Jean-Guy Gendron

Jean Guy "Smitty" Gendron was a useful utility forward from the mid-1950s through to the mid-1970s. The Frenchman was dubbed "Smitty" by a teammate who could never remember his name. For some reason the unknown player came up with the very English nickname for Gendron and it stuck forever

Gendron got his NHL start in the bright lights of Manhattan with the New York Rangers in 1955. For three seasons he was restricted to a defensive depth role, not seeing a lot of playing time.

Perhaps the Rangers should have given Gendron a better look offensively. In 1958 he joined the Bruins and immediately set a personal best with 15 goals. The next season, playing with Charlie Burns and Jerry Toppazzini, he re-set his best with 24 goals, the 10th most in the entire NHL.

The offense dried up in 1960-61, and after just 1 goal in 23 games he was traded to Montreal. The Canadiens let him go after that season, but he obviously impressed his old teams with his work ethic and nose for the net. He returned to New York for 1961-62, and returned to Boston in 1962-63.

After a quiet 1963-64 season with the Bruins, Gendron was dispatched home to Quebec for several seasons starring with the AHL Aces. He enjoyed his years with the Aces, and, with NHL jobs so scarce in the days of the Original Six, may have happily resigned himself to the idea that his hockey days would end in Quebec. But that would all change when the NHL expanded in 1967-68 and the Philadelphia Flyers came into existence.

Aside from his big year in Boston, the well travelled Gendron's best years came in Philadelphia. The Flyers happily included the veteran in their expansion years, plucking him from Quebec. For three straight seasons he topped 20 goals three consecutive seasons, from 1968 through 1971. Gendron gained fame as part of the Flyers "French Line" with Andre Lacroix and first Dick Sarrazin and then Simon Nolet.

The Flyers let Gendron go after the 1971-72 season after he slowed to just 6 goals in 56 games. Gendron returned to Quebec to play two more big league seasons with the Nordiques of the WHA.

Jean Guy Gendron played in 863 NHL games, scoring 182 goals, 201 assists and 383 points. In 127 WHA games he added 28 goals and 63 points.


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