Like several Canucks in the early 1970s, Andre Boudrias time with the Canucks was his coming out party to the NHL. Prior to joining the Canucks, Boudrias had one good season with the Minnesota North Stars but had struggled to hold down a roster spot since then. Boudrias was claimed off the Blues in the expansion draft and immediately became one of Vancouver’s best forwards. Known for his defense ad the time, Boudrias re-vitalized his offensive side in Vancouver and the “super pest” became a key play making winger for the Canucks.
Boudrias led the Canucks in points in their inaugural season with 66 points in 77 games. Despite being a diminutive man at just 5’8″ and 165 pounds, Boudrias knew how to make his way around the ice, showing a particular skill set for setting up his teammates, especially Rosaire Paiement who scored 34 goals in that first season. Boudrias finished with a +15 rating, remarkable given the team’s placement in the league standings. The Canucks had a rough 1971-72 season, but Boudrias still manged to be consistent, scoring 27 goals and adding 34 assists to tie captain Orland Kurtenbach with 61 points.
In the ’72-’73 season, Boudrias played a big part in the successful year of Bobby Schmautz, who set a new Canuck record with 38 goals in a season. Boudrias led the team with 40 assists and also set a personal best of 30 goals, showing he could do both. Amazingly, Boudrias wasn’t the smallest offensive forward on the team. Not only was Rich Lemieux also 5’8″, but 20-goal scorer Bobby Lalonde stood at just 5’5″ and was one of the shortest players to ever play in the NHL.
The Canucks improved to better than ever in the 1973-74 season, though they still missed the playoffs. Boudrias led the way more than ever with nearly 20 points more than the second place player on the team, Dennis Ververgaert. Boudrias’ 75 points and 59 assists were both Canuck records and it was clear that Boudrias played a big part in helping Vancouver have four 20-goal scorers, though Schmautz was traded mid-season. The 1974-75 season was a blessing to the Canucks, who were moved out of the brutally difficult East Division and moved into the much easier Smythe Division, following the new four-division format. Boudrias set Canuck records again with 62 assists and 78 points, helping Don Lever hit 38 goals and John Gould hit 34 goals.
Boudrias, a solid leader, took the captaincy for the 1975-76 season, but struggled during the year, managing just 7 goals and 31 assists in 71 games. Following that season, Boudrias signed with the WHA’s Quebec Nordiques before retiring two years later.
Boudrias is regarded by many as Vancouver’s first offensive “star” and gave the fans something to cheer about in those early years. His mark of 62 assists in the 1974-75 season remained the single-season record for over 30 years until Henrik Sedin beat it in the 2006-07 season with 71 assists. It remained the single-season record among left-wings until Daniel Sedin beat it with his 63 assists in the 2010-11 season. Even his 78 points remained the record until the 1981-82 season when Thomas Gradin passed the total, though Stan Smyl did tie Boudrias’ total in 1979-80. Boudrias left the Canucks with by far the most assists and points of any Canuck and even led in goals with 121, though he was passed in that category the following season by Lever. It wasn’t until the 1979-80 season that Lever also managed pass Boudrias’ 388 points. It was in that season that playmaking defenseman Dennis Kearns also managed to pass Boudrias in the assist category. While Boudrias hasn’t been recognized in any formal way, fans who watched during those early days will never forget his contributions to making that team just a bit more exciting.
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