At 40, he was the oldest player in the league in 1999-2000, but he had defined himself years before as being the finest two-way player in the game, modeled after teammate and Selke Trophy winner Bob Gainey.
Carbonneau came out of the QMJHL, and stepped into a Montreal team on the downswing from a four-Cup dynasty in the late 1970s. He established himself as both a 20-goal scorer and the man who played against the other team's best player every night. During his 13 years with Montreal, he won the Cup twice, in 1986 and 1993.
In the '93 Final, the Habs faced Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings, and in game one the "Great One" had a goal and two assists and the Kings won 4-1. Carbo approached coach Jacques Demers and requested he be allowed to shadow number 99 the rest of the way. Montreal won the next four games.
He served as Montreal captain, won three Selke trophies with the team, but was traded for youth in 1994 in the form of Paul Kariya's University of Maine centreman, Jim Montgomery. Carbonneau spent one season in St. Louis before he was traded to Dallas, and there he won his third Cup in 1999.
Carbonneau played one more season with the Stars before retiring after the team lost in the 2000 Stanley Cup Final to the New Jersey Devils. After retiring during the off-season, Carbonneau joined the Montreal Canadiens as its Supervisor of Prospect Development before he was named part of the coaching staff in November of 2000. Carbonneau spent two seasons with the Canadiens before he accepted the position as the special assistant to the general manager of the Dallas Stars in the summer of 2002.