Ranking the 10 Greatest Rookie Seasons in Boston Bruins History

Chris Blanchard@@BlanchardNHLContributor IIIOctober 17, 2013

Ranking the 10 Greatest Rookie Seasons in Boston Bruins History

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    As Torey Krug chases the Calder Memorial Trophy, he ought to look into the Boston Bruins' history books for role models. Eight Bruins have earned rookie of the year honors, and a number of others have enjoyed legendary debut seasons in Beantown. 

    Here is a look at the top 10 rookie campaigns in Bruins history.

Honorable Mention: Derek Sanderson

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    Rookie Year: 1967-68

    A 21-year-old Derek Sanderson picked up the Calder Trophy for his 49-point rookie season back in the late 1960s. 

    Sanderson succeeded Bobby Orr as the Calder recipient, and both young stars helped lead the Bruins to a pair of Stanley Cup championships in the early 1970s. 

    In addition to his point production, Sanderson's trademark grit had major impact for the Black and Gold. 

    The colorful center starred for the Bruins until 1974. He also suited up for the New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins in his 13-year career. 



10. Sergei Samsonov

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    Rookie Year: 1997-98

    First overall pick Joe Thornton was meant to be Boston's rookie sensation in 1997-98, but Sergei Samsonov had different plans. 

    Taken seven picks after Thornton, the Russian winger put up 40 more points than his highly touted teammate.

    With 22 goals, Samsonov beat out New Jersey's Patrik Elias and Vancouver's Mattias Ohlund for the Calder Trophy. 

    Though he reached the 70-point plateau twice as a Bruin, he never scored more than 30 goals in a season.

    Samsonov played second fiddle to Thornton for the majority of his eight seasons in Boston. He retired in 2011 after splitting his final six years among Edmonton, Montreal, Chicago, Carolina and Florida



9. Brad Marchand

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    Rookie Year: 2010-11

    Much like Samsonov, Brad Marchand was supposed to be overshadowed by an elite prospect. In his case, that prospect was second overall pick Tyler Seguin. Marchand stole Seguin's thunder with a surprising 21-goal campaign. 

    While Carolina's Jeff Skinner picked up the Calder Trophy, Marchand snagged a bigger prize: the Stanley Cup. The youngster scored two goals against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, leading the Bruins to their first title since 1972—16 years before he was born.

    Since his memorable rookie campaign, the winger has emerged as one of the NHL's premier agitators. He has also been Boston's most consistent goal scorer. His 46 goals in the last two seasons are the most on the team. 



8. Brad Boyes

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    Rookie Year: 2005-06

    In most years, Brad Boyes' 69 points would have easily made him rookie of the year. However, 2005-06 featured one of the best rookie classes in NHL history. 

    Boyes was joined on the NHL's All-Rookie Team by Henrik Lundqvist, Dion Phaneuf, Sidney Crosby and Calder winner Alex Ovechkin. 

    Though he finished more than 30 points behind Crosby and Ovechkin, it's worth pointing out that Boyes' rookie total hasn't been matched since Nicklas Backstrom and Patrick Kane did it in 2007-08. 

    Boyes left Boston after just two seasons. He enjoyed a handful of strong years in St. Louis before dropping off as a member of the Buffalo Sabres. A contract-year renaissance with the New York Islanders in 2013 put him back on track, and he now skates for the Florida Panthers. 



7. Bobby Orr

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    Rookie Year: 1966-67

    Bobby Orr's league-altering career began with a bang in 1966. The incomparably dynamic defenseman announced his arrival with a 41-point campaign. 

    With his signature end-to-end rushes, Orr cruised to the Calder Trophy. 

    In the years that followed, he established himself as one of the all-time greats.

    No. 4 picked up eight Norris Trophies, two Art Ross Trophies, three Hart Trophies and two Stanley Cups while in Boston. 



6. Tuukka Rask

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    Rookie Year: 2009-10

    Tuukka Rask entered his rookie year as Vezina-holder Tim Thomas' backup, but the veteran's early struggles opened the door for a big season from the Finn. 

