 10 4 14 11
1987-88 Montreal Canadiens NHL 72 50 28 78 72 +12 8 7 5 12 6
1988-89 Montreal Canadiens NHL 68 25 35 60 61 +4 21 6 5 11 14
1989-90 Montreal Canadiens NHL 75 51 40 91 46 +35 9 7 3 10 2
1990-91 Montreal Canadiens Fr-Tour 4 2 1 3 8
1990-91 Montreal Canadiens NHL 75 31 30 61 53 0 13 9 5 14 6
1991-92 New Jersey Devils NHL 74 29 35 64 25 -1 7 1 2 3 0
1992-93 New Jersey Devils NHL 78 38 35 73 44 -1 5 2 2 4 2
1993-94 New Jersey Devils NHL 80 36 36 72 16 +31 20 7 5 12 6
1994-95 New Jersey Devils NHL 45 23 16 39 10 +8 19 6 15 21 2
1995-96 New Jersey Devils NHL 73 20 12 32 30 -8
1996-97 Montreal Canadiens NHL 63 22 24 46 32 0 5 0 0 0 0
1997-98 Montreal Canadiens NHL 14 5 4 9 5 +1
1997-98 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 26 9 11 20 36 -7
1998-99 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 64 12 21 33 22 -10
1999-00 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 20 7 5 12 4 +2
1999-00 Detroit Vipers IHL 2 0 0 0 0 +2
1999-00 St. Louis Blues NHL 36 8 17 25 14 +7 3 1 0 1 0
2000-01
2001-02 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 58 13 12 25 14 -8
2001-02 New Jersey Devils NHL 10 1 2 3 0 -1 3 0 0 0 0
NHL Totals 1054 421 398 819 614 134 53 45 98 61


QMJHL - Offensive Rookie of the Year (1984)
QMJHL Second All-Star Team (1985) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1990)
Traded to New Jersey by Montreal with Tom Chorske for Kirk Muller and Roland Melanson, September 20, 1991. Traded to Montreal by New Jersey for Lyle Odelein, August 22, 1996. Traded to Tampa Bay by Montreal with Darcy Tucker and David Wilkie for Patrick Poulin, Mick Vukota and Igor Ulanov, January 15, 1998. Traded to St. Louis by Tampa Bay for Rich Parent and Chris McAlpine, January 13, 2000. Signed as a free agent by Washington, August 25, 2000. Signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh, October 2, 2001. Traded to New Jersey by Pittsburgh for New Jersey's 7th round choice (Stephen Dixon) in 2003 Entry Draft, March 19, 2002. Officially announced his retirement, August 18, 2002.