Boston Bruins All-Time Teamby Jack Gaffney January 28, 2022 0 comments
As an Original Six franchise, the Boston Bruins are one of the most storied franchises in the NHL. 26 Division wins, three Presidents trophies, six Stanley Cups, and a smorgasbord of all-time talent. Names like Bobby Orr, Patrice Bergeron, Ray Bourque, and Cam Neely are just some of the all-time talent to don the spoked B. With nearly a century’s worth of players to chose from, here is our Bruins All-Time Team.
Make sure to check out all of our other NHL All-Time Teams.
Patrice Bergeron (2003-Present)
Kicking things off is the current team captain, and one of the greatest two-way forwards in league history. More importantly, Bergeron is easily one of the greatest players in team history. A multi-time All-Star, four-time Selke Award winner, and sits in fourth for most points in team history. Furthermore, Bergeron, who’s fifth in all-time Bruins goals only trails Bourque by eight, and Rick Middleton by 15. Finally, you can’t bring up Bergeron without bringing up his postseason heroics. More specifically his two goals in Game 7 vs the Vancouver Canucks to break a 39-year Cup drought. In addition to his part in the Game 7 comeback vs the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Phil Esposito (1967-1975)
‘Jesus Saves. Esposito scores on the rebound’. A saying that did numbers in the merchandise game in the early 70s in Boston. It wasn’t meaningless either, Esposito was the NHL’s most prolific forward until a guy named Wayne Gretzky came along. He tallied up four straight and five total Art Ross trophies. In addition to a part of Hart trophies, and six straight NHL First All-Star team selections. Esposito was also the chip that landed the Bruins Brad Park in late 1975, wonder how that trade turned out.
Terry O’Reilly (1971-1985)
If you’re looking for the embodiment of ‘The Big Bad Bruins’ in the flesh, look no further than O’Reilly. Not the most skilled player in team history by any stretch, but he had zero fear and was tough as nails. Not that O’Reilly couldn’t produce per se. In fact, between ’75-’76 and ’81-’82, he put up four 20-plus goal and three 60-plus point seasons. Additionally, while not a surprise, O’Reillys 2095 penalty minutes are the most in Bruins history. For context that is a bit south of a day and a half in real time served in the box. To cap it off, O’Reilly ranks 11th in points for the Bruins all-time.
Dit Clapper (1927-1947)
Although Clapper spent the final nine years of his career on the blueline, his opening 11 with the Bruins were as a forward. As a third of the ‘Dynamite Line’, he was one of the most prolific scorers of the 1930s, landing ninth in points for the decade. Furthermore, Clapper is the only player in Bruins history to win three Stanley Cups with the team. In addition to being the first player in league history to hit 20 years of service time. His switch to defense and pairing with Eddie Shore had a lot to do with that.
Cam Neely (1986-1996)
One of the all-time great trade steals was the Bruins acquiring Neely from the Vancouver Cannucks for Barry Pederson. Before a knee injury in 1991 more or less served as a death knell, Sea Bass was one of the NHL’s best in Boston. In his first year, his stat production doubled across the board from his last year in Vancouver. Just a few years after, Neely was able to put together back-to-back 50 goal, 90 point seasons. Even after his knee injury, Neely still pulled off one final 50 goal campaign in ’93-’94. No Cups to his name, but Jeremy Jacobs being a cheapskate in the 90s was to blame. Undeniably, Neely is an all-time Bruins great. The No. 8 hanging in the rafter isn’t just for show.
David Krejci (2006-2021)
Having Bergeron and Krejci as your top two centers for the better part of a decade was about as good as it gets. While inconsistent, when the Czech forward was at his best, he could run with the best of them. Take his 2011 and 2013 postseason runs for example. Krejci led the league in postseason goals and points in the former, assists, and points in the latter. In total, he racked up 21 goals and 28 assists in those two Cup runs, spanning those 47 games. They don’t win in 2011 without him, and that’s a fact. He was also a lock as a top-two center for over a decade which helps his case.
John Bucyk (1957-1978)
Before Boston Celtics’ great Robert Parish, Bucyk was the ‘Chief’ of old Boston Garden. To this day his 1339 points are the most among any forward in Bruins history. Additionally, his 545 goals are the most by any Bruin ever. Bucyk also served as captain for several years in the mid-1970s, as well as the ’66-’67 season. In totality, not many Bruins have had a career as accomplished as ‘the Chief’.
Milt Schmidt (1936-1941, 1945-1955)
Next up is Mr. Bruin, and the de facto leader of the Kraut Line. Schmidt was a force for the Bruins in the years leading up to World War II. Famously in 1942, he along with his linemates Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer got carried off the ice by the Montreal Canadiens after an 8-1 win. The reason being all three had enlisted in the Canadian military, missing multiple seasons as a result. Schmidt returned to form once he returned in late 1945. He even went on to win the Hart trophy in 1950. Not many had more pride in being a Bruin, as said by Commissioner Garry Bettman said after his passing in 2017.
Ken Hodge (1967-1976)
The British winger spent nine of his 15 seasons as a Bruin. Most of his run sporting the spoked B saw him work alongside Esposito, having great success in doing so. Twice did Hodge have 105 point seasons in the early ’70s, and both got him NHL All-Star First-Team nods. The production dipped when Esposito was shipped off to the Rangers, but Hodge was big in both Bruins Stanley Cup victories in 1970 and 1972. He averaged over a point per game in 29 postseason tilts those two seasons. Additionally, Hodge also played in three All-Star Games. He ended up getting traded to the Rangers to reunite with Espositio, while the Bruins got the next forward on our list.
