Rick Chartraw will always have the distinction of having been the first Venezuelan-born native to play in the National Hockey League. And, as of now, he remains the only one.
Selected in the first round, tenth overall in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft, Chartraw grew up in southern Ontario and played through the minor hockey system before joining the OHA's Kitchener Rangers at 17. In his rookie year, Chartraw played in 58 games and contributed 25 points. During his draft year, he had 17 goals and 61 points in 70 games. The Canadiens liked the combination of his size and agility for a big man and he reminded them of another similar type player who also came from the Rangers a few years earlier--Larry Robinson.
Chartraw made his first appearance with the Canadiens during the 1974-75 season when he played in 12 games in total. He played in 16 games the next year before being inserted into the lineup for 43 games in 1976-66. He also played in 13 playoff games and helped the Habs to their second Stanley Cup win in a row. In 1977-78, Chartraw played a career-high 68 games, scoring four goals and 16 points while again playing a role in the team's run through the playoffs, and a third Stanley Cup championship. He duplicated his point total from the year before in 1978-79, and once again helped Montreal reach the promised land, their fourth Stanley Cup in a row. That was it for Cup victories, but Chartraw remained in Montreal until midway through the 1980-81 season when he was sent to the Los Angeles Kings.
The stay with the Kings was a bumpy one for Chartraw, who managed only six goals with the club until being sent to the New York Rangers during the 1982-83 season. He played a total of 30 games in New York over two seasons, scoring twice and adding two assists. Chartraw finished the 1983-84 season with the Edmonton Oilers, which was his last year in the NHL