Patrick Roy at his number retirement.
Let's blame it on Ronald Corey.
After all, he was the one who fired coach Jacques Demers and general manager Serge Savard four games into the 1995-96 season. Surely, they wouldn't have made the mistakes that their successors would.
Corey then hired Rejean Houle as GM and Mario Tremblay as coach, even though the latter had never coached a day before in his life.
Six weeks into his coaching career, Tremblay decided to leave Patrick Roy in the net for nine goals against the Red Wings. Roy, who had a strong dislike for Tremblay even before he was hired to coach the Canadiens, demanded a trade.
Houle, the rookie general manager, was now put in the impossible position of having to trade one of the most popular players to ever represent the city of Montreal. The move he made with the Colorado Avalanche was one of the worst in NHL history.
Roy, with his 289 wins and two Stanley Cups, and captain Mike Keane were shipped off for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko. Ouch.
Even though Roy had already appeared in 551 games with the Canadiens, his career was far from over.
He would go on to play eight seasons in Colorado and would run his career record to 551-315-131. He had a career goals-against average of 2.54 and a .912 save percentage. He also added 66 shutouts.
From the time Roy left the Habs until he retired, the Canadiens would win just two playoffs series. The Avalanche won two Stanley Cups.
Roy is always in discussion as being the best goaltender to ever play the game of hockey. He's, therefore, worthy of being named Montreal's all-time greatest netminder, no matter how abruptly his Canadiens career ended.
Now, if only Ronald Corey hadn't fired Demers and Savard...