Tim Burke: Building an All-Centennial team for the Bruins

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4 to 0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4 to 0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

In honor of the Bruins upcoming centennial season the franchise will announce a roster of the best players for the first 100 years of bruins history. Below are my picks for the centennial roster provided with analysis.


Johnny Bucyk-Phil Esposito-Cam Neely

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak

Woody Dumart-Milt Schmhidt-Rick Middleton

Wayne Cashman-David Krejci-Terry O’Reilly



Phil Esposito’s 717 goals are 7th most in the history of the NHL, and his 489 goals with the Bruins are the second most in franchise history. Esposito led the NHL in goals in six consecutive seasons while playing in Boston and is one of two Bruins to score 60 goals in a season. Ranked 10th All-Time in Points in the NHL, Esposito is the greatest offensive player to play for the Boston Bruins, which earns him the top-line center role for the Bruins All-Centennial team.

The decision between Esposito and, recently retired Bergeron for the Bruins top line spot was a difficult one that could go either way. The six-time Selke winner is arguably the greatest defensive forward in the history of the National Hockey League and one of the game’s greatest two-way players. Bergeron could shut down a team’s top line in any era of hockey.

For over seventy years, Schmidt was involved in the organization as a player, coach, GM, and ambassador. The Hall of Fame Center led the Bruins to two Stanley Cups during his sixteen-year playing career. A Bruins centennial team is not complete without the ultimate Bruin.

David Krejci is one of the most underrated Bruins in history. He is in the top 10 in scoring for the Boston Bruins and led the Bruins in scoring during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Without him, the Bruins would never have won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Left Wing

Johnny Bucyk gets the top-line spot at left wing. The longtime Bruins captain and franchise leader in goals (545) is one of the greatest players and people to wear the spoked B.

Brad Marchand, one of the NHL’s best wingers for the last 15 years, Marchand ranks first in Bruins history in short-handed goals, 2nd in playoff points, 6th in goals, and 7th in points. As Bergeron’s right-hand man for 15 years, nobody else should be by his side on the Bruins centennial team.

Woody Dumart and Milt Schmidt played on the original “perfection line” for the Bruins throughout the 1940s alongside Bobby Bauer. Dumart, considered one of the best wingers in the NHL, played a significant role in two Stanley Cup Championships for Boston.

Wayne Cashman spent the entirety of his 17-year career with the Boston Bruins and is ranked in the top ten in all three major scoring categories for the franchise. Cashman helped the Bruins win two Stanley Cups in the ’70s and served as the organization’s captain for six years.

Right Wing

Cam Neely slots in as the first line right winger. Like Bucyk and Esposito, Neely is one of the greatest scorers in franchise history, as he scored 50 goals in just 49 games during the 93-94 season. In 10 seasons with the Bruins, Neely scored 344 goals but unfortunately retired at 30 due to several injuries.

David Pastrnak is one of the most talented scorers in Bruins history. This past season, Pastrnak joined Phil Esposito as the only Bruins to score 60 goals in a season. He is on pace to break Johnny Bucyk’s record for most goals in team history. The 27-year-old winger deserves a spot on the Bruins centennial team alongside his linemates Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

Rick Middleton is one of the most skilled Bruins forwards in history. The right winger is fifth all-time in points for the franchise with 898. Middleton also served as the franchise’s co-captain with Ray Bourque for three seasons.

Milt Schmidt may be the ultimate Bruin, but Terry O’Reilly defines the “The Big Bad Bruins”. The franchise’s penalty minutes leader with 2095, O’rielly, is most remembered for his toughness but also scored over 600 points throughout his fourteen-year NHL career, all with the Bruins. He also served as the franchise’s captain for two seasons in the 1980s.

Honorable mentions

Derek Sanderson, Don Marcotte, and Eddie Westfall, all terrific defensive players who were unsung heroes for the Bruins. Ken Hodge was a major contributor for two cup runs and a linemate of Phil Esposito but also just missed the cut. Lastly Milan Lucic all gets an honorable mention as being the heart and soul of the 2011 Boston Bruins Stanley Cup championship team and the modern Big Bad Bruin.


Bobby Orr Eddie Shore

Ray Bourque Brad Park

Zdeno Chara Don Sweeney


Picking defensemen was easy for the Bruins centennial. Nearly 45 years since he last played an NHL game, Bobby Orr is still the greatest defenseman to play the game of hockey. Eddie Shore, the NHL’s first superstar and one of the greatest defensemen in history. Ray Bourque holds the majority of the Bruins franchise records. Despite being a left-handed shot, Brad Park was too good of a player not to be included on the Bruins centennial team. If it were not for Bobby Orr, Park would be the greatest defenseman of his era. Zdeno Chara is the man responsible for creating the outstanding and respected culture within the Boston organization that we know and love today. He gets a third-pairing slot alongside Don Sweeney, who is third all-time in games played for the Bruins and one of the most consistent defenders in franchise history.

Honorable mentions: Charlie McAvoy, Dennis Seidneberg, and Dallas Smith get honorable mentions. McAvoy is an elite defender but has not had as much NHL experience as the other players on this list. Seidenberg was a force to be reckoned with on the ice and the most underrated player from the 2011 Stanley Cup run, but ultimately did not have the same accomplishments as others on this list. Dallas Smith was an All-Star defender and two-time cup champion but fell short of the centennial roster spot due to Brad Park switching the right side to ensure the best Bruins are on the centennial roster.


Tuukka Rask
Gerry Cheevers

Rask and Cheevers are clear #1 and #2 goalies in franchise history. Rask holds most of the records for Bruins goalies with the most saves, the highest Save Percentage, and is second in Goals Against Average and Shutouts. Cheevers, on the other hand, won two Stanley Cups with the Bruins and is a Hockey Hall of Famer. Cheevers is also the most iconic goalie in Bruins history with his legendary mask.

Honorable mentions: Tim Thomas fell just short of the team but deserves an honorable mention alongside Tiny Thompson, who was a terrific goaltender in his era. However, Rask and Cheevers are the clear choices for the centennial roster.