Boston Bruins

The All-Time Greatest Boston Bruins at Every Position

Michael SmithContributor IIIOctober 31, 2013

The All-Time Greatest Boston Bruins at Every Position

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    The Boston Bruins have had some of the greatest players ever wear the black and gold during their career.

    As an Original Six team, their all-time greats go all the way back to the beginnings of the franchise. Some won championships, some set records, and some did both.

    Here is a list of the greatest Bruins ever at each position.

Goalie: Tiny Thompson

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    As a rookie, Tiny Thompson led the Bruins to their first-ever Stanley Cup victory.

    According to NHL.com, Thompson played 44 games in his first year and posted an incredible 12 shutouts. He also finished the season with a staggering 1.15 goals-against average, which is still second best of all time, according to NHL.com.

    Thompson played 10 full seasons with the Bruins and posted a sub-2.00 goals-against average five times. His 81 shutouts are tied for sixth of all time, according to ESPN.

Right Wing: Cam Neely

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    After being traded after his third year in the NHL by the Vancouver Canucks, Cam Neely developed into a superstar with the B's.

    He scored 50 or more goals three times for Boston (including 50 in only 49 games in 1993-94) and led his team to two appearances in the Stanley Cup Final.

    Knee injuries ultimately forced Neely to retire at only 31, and he is now the president of the club.

    He finished his career with 395 goals and 694 points in 726 games, according to NHL.com.

Center: Phil Esposito

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    Phil Esposito came to the Bruins in 1967 from the Chicago Blackhawks in one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history. The trade brought Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to Boston too, and they became stars in their own right.

    Esposito and Bobby Orr formed one of the greatest duos in league history. In 1968-69, Espo became the first player to ever score 100 points in a season, finishing with 126. In 1970-71, he broke the NHL goal-scoring record, tallying 76. (His record would stand until 1982 when The Great One scored 92.) He would score over 60 goals three more times during his Bruins career.

    Esposito was known for standing in front of the net and banging in rebounds. Also a gifted playmaker, he won two Cups with Boston and finished his career with the New York Rangers.

    Esposito scored 717 goals and 1,590 points in his career, according to NHL.com.

Left Wing: Johnny Bucyk

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    Johnny Bucyk is the greatest left-winger in Bruins history.

    After playing two years for the Wings, Bucyk played 21 straight seasons for the Bruins, winning Stanley Cups in 1970 and '72.

    He served as team captain and was a regular on the power play during Boston's reign in the late '60s and early '70s.

    He eclipsed the 50-goal and 100-point mark for the only time in the record-setting 1970-71 season. He finished with 516 goals and 1,369 points in his career, according to NHL.com.

Defenseman: Ray Bourque

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    Steve Babineau/Getty Images

    The second-greatest defenseman in Bruins history, Ray Bourque was a mainstay on the blue line for 20 seasons for Boston.

    He is the NHL record-holder for most goals, assists and points for defensemen, with 410, 1,169 and 1,579, respectively, according to NHL.com.

    He scored 20 or more goals nine times in his career and had a career high of 31 in 1983-84, according to NHL.com.

    He helped lead Boston to two Stanley Cup Final appearances and finally won the Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.

    Bourque originally wore No. 7 for the Bruins but switched to No. 77 out of respect to Esposito, who had his jersey retired by the club.

Defenseman: Bobby Orr

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    Steve Babineau/Getty Images

    Arguably the greatest hockey player to ever live, Bobby Orr is the greatest Bruin ever and the greatest Bruin defenseman of all time.

    Orr became the league's highest-paid player as an 18-year-old rookie and changed how the game was played forever.

    He is the record-holder for most assists and points in a season for a defenseman and is the only defenseman to lead the league in scoring, which he did twice, according to NHL.com.

    From 1968-75, Orr won the Norris Trophy eight times and won the Stanley Cup twice. (In both championships, he scored the winning goal and was named playoff MVP.) Orr also won the Hart Trophy three straight years.

    Orr used his speed to skate all over the ice, which was unheard of at that time for defensemen. He remains the most offensively talented defenseman to ever play the game.

    Limited by nagging knee injuries, Orr only played 12 years in the NHL. After 10 seasons with Boston, he played two with the Blackhawks before retiring at age 30. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame at age 31.

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