Trip down memory lane for old North Star fans in here-
Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette listed his Top 10 Canadien trades in their history.
Acquiring Bobby Smith from the North Stars came in at 9.
Used to love that Payne-Smith-McAdam line back when the North Stars started to turn the corner and become good.
#9 Bobby Smith: Dealt to Montreal from Minnesota for Keith Acton, Mark Napier and a third-round draft choice (acquired from Toronto) on Oct. 28, 1983
RED FISHER, The GazetteCanadiens fans with long memories remember their team of the second half of the 1970s as one of the best ever assembled - and for all of the right reasons. How could anyone forget a dynasty that won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1975-76 through 1978-79 - losing only 46 of 320 regular-season games?
How do you forget a team that included Hall of Fame names such as Cournoyer, Dryden, Gainey, Lafleur, Lapointe, Lemaire, Robinson, Savard and Shutt?
It was a team that lost only one of 40 home games (4-3 to Boston) and seven on the road in 1976-77, winning a franchise-high 60 games. The following season, the Canadiens "slipped" to 10 losses while winning 59 of their 80 games. The players' names were on everyone's lips, but hockey people added another going into the 1978 entry draft.
Bobby Smith had scored 69 goals and 123 assists in only 61 games with the Ottawa 67's that season. He was Minnesota's No. 1 overall choice in the draft. He had everything, starting with size - 6-foot-4, 210 pounds.
It got even better in 1978-79, when he won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, and in only his third NHL season Smith helped guide the North Stars to the Stanley Cup final against the New York Islanders, who went on to win their second of four consecutive championships.
The Canadiens got Smith 10 games into the 1983-84 season for Mark Napier, Keith Acton and a third-round draft choice in a trade GM Serge Savard says probably was the best one he's ever made involving players from both teams. Smith had scored only three times in his first 10 games with the North Stars, but he paid immediate dividends with 26 goals and 37 assists in the remaining 70 for the Canadiens.
"I don't think I would have won the Stanley Cup in '86 without him," Savard said recently. "He gave us a dimension we didn't have ... he gave us size. I'm not saying he was the best player on the team, but he gave us what we needed. He brought a lot of character to the team. You noticed him every time he was on the ice."
Said Smith: "Obviously, 21 years later I'm flattered by that comment. We had a lot of good players on that team and I think subsequent years proved just how good some of our players were when you saw the types of careers the young guys on that team ... Patrick Roy, Chris Chelios, Claude Lemieux, Brian Skrudland and Mike McPhee went on to have.
"Both teams that played in the finals that year (the Canadiens handled the Calgary Flames in five games) were real teams," Smith added. "Both had a lot of depth, and I'm just pleased that I was a contributing member of that team.
"Patrick won the Conn Smythe. He was a key player, obviously, and it was just the start of a wonderful career for him. I probably brought some good play offensively on the power play to the team that maybe had not been there.
"I've said to people that Mats Naslund was the best player I've ever played with," Smith continued. "Obviously, Guy Lafleur was a better player than him, but I played with Guy at the end of his career. Lafleur's career and Patrick's career and Chris Chelios's career were better than Naslund's career, but for that one season (1985-86) when he scored 110 points, I believe that was the best season that any teammate of mine ever had.
"I remember that one of my best years was with Ryan Walter and Lemieux. I also had lots of success when Mats and I played together, and we also played on the power play together."
Smith scored in double-digit numbers in his first five complete seasons with the North Stars, including 43 goals in 1981-82, but says he was thrilled when the trade to the Canadiens was made.
"I was 24 ... 25 years old," he recalled, "and I said right away that when my career is over, I will look back on my days in Montreal, just because I always thought it was a very special privilege to play for the Montreal Canadiens. I've said if I were a baseball player, I'd want to spend part of my career with the New York Yankees. And to get to spend part of it with the Canadiens was a thrill."
Smith, who handled GM responsibilities with the Phoenix Coyotes for three seasons and parts of two others, reads the papers, so he's aware the thrill is gone - and has been for some years among top-tier players.
"This will be my 15th year out of the NHL," Smith said. "I know when I played, guys were always thrilled to play for the Canadiens or the Calgary Flames. I'm not around current players anymore, so I don't really know what their feelings are."
Smith slipped to 16 goals and 40 assists in his second season with the Canadiens, but his best was yet to come in Season 3 when, as Savard mentioned, he played a formidable role - with gusts up to priceless - in bringing the Stanley Cup to the city for the first time in seven seasons. It started with his 31 goals and 55 assists playing on a line with Mats Naslund, whose 43 goals and 67 assists make him the last Canadiens player to score more than 100 points in a season. Smith added seven goals and eight assists in the playoffs, including the Cup-winning goal in a 4-3 victory in Calgary.
That was the only Stanley Cup win for Smith, even though he was to deliver eye-catching
offence with 75, 93 and 83 points in his next three seasons in Montreal. In 1989, he was to score 11 goals and eight assists in the playoffs en route to another Stanley Cup final showdown with the Flames. This time, however, Calgary scored an upset win in six games, winning the finale at the Forum 4-2.
Two seasons later, Smith was back where it all began - scoring eight goals and eight assists for a Minnesota team coached by a chap named Bob Gainey in a Stanley Cup final with the heavily favoured Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins won in six games, but only after Minnesota had taken a 2-1 lead in the series.