Phil Goyette

Phil Goyette came out of junior as a slick passing, high scoring offensive dynamo in the Montreal system. Unfortunately for Goyette, Montreal didn't need another high scoring center as they already boasted Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard and Ralph Backstrom.

As a result of this overcrowding down the middle, Phil spent 3 years in the minors before catching on with Les Habitants in 1957-58 on a full time basis. While in the minors Phil learned to become a defensive center. He learned the fine art of defensive anticipation, shadowing your check and face-offs. Phil finally caught on with Montreal as a defensive minded 4th line center.

Phil was actually a late season call up in 1956-57 where he played in 14 games down the stretch before appearing in 10 playoff games to help the Habs win their second of five consecutive Stanley Cups.

In his official rookie season Phil played strong defensively but also showed a good playmaking side. He scored 9 goals and 37 assists for 46 points in 70 games. In the playoffs he played an integral role, scoring 4 goals in 10 games in capturing another Cup.

Goyette suffered a bit of a sophomore jinx in his second full season. He scored 10 times but added just 18 assists in 63 games. He went goalless in 10 playoff games, though did pick up 4 helpers.

Goyette's best season as a Hab came in 1959-60, the last year of the Canadiens great reign. Goyette scored 21 goals and 43 points and added 2 goals and 1 assist in the playoffs to capture the team's 5th consecutive championship, and Goyette's 4th.

1960-61 was a rough year for Phil. The amount of ice time he saw shrank and he scored only 7 goals and 11 points in 63 games. He had a strong playoff, scoring 3 goals and 6 points in 6 games. However the season ended on an unusual note for Goyette. For the first time in Phil's career, the season did not end with him and his teammates hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Phil continued to be buried in Montreal's great depth until he was traded to the New York Rangers with Don Marshall and Jacques Plante for Gump Worsley, Dave Balon, Leon Rochefort and Len Ronson. In New York, Goyette was teamed up with Marshall and Bob Nevin - all good defensive forwards. However for the first time in a long time Phil got some serious ice time and he responded strongly. There was never any doubt that he had offensive skills, but finally he got to display them as he registered 24 goals and 41 assists for 65 points. Goyette scored more than 60 points twice more in his 6 seasons in New York, but the Ranger's only made the playoffs in three of those seasons. While Phil finally got a chance to display his worth, the success that he saw early in his career in terms of championships was a long ways off.

Goyette, an extremely clean player who only had 131 career PIM in 941 games, was traded to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for big and bad Moose Dupont in 1969. Phil responded with his best season, responding with career highs in goals (29), assists (49) and points (78). Despite totaling a second best 16 PIM total, he was rewarded for his fine season with the Lady Byng trophy for gentlemanly play. More importantly, Phil helped the Blues reach the Stanley Cup finals, scoring 3 times and assisting on 11 others for 14 points in 16 games.

Because of his advancing age Phil, who was often nicknamed "Thin Man" or "The Professor," was left exposed in the 1970 expansion draft. Phil was selected by the Buffalo Sabres. In Buffalo Phil put together another strong season, scoring a point a game with 61 points (15 goals, 46 assists) in 60 games.

Goyette's age was catching up with him during the 1971-72 season. Off to a slow start, the Sabres sold his rights back to the New York Rangers late in the season. Goyette rounded out his career by scoring 5 points in 8 regular season games. He also used his vast playoff experience to help the Rangers to a strong playoff showing. Phil chipped in with 1 goal and 4 points in 13 games.

Phil totaled 207 goals, 467 assists and 674 points in 941 NHL games. He added 17 goals and 29 assists for 46 points in 94 career playoff games. It was in the playoffs when Phil was at his best, as his 4 Stanley Cup rings attest.

Upon retirement Goyette was named as the first coach of the expansion New York Islanders back in 1972. It was not a great experience for all involved, and he was quickly fired.

Goyette then returned to his native Lachine, Quebec, where he worked with a custom brokerage business that he had apprenticed with during the summers while still playing hockey in the NHL.


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