Top 25 Bruins of All-Time: #20 - #16
Welcome to week two of this countdown! (For those who missed it, here's week one.)
20. Joe Thornton - For a long time, it seemed like Thornton, a center and the first overall pick by the Boston Bruins in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, was the future of Boston hockey. Things just never quite panned out, though. Thornton played eight seasons with the Bruins where he racked up 454 points off of 169 goals. He was an elite scorer who changed the culture of Boston and was their best player for an entire era, but injuries plagued his career and the Bruins eventually traded their captain to the San Jose Sharks.
19. Tim Thomas - Without Tim Thomas, the Bruins would not have won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Unfortunately, things sort of tapered off after that. But Thomas' efforts in 2011 have cemented him in Bruins lore forever. He played for eight years in Boston before his career trailed off in Florida and in Dallas. But that time in Boston was remarkable as he put up a 196-121 record with a .921 save percentage. A four-time All-Star and winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2011, Thomas went 16-9 in the 2011 post-season with an unbelievable .940 save percentage.
18. Dit Clapper - Dit Clapper is not only one of the best Bruins ever, he's one of the best hockey players ever. His greatest contribution to the Bruins was his longevity as he played for the team from 1927 to 1947. Clapper played both right winger and defenseman and went to the All-Star Game six times for his efforts. He was never a prolific scorer, but he had the heart of a champion as he won three Stanley Cups with the Bruins, more than any other Boston hockey player. He also coached the Bruins for four seasons, bringing them to a 102-88-40 record during that time.
17. Adam Oates - Oates did not play in Boston for very long, but the time he did spend was unparalleled during that time. Recording six seasons in black and gold from 1991 to 1997, Oates put up 499 points, including 56 power play goals. He enjoyed his best season in the 1992-93 endeavor, when he recorded a league-best 97 assists. Before eventually falling out of favor in Boston and getting traded to the Washington Capitals, Oates did appear in four All-Star games during an era when it was significantly more challenging to do so.
16. Tiny Thompson - Until the 2018-19 season and Tuukka Rask came along, Tiny Thompson was the all-time leader in wins in Bruins history. For eleven seasons in the early twentieth century, Thompson recorded 252 wins during his Hall of Fame career with the Bruins. He also won the Stanley Cup during the 1929 season and he received four All-Star appearances during his time with Boston. Most notably, Thompson won the Vezina Trophy for the league's best goaltender four times! For decades, Thompson was the gold standard of Boston goalies.
Image via Wikimedia / Montreal Gazette Archives