Top 25 Bruins of All-Time: #5 - #1
5. Cam Neely - Neely is the consummate embodiment of what it means to be a Bruin for life. After being traded to the Boston Bruins from the Vancouver Canucks in 1986, he never went anywhere else. The right winger finished the remaining ten years of his career in Boston and now works as the team’s president. During the 1993-94 season, Neely won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which honors service and sportsmanship, qualities in Neely that have extended long beyond his playing career. His 590 points put him in eleventh all-time among Bruins skaters, but his major impact came in his clutch play. Neely led the league in game-winning goals twice during his career with the Bruins.
4. Patrice Bergeron - The highest ranking active member of the Bruins, Bergeron has been a part of the organization since being drafted in 2003. In that time, the 33 year old center has carved out a spot for himself as the player of the century for the Bruins. With so much left in the tank, he could become the greatest to ever wear black and gold, but for now, fourth will have to do. In his 15 year career so far, Bergeron already ranks sixth in points all-time for the Bruins (813), seventh in assists (492), sixth in goals (321), and fourth in games played (1028). A four-time Frank J. Selke Trophy winner and two-time All-Star, Bergeron’s skills as a two-way player helped lead Boston to the 2011 Stanley Cup title.
3. Phil Esposito - With 459 goals as a Bruin, Esposito ranks second among all goal scorers in the history of the franchise. And this is only a fraction of what he actually contributed to the team. As a center, Esposito’s nine years with Boston are remembered with reverence as he is considered one of hockey’s best and a Hall of Famer. His career with Boston lasted from 1967 to 1976, earning a jersey number retiring. During that time, he won the Art Ross Trophy five times, and the Hart Memorial Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award twice each. He also led two Bruins teams to Stanley Cup championships. Succinctly, Esposito is the closest thing Boston ever had to Wayne Gretzky.
2. Ray Bourque - Bourque, on the other hand, might have had the most raw talent of any Bruin on this list. His time as a captain for the Bruins is still unmatched and his twenty-one year career with the team are so beloved that when he won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche at the end of his career, he still had a celebration in Boston. A no-doubt-about-it Hall of Famer, Bourque’s 1506 points for the Bruins is still a franchise record, never mind the fact that he was a defenseman. He scored more points than any other defenseman in NHL history. He racked up trophies, medals, and more, but his loyalty to Boston is enough to make any Bruins fan emotional.
1. Bobby Orr - Sometimes, you just can’t beat the best one. Bobby Orr only ranks fifth in all-time points for the Bruins, with 888. But as a defenseman who only played for the Bruins for ten seasons, that is still very impressive. Esposito has more trophies, Bourque has more points, Johnny Bucyk has more goals. But Orr brought something magical to the Bruins. He is undoubtedly the catalyst for the 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup championships as his clutch post-season play was the reason for the Bruins’ success. His goals are among the sport’s most iconic and he transformed the entire franchise. He’s probably the greatest defenseman in the history of hockey. But to know what Orr was capable of, all you have to do is look at his supremely supernatural 1969-70 season. Orr led the league in points with 120 and assists with 87. He won the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy, and Conn Smythe Trophy in the same season, the only one to ever do so. And he led Boston to the title. No one has ever done it better than Bobby Orr!
Thanks for following along on this countdown. We’ll have to do another one soon! If you agree or disagree with any of the picks, definitely chime in on the comment section below.
Image via Flickr / Richard Bartlaga