Born in Repentigny, Quebec, Richard Nantais was a left winger had a very fine junior career in the QMJHL for the Québec Remparts between 1971-74. During his three seasons with the Remparts he had an impressive 313 points based on 110 goals and 203 assists in 188 games. He added a less than friendly 661 penalty minutes, too.
Nantais certainly had a way of making an impression as a junior player. As a rookie with the Remparts he led the entire league with 283 penalty minutes. But it was his 194 point campaign (64 goals and 130 assists) in his final season in the QMJHL that scouts could not deny. Amazingly, he was the lowest scoring member of his line as linemates Real Cloutier (93 goals, 216 points) and Jacques Locas (99 goals, 206 points) out did him.
The Minnesota North Stars would select Nantais in the second round (24th overall) in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft.
Nantais never fulfilled the expectations as a pro. He only appeared in 63 NHL games, scoring nine points (five goals and four assists) for Minnesota between 1974-77. Forty of those games came in the 1976-77 season where he only scored one goal, not exactly the numbers the North Stars were hoping he would produce.
In the AHL and CHL his goal production wasn't so impressive either (43 goals in 169 games). But he still threw his weight around with 464 PIMs. His physical play was the only thing that he didn't seem to have lost since his junior days He led the league in penalty minutes during the 1976 AHL playoffs as well as the 1977 CHL playoffs.
Brawling your way through the minor leagues is a tough life. Nantais retired from hockey at the tender age of 23 in 1978.