Rick Middleton (1976-1988)
It was a sign of good things to come when Middleton started his career in Boston with a hat trick. After night one, he went on to score 399 more goals in his Bruins career. Between the ’79-’80 and ’83-’84 seasons, ‘Nifty Rick’ scored no less than 40 goals and 40 assists in a season. Twice in that span did he break the 100 point plateau as well. His 23 shorthanded goals as Bruin were a record for over three decades, broken by one of the two forwards left. Additionally, his No. 16 was the latest to be retired by the team before Willie O’Ree‘s No. 22 went up earlier this month.
Wayne Cashman (1964, 1967-1983)
Cashman spent nearly two decades with the Bruins but ended up making one start in 1964 before his main stint. In a career that saw him win two Stanley Cups, Cashman was more consistent than anything. From his second year up until his second to last, he never scored less than 30 points. On the flip side, he only had seven seasons above 60 points. However, he is one of only seven players in club history to play in 1000 or more games.
Brad Marchand (2009-Present)
Last but certainly not least is everyone’s favorite pest. Some less than clean play in Marchand’s past certainly doesn’t do him any favors, but the talent is undeniable. Consistently has he been one of the NHL’s most prolific wingers, and a case could be made for him to win the Hart Trophy this season. Marchand is also the Bruins’ all-time leader in short-handed goals, as well as overtime goals. Down the line, he will certainly be situated in the top 10 of just about every team statistic when he decides to hang up the skates. Love him or hate him, Marchand is already one of the greatest Bruins ever.
Bobby Orr (1966-1976)
There are very few players in the history of hockey who can challenge Gretzky for the crown of the best player ever. Bobby Orr is comfortably on that list of three or four players. You can talk about a myriad of things with Orr. His eight consecutive Norris Trophy wins and First All-Star team selections. The three consecutive Hart Trophies and six straight 100-point campaigns. The local New England restaurant chain named after his No. 4. (R.I.P. Boston location) Or the literal most famous goal in the history of the sport. To this day Orr is considered the best defenseman in hockey history and for good reason. He completely changed the outlook of the position.
Eddie Shore (1926-1940)
Well before Orr ever arrived in Boston, the Bruins had Shore to lead the defensive front. Four times did the Saskatchewan native take home the Hart Trophy, which is still a record for an NHL defenseman. Additionally, Shore was named to the NHL’s First All-Star team seven times. His No. 2 was sent to the Boston Garden rafters the same year he was admitted to the Hockey Hall of Fame, 1947.
Don Sweeney (1988-2003)
The current Bruins general manager was not a stat sheet monster per se, but only three players in team history have logged more games. Those three are Bergeron, Bucyk, and Bourque, three players who are already or will be hall of famers. While Sweeney isn’t any of those three guys, but the fact he was paired with Bourque at points in the 90s is never a bad thing. As a matter of fact, in the ’92-’93 season, Sweeney led all defensemen in the league in Defensive Point Share. That includes Bourque, as well as Chris Chelios, who finished second and third that year.
Brad Park (1975-1983)
What a stroke of luck that the Bruins got a superstar defenseman just a few years before Orr’s departure. While the numbers were never anything like Orr’s, Park was exceptional after becoming a Bruin. Although comparable to Orr in his days with the Rangers, the offense was not was the focal point of his time in Boston. While he never won the Norris, he finished runner up in the voting twice as a member of the Bruins. But going from Orr to Park is about as good as it gets, as was going from Park to this next gentleman.
Ray Bourque (1979-2000)
The only thing preventing Bourque from being the best player in Bruins history is maybe the only man better at his position period. Only three players in league history have won more than the five Norris Trophies that Bourque owns. Those three are Orr, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Doug Harvey. Bourque however sits alone atop the First All-Star team selections throne, with 13 selections, with six Second-Team selections. It’s a shame he never won a Cup in Boston, but Joe Sakic got him one at long last in 2001.
Zdeno Chara (2006-2020)
The ageless wonder, who is still going as of this day with the New York Islanders, served valiantly as Bruins captain for over a decade. For that same amount of time, the top defenseman option in Boston was never in question. Even in his final years, Chara was a consistent presence on the back end and was a tremendous leader. Outside of one Norris Trophy and Stanley Cup, Chara was maybe the most reliable athlete in the city in his time. That being shown in the 2019 Cup Finals, playing with his jaw wired shut in the final few games.
Tuukka Rask (2007-Present)
Rask has been the brunt of endless local media and fan criticism for years now, but his spot here isn’t to be questioned. He is the Bruins’ all-time leader in goalie wins, starts, assists, and save percentage (minimum of 100 starts; tied with Tim Thomas). What has been a criticism (and a fair one in certain spots), are his playoff blunders. The 2010 collapse against the Philadelphia Flyers, ‘Two goals in 17 seconds’, and Game 7 against Montreal in 2014, and of the 2019 Cup Finals the largest among them. If only 2019 turned out different, that would have done wonders for his legacy, as Rask was money that entire postseason otherwise.
Tiny Thompson (1928-1938)
Although he stood at 5’10”, Thompson is a giant among the greats of the Bruins. He is still the club’s all-time leader in goals-against average (minimum 100 starts), as well as shutouts at 1.99 and 74 respectively. On top of his four Vezina’s, Thompson led the league in wins five times, all in Boston. Thompson also can be considered the godfather of the glove save, which is another feather in his cap.
Art Ross (1924-1934, 1936-1945)
Kind of hard to not go with the coach for whom the Coach of the Year award is named after. Ross in his years with the Bruins won the club a pair of Stanley Cups. His 387 wins are only bested in team history by Claude Julien. What isn’t are his two Stanley Cups as a coach, as he is the only coach in franchise history to have multiple. This isn’t even mentioning his contributions to the game itself. Helping out with net and puck innovations, as well as ushering in the use of the red line.
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