Jimmy Roberts (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
The St. Louis Blues’ first-ever draft pick, Jimmy Roberts, has passed away at 75. Roberts was taken by the Blues in the 1967 expansion draft and played five seasons with St. Louis. Over his 1,006-game career, Roberts won five Stanley Cups, all as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.
The original St. Louis Blue, Jimmy Roberts, passed away Friday at 75.
Roberts, a Toronto native, was the first selection of the Blues in the 1967 expansion draft. Claimed from the Montreal Canadiens, Roberts was coming off of back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with the Habs when he was selected. Prior to his selection, Roberts had scored three goals in 63 games playing on Montreal’s blueline.
“Jimmy was the franchise’s first-ever draft pick and was instrumental in building the foundation of Blues hockey as a player, and up-holding its tradition as an alumnus,” the Blues said Friday in a statement. “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, Vicky and Corri.”
Roberts played four seasons with the Blues and helped St. Louis to the post-season in each of its first three years. Early in the 1971-72 campaign, the Blues dealt Roberts back to the Canadiens for winger Phil Roberto. The year following his return to Montreal, Roberts won his third career Stanley Cup with the Canadiens. He would go on to win two more Stanley Cups as a member of the Canadiens.
In August 1977, Roberts was dealt back to the Blues for a third-round draft pick that Montreal used to select Guy Carbonneau.
After playing his 1,000th NHL regular season game in the 1977-78 season, Roberts retired as a St. Louis Blue. In his career, Roberts notched 126 goals and 320 points, adding another 20 goals and 36 points in 153 post-season outings.
Following his playing days, Roberts spent 20 years as a coach at the professional and minor-league level. Roberts got his start as an assistant in Buffalo in 1979 and spent five seasons with the Sabres before joining the Pittsburgh Penguins. After three years in Pittsburgh, Roberts became the coach of the AHL’s Springfield Indians, winning two Calder Cups in three seasons. Roberts would then have tenures with the Hartford Whalers and AHL’s Worcester IceCats before spending six seasons as an assistant with the Blues. He retired altogether in 2001-02.