Jimmy Roberts, a five-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens and the first player taken by the St. Louis Blues in the 1967 NHL expansion draft, died of cancer Friday. He was 75.
Roberts, a defenseman, led the Blues to the Stanley Cup Final in each of the franchise's first three seasons.
"The St. Louis Blues and the Blues Alumni organization are deeply saddened by the passing of the original Blue Jimmy Roberts," the team said in a statement. "Jimmy was the franchise's first-ever draft pick and was instrumental in building the foundation of Blues hockey as a player and upholding its tradition as an alumnus. His tireless contributions to St. Louis, the Blues and the game of hockey as a whole will forever live as an example for future generations to follow. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Judy, and their two daughters."
Roberts won the Stanley Cup five times (1965, 1966, 1973, 1976, 1977) with the Canadiens, and on three occasions was selected an NHL all-star (1965, 1969, 1970).
Roberts played in 1,159 NHL games, including 447 with the Blues, before retiring in St. Louis at the conclusion of 1977-78. He spent 15 seasons in the NHL with the Canadiens and Blues.
Roberts made his NHL debut in 1963-64, scoring one assist in 15 games with the Canadiens. He had 126 goals and 320 points in 1,006 regular-season games and 20 goals and 36 points in 153 Stanley Cup playoff games.
Roberts would later coach in Buffalo (1979-83), Pittsburgh (1984-87) and Hartford (1991-92), while he was an AHL Coach of the Year winner (1989-90) and two-time Calder Cup champion with the Springfield Indians (1990, 1991).