Claude Lapointe

Claude Lapointe was an easy player to like.

Though he was undersized (just 5'9" and 175lbs), he played with all-out abandon, throwing his weight around and mucking and grinding against players much bigger than himself. The scrappy and versatile forward was an excellent penalty killer, relentlessly hounding puck carriers. He was as dogged on the backcheck as he was on the forecheck.

Though he had strong anticipation skills and good speed, Lapointe never really developed into much of an offensive threat. He topped out at 15 goals and regularly provided 30 points a year.

Over the course of 879 NHL games, most notably with Quebec and New York Islanders, Lapointe slowed down with accumulating injuries over the years. Yet Lapointe never changed his game that made him a fan favorite.

He scored 127 goals and 178 assists for 305 points in his career. All in all, not bad for a 12th round, 234th overall, draft pick in the 1988 entry draft.

In retirement Lapointe moved back to Quebec to get his life back on track. He exited the NHL after entering into the league's substance abuse program.  He had begun using cocaine sporadically as an 18 year old but eventually it caught up to him, costing him a marriage, a trade from Long Island and perhaps the premature end to his NHL career. Now that he is clean he talks to audiences about the dangers of depression and drugs. You can listen to him discuss his life here.

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