Similar to in the 1984 draft, Montreal’s first four picks in 1987 all worked out (just on different teams, which is an unfortunate recurring theme on this list).
Andrew Cassels (17th overall), John LeClair (33rd), Eric Desjardins (38th) and Mathieu Schneider (44th) all had impressive careers. The latter three even helped the Habs win their last Stanley Cup in 1993.
Now, nine players the Habs took in that drafted never ended up playing a single game, but, overall, the draft was quite weak. If one goes through the entire draft, it becomes readily apparent that, considering just who was available, the Habs made the best selections with each and every one their first four picks.
In fact, after Schneider was taken in the third round, only a single player still available ended up scoring more than his 743 career points (Theoren Fleury, 1088 in 1084 career games after being taken 166th). That’s just good drafting…incredible drafting actually.
Now, as previously indicated, Cassels eventually got traded to the Hartford Whalers essentially for Valeri Bure (in draft-pick form). Schneider got dealt with Kirk Muller to the New York Islanders in a deal for Pierre Turgeon (coincidentally the first pick in the 1987 draft) and LeClair and Desjardins?
Well, it could have been worse, but they both got traded, along with Gilbert Dionne (Marcel’s younger brother, drafted by Montreal in 1990), to the Philadelphia Flyers for Mark Recchi and a third-round pick.
At the end of the day, it’s quite telling that the only one of those four players that did not end up reaching 1000 games was LeClair, who amazingly ended up scoring the most points in his career (819). This is clearly a testament to Montreal’s scouting staff (not so much the general management, of course, but that’s an article for another day).
Complete 1987 draft class: