Adam Oates is the latest Boston Bruins alumnus to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, having joined the 2012 induction class in Monday night’s formalities. He is thus the museum’s first new honoree to have any association with America’s oldest NHL franchise since former linemate Cam Neely had his turn in 2005.
The wait for the next ex-Bruin to go to Toronto on the second Monday of November will not be nearly as long as the Neely-Oates interlude. One durable, prolific and ornate veteran who helped the franchise to its latest Stanley Cup in 2011 could get his Hall call as early as two years from now.
Starting around the year 2020 onward, another light influx of black and gold could go streaming in. It will depend heavily on what several active players, whether they are still in Boston or with another team, can do to build on their resumes. Ditto a couple of key figures who are making their careers upstairs at TD Garden.
There may be others who will be given a look once they are eligible. For example, there is always a chance (albeit a very slim one) that Tim Thomas could defy convention (late bloomers usually don’t make it) and prevail on the basis of two Vezina Trophies, a Conn Smythe and four All-Star appearances.
But as it sits right now, the Bruins’ 10 likeliest future Hall of Famers are as follows.