    Rask stole the starting job and led the league in both save-percentage (.931) and goals-against average (1.97). 

    The 22-year-old would have been a favorite for both the Calder and the Vezina had he started more games, but his limited workload kept him from postseason honors. 

    Thomas reclaimed his starting job the following season, en route to the Stanley Cup and his second Vezina Trophy. However, Rask's time came again upon Thomas' departure in 2013.

    In his first season as the undisputed starter, Rask carried his team to the brink of a title, earning a lucrative contract extension that ought to keep him in the Boston crease for years to come.  



5. Andrew Raycroft

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    Rookie Year: 2003-04

    Andrew Raycroft is the NHL's prototypical one-hit wonder, but his 15 minutes of fame were nonetheless spectacular. 

    On his way to 29 victories, Raycroft posted the third-best save percentage (.926) among goalies who started a majority of their team's games. As a result, he became the eighth Bruin to win the Calder Trophy. 

    Unfortunately, the netminder's early success was not followed by a sparkling career. Following the season-long 2004-05 lockout, he played just 30 more games for the Bruins. Winning only eight of those games, he fell behind Tim Thomas and Hannu Toivonen on the depth chart. 

    In 2006, He was traded to the Maple Leafs for current Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask, and he struggled through six more NHL seasons split among Toronto, Colorado, Vancouver and Dallas



4. Joe Juneau

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    Steve Babineau/Getty Images

    Rookie Year: 1992-93

    Like Brad Boyes, Joe Juneau would have been a shoo-in for rookie of the year honors in a normal year.

    Despite the fact that Juneau's 102 points set the Bruins' rookie record, Teemu Selanne ran away with the Calder by scoring 76 goals and 132 points for the Winnipeg Jets

    Playing with assist-master Adam Oates and power-forward extraordinaire Cam Neely, Juneau peaked as a 25-year-old rookie. 

    His production dropped to 85 points in his sophomore campaign, and that was the closest he ever came to matching his rookie brilliance. He was dealt to Washington midway through that season for Al Iafrate. 

    The journeyman center divided his final 10 seasons among Washington, Buffalo, Ottawa, Phoenix and Montreal.



3. Ray Bourque

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    Rookie Year: 1979-80

    Three years after losing Bobby Orr, the Bruins found their next Hall of Fame defenseman in Ray Bourque. 

    The 19-year-old began his illustrious career with a 65-point campaign. He ranked third in the NHL with a plus-52 rating and earned a spot on the league's first All-Star team. 

    Bourque built upon his strong start with more than two decades of elite play.

    He went on to become Boston's longest-tenured captain, meanwhile winning five Norris Trophies and scoring more points than any defenseman in NHL history. 



2. Tiny Thompson

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    Rookie Year: 1928-29

    Tiny Thompson carried the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup championship with a truly remarkable rookie campaign back in 1928-29. 

    In his first NHL season, Thompson led the league in wins (26) and finished second in goals-against average (1.15). He also shut out the competition in more than one-fourth of his appearances. 

    Despite all of his regular-season success, Thompson really shined in the playoffs. He went 5-0 in the playoffs with three shutouts, and he allowed just one goal in a two-game finals victory over the New York Rangers. 

    He went on to win four Vezina Trophies during 11 seasons with the Bruins. 



1. Frank Brimsek

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    Rookie Year: 1938-39

    Ten years after Boston won its first Cup, Frank Brimsek did his best impression of Tiny Thompson to backstop the team to its second title. 

    On the way, Brimsek produced a truly dominant rookie season. He led the NHL in wins (33), goals-against average (1.56) and shutouts (10). 

    He went 8-4 in the postseason, leading the Bruins past the Toronto Maple Leafs in five games to hoist the Cup. 

    The aptly nicknamed "Mr. Zero" was awarded not only the Calder Trophy but also the Vezina for his rookie efforts. He went on to win another Vezina and a second Stanley Cup in the early 1940s before World War II interrupted his 10-season career. 

    His spectacular 1938-39 campaign continues to stand as one of the greatest rookie seasons in NHL history.