The 1971 NHL Amateur Draft featured fourteen teams selecting 117 players over ten rounds. 50 of the 117 went on to play at least one game in the NHL. Four of the 117 went on to play over 1,000 regular season games in the NHL with three of four eventually being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Guy Lafleur of the Quebec Remparts was selected first overall, going to the Montreal Canadiens. Lafleur was coming off an incredible season in the QMJHL, scoring 130 goals and totalling 209 points in just 62 games. He added another 43 points in 14 playoff games.
Guy was an immediate regular with the Canadiens in 1971-72 and became one of the franchise’s most prolific offensive powerhouses of all time. Lafleur played 1,127 regular season NHL games between 1971-72 and 1990-91 with the Canadiens, New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques. He was awarded the Art Ross Trophy on three occasions as the league’s top point producer and finished his career with 1,353 points.
Marcel Dionne was drafted second overall by the Detroit Red Wings after a stellar junior career with the St. Catherines Black Hawks. In his final two seasons with St. Catherines, Dionne was awarded the Eddie Powers Trophy as the player in the OHA with the most points. Dionne appeared in 1,348 regular season games between 1971-72 and 1988-89, but only 49 Stanley Cup playoff games over that period.
Dionne won the Art Ross Trophy once, with 137 points for the Los Angeles Kings in 1979-80. On eight occasions, he surpassed 100 points in a season. Besides Detroit and Los Angeles, Dionne also played for the New York Rangers, ending his career in Manhattan. Interestingly, Dionne and Lafleur played together in New York in Marcel’s final season.
Craig Ramsay was taken in the second round by the Buffalo Sabres, nineteenth overall, after a four year junior career with the Peterborough Petes. Ramsay played in 1,070 regular season NHL games while playing his entire career in Buffalo. He retired after the 1984-85 season. Since, Craig has been in coaching, standing behind the benches of the Sabres, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Atlanta Thrashers and Florida Panthers.
Larry Robinson was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, one position behind Craig Ramsay. Robinson played junior with the Kitchener Rangers but after being drafted, played a season and a half with Montreal’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs.
Robinson played 1,384 regular season NHL games between 1972-73 and 1991-92 with the Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings. Twice, Larry was awarded the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman and was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 1977-78 as the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Like Ramsay, Robinson went into coaching after retirement and has spent more than a decade behind the bench of the New Jersey Devils.