Bruins announce All-Centennial Team: Which 20 Boston legends made the cut?

Bruins

Bobby Orr and Patrice Bergeron are some of the headliners on the Bruins’ All-Centennial Team.

Former Boston Bruins Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito acknowledge the crowd ahead of the Bruins home opener to their 100th Season at TD Garden on October 11, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito were two no-doubters on the All-Centennial Team. Maddie Meyer / Getty

With the Bruins’ centennial season now in full swing, the third Original Six franchise to hit triple digits honored the best-of-the-best who’ve donned black-and-gold sweaters.

During Boston’s centennial gala held Thursday night at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, the Bruins unveiled their All-Centennial Team — a grouping of the best 20 players (12 forwards, six defensemen, two goalies) in franchise history.

The All-Centennial Team was voted on by an independent committee of journalists and media members, historians, and members of the hockey community.

The same committee also selected the “Historic 100” — a larger pool of the greatest Bruins of all time — which was announced last month.

Here is the full Bruins All-Centennial Team:

FORWARDS

Patrice Bergeron: Arguably the best two-way forward of all time, Bergeron captured a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011 and won an NHL-best six Selke Trophies during his lauded career. Bergeron retired this offseason after 19 seasons with Boston, with the final three as the team’s captain. He ranks third on the team’s all-time games list (1,294), third on their all-time goals list (427), fourth in assists (613), and third in points (1,040). 

Johnny Bucyk: “Chief” logged 21 total seasons in a black-and-gold sweater — winning two Cups with the Bruins in 1970 and 1972. With 16 20-goal seasons on his resume, Bucyk still stands alone as the Bruins’ all-time leading goal scorer at 545. Bucyk has been associated with and served in some capacity with the Bruins organization since the late 1950s. 

Wayne Cashman: Another key cog on two Cup-winning clubs, Cashman could do it all with the Bruins as a top-six forward who could also dole out some punishment. Just one of seven Bruins to log 1,000 total games with the franchise, Cashman ranks eighth in team scoring with 793 points. 

Bill Cowley: An often overlooked Bruins legend, Cowley was arguably the best playmaker of his era out on the ice. Along with winning two Stanley Cups, Cowley retired in 1947 as the league’s all-time leading scorer. In 508 career games with Boston, Cowley posted 537 points and won two Hart Trophies as league MVP. 

Phil Esposito: One of the greatest scorers in NHL history, Esposito was an offensive juggernaut during his nine years with the Bruins. A lethal triggerman, especially when skating out on the ice with a certain fleet-footed defenseman, Esposito scored 459 goals and posted 1,012 points in just 625 games with Boston. A two-time Cup champion, Esposito averaged 65 goals per season from 1970-75. 

David Krejci: A 1-2 punch down the middle with Bergeron, Krejci helped pen a fruitful chapter in Bruins history that included a Stanley Cup victory and two more treks to the Cup Final. A poised playmaker (786 career points), Krejci shined the brightest during the postseason. He led the entire NHL in playoff scoring during two of Boston’s Cup runs in 2011 and 2013. 

Brad Marchand: The current captain of the Bruins, Marchand was already a beloved figure in Boston for his agitating style of play and his role in Boston’s 2011 Cup run. But Marchand has elevated his game from bottom-six pest to one of the best two-way wingers in the NHL. He ranks seventh overall in Bruins franchise history with 862 points. 

Rick Middleton: A potent offensive force for 12 seasons, “Nifty” scored 402 goals and posted 898 points in 881 career games with the Bruins. He surpassed the 90-point threshold five times in his career with Boston.

Cam Neely: The most feared power forward of his time, the current Bruins president scored 344 goals in just 525 games with Boston. An imposing presence at the netfront who was just as happy to dole out a check as he was burying a rebound, Neely scored 50 goals in just 44 games with Boston in 1993-94. What could have been if it wasn’t for Ulf Samuelsson. 

Terry O’Reilly: A player whose DNA was woven into the Bruins’ identity, O’Reilly scored 204 goals and posted 606 points over 14 seasons with the Bruins — while also finishing with a franchise-leading 2,095 penalty minutes. Madison Square Garden ushers still shudder at the mention of his name. 

David Pastrnak: Still just 27 years old, Pastrnak might end up being the most gifted goal scorer in Bruins history. “Pasta” has already scored 303 goals in just 593 games, and joined Esposito as just the second Bruin to surpass the 60-goal threshold in a single season in 2022-23. 

Milt Schmidt: A true Bruin through and though, Schmidt was a Hall-of-Fame player as the key cog of the “Kraut Line”. Along with winning two Stanley Cups out on the ice, Schmidt coached the Bruins from 1954-66 before serving as the primary architect of the “Big Bad Bruins” as the team’s general manager. Committed highway robbery in the deal with the Blackhawks that brought in Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield. 

Defensemen

Ray Bourque: The greatest blueliner in Bruins history if it wasn’t for a certain someone, Bourque is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (1,518), assists (1,111), and points (1,506). A do-it-all defenseman who impacted the game every single time he hopped over the boards, Bourque is the highest-scoring defenseman in NHL history, with 1,579 points.

Zdeno Chara: Chara’s arrival via free agency in 2006 turned a rudderless franchise into a perennial contender. Chara was an intimidating presence on the Bruins’ blue line for 14 seasons — all of which he served as the team’s captain. He took home the Norris Trophy as the league’s top D-man in 2008-09, but his greatest impact might be found in the clubhouse culture he cultivated that remains intact to this day. 

Dit Clapper: A three-time Stanley Cup champion, Clapper did it all during his time with the Bruins. An All-Star at both forward and defense, Clapper was the first player in league history to log 20 seasons with one franchise. 

Bobby Orr: The man who changed hockey forever. The greatest defenseman of all time, little more needs to be said about the legacy Orr built over 10 seasons in Boston. The visage of him leaping through the air on May 10, 1970 can be found in about every sports bar from Barnstable to Bar Harbor. 

Brad Park: Park had the unenviable task of replacing Orr on the Bruins blue line. But the Hall of Famer was a force over his eight seasons with the Bruins, scoring 100 goals and 417 points in 501 games. Finished in the top-10 in Norris Trophy voting four times with Boston. 

Eddie Shore: One of the first superstars in the NHL, Shore won four Hart Trophies as league MVP while taking home eight All-Star nods and two Stanley Cup championships over his 14 seasons with the Bruins. Might be the most feared player to ever lace up their skates. 

GOALIES

Frank Brimsek: Brimsek only played nine total seasons in Boston, with his prime years cut short due to World War II. But “Mr. Zero” was downright dominant whenever he was situated between the pipes. Brimsek led the Bruins to two Stanley Cup titles while earning eight All-Star nods and two Vezina Trophies. 

Gerry Cheevers: An icon in Boston thanks to his famous stitched mask, Cheevers also served as the last line of defense for two Cup-winning clubs in 1970 and 1972. Cheevers’ 53 playoff wins are the second-most in Bruins history. 


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