Where my ballot differed from Bruins’ Historic 100 list


As part of the celebrations for their centennial season, the Bruins on Tuesday released their “Historic 100,” a list of the 100 most legendary players in franchise history as voted on by an independent selection committee appointed by the club. You can view the full list by clicking here.

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I was honored to be one of the members of that committee, which was made up of journalists and media members, historians and members of the hockey community. We were tasked with ranking the “100 most legendary Bruins of all time” from 1-100, and were left to define “legendary” however each of us saw fit. The final “Historic 100” was selected by compiling our individual lists, with players weighted by where they were ranked.

As you can tell, the list released Tuesday is not ranked. There is a more selective list still to come, though, as we were also charged with selecting the Bruins All-Centennial Team, which will comprise 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies. That team will be revealed to the public on Oct. 12.

We can’t discuss our All-Centennial selections yet, but we can share and discuss our Historic 100 lists, which I’ll do here. It’s worth noting that this list is only about what these players did during their playing careers. Coaching, general managing and any other organizational roles were not considered.

As it turns out, 93 of the players on the final Historic 100 list were on my own list. Below is a look at the seven differences I had, and at the bottom is my list of 100 in order.

The 7 players I didn’t have in my 100:

Ace Bailey
A good depth forward on the 1970 and 1972 Cup teams whose life ended tragically on Sept. 11, 2001. Bailey did score the game-winning goal in Game 1 of 1972 Stanley Cup Final, but other than that I don’t see quite enough in his career to land him in the top 100.

Marty Barry
A Hall of Famer who spent six years in Boston from 1929-35 and led the team in goals three straight years from 1931-34. But those were some of the weakest years for the early Bruins, and Barry’s two Stanley Cups and arguably his best years came with Detroit, not Boston. He was very close for me, though, so no real issue here.

Ted Donato
A personal favorite of mine as a 90s kid, but someone who ultimately missed the cut for me. His inclusion makes me wonder how close Jozef Stumpel and Steve Heinze were to making the 100.

Phil Kessel
Broke out with 36 goals and a strong postseason in 2008-09, but ultimately spent just three years in Boston and didn’t do enough in that time to make my 100.

Leo Labine
A good forward who spent 10 seasons in Boston during the forgotten years between World War II and Bobby Orr, but not one of the Bruins’ real top players of that era in my opinion.

Jerry Toppazzini
Similar to Labine, but higher on the franchise scoring list. In fact, at 34th in Bruins history in points (369), he’s the highest player on that list who didn’t make my 100. I don’t have any problem with Toppazzini being here, though. He was very close for me.

John Wensink
I strongly considered Wensink. One of the real tough guys of the “Lunch Pail AC” era in the late 70s, and he had some offensive pop, too, with 28 goals in 1978-79. He was only a Bruin for three-plus seasons, though, and ultimately came up a little short for me. That said, I’ll absolutely listen to the argument that this moment alone was legendary enough to land him in the 100:

The 7 players I had in my 100 instead:

Sprague Cleghorn
The Bruins’ first captain, a Hart Trophy runner-up during their second season in 1925-26, one of the meanest defensemen of his day, and a mentor to Eddie Shore and Lionel Hitchman, who both have their numbers hanging from the Garden rafters. Cleghorn retired the year before Boston won its first Cup in 1929, but his fingerprints were all over that team. He was my last player in, landing right at 100.

Dutch Gainor
Left wing on the famed “Dynamite Line” with Cooney Weiland and Dit Clapper that helped lead the Bruins to their first Cup in 1929. I had Gainor 69th, making him the highest player on my list to not make the final 100. Being one of the best players on a Cup-winning team carried a lot of weight for me, and Gainor certainly qualifies there. He was also one of the top scorers on the 1929-30 team that still holds the NHL record for best regular-season winning percentage.

Mel Hill
Hill’s regular-season stats in his four seasons in Boston won’t blow you away, but he won two Cups in 1939 and 1941 and was the hero of the 1939 run. In a seven-game semifinal series against the Rangers, Hill scored three overtime winners, including in the decisive Game 7. His heroics earned him the nickname “Sudden Death” and he remains the only player in NHL history to score three overtime goals in one playoff series. I had Hill at 83.

Joe Juneau
Only 11 players in Bruins history have topped 100 points in a season and Juneau is one of them, putting up 102 in 1992-93. His 70 assists that season were the most in NHL history by a left wing, a record that stood until Jonathan Huberdeau broke it in 2021-22. Juneau ranks fourth in Bruins history in points per game and had 18 points in 19 playoff games as a Bruin. The argument against him is that he only spent three years in Boston, and really only the one full season. Personally, I’ll take that peak in a short period of time as more “legendary” than someone who spent 10 years in Boston but was never great. I get why others might disagree, though. I had Juneau at 96.

Michael Ryder
I’m not sure the Bruins win the Cup in 2011 without Ryder, and as you can tell from my Gainor and Hill blurbs, that means a lot to me. Ryder tied for third on the team in goals and fourth in points that postseason. More importantly, he scored the overtime winner in Game 4 of the first round in Montreal, then made the legendary glove save below in Game 5, a low-scoring game Boston would also win in overtime. Without one or both of those, the Bruins may have been going home three rounds too early. Ryder also had 13 points in 11 games in the 2009 playoffs, tying for the team lead. I had Ryder at 87.

Tyler Seguin
You can also make the case that the Bruins don’t win in 2011 without Seguin. Game 2 of the conference finals, Patrice Bergeron is out with a concussion, Bruins are down 1-0 in the series and down 2-1 in the game after the first period. That’s when the then-19-year-old Seguin takes over and electrifies the Garden, putting up four points in the second period alone, including a pair of goals, to lead Boston to a 6-5 win to even the series against Tampa Bay (and as you'll see in the highlights below, Ryder was pretty big in this game as well). Obviously the rest of Seguin’s Bruins tenure didn’t reach those highs (although 67 points in 2011-12 was nothing to sneeze at) and he wound up getting traded two years later, but that kind of peak is legendary enough to land him in my 100. I had Seguin at 97, and quite frankly, I don’t really see an argument for Kessel being in the final 100 over him.

Linus Ullmark
This is similar to the argument for Juneau, whom I had Ullmark just ahead of at 95. Ullmark had one of the very best seasons any Bruins goalie has ever had in 2022-23, tying the franchise record for wins (40) and save percentage (.938) while winning the Vezina Trophy and becoming just the second goalie in the last 30 years to win the triple crown, leading the NHL in wins, save percentage and goals-against average. Following an already established trend here, I considered peaks like this – even for one season – more “legendary” than 6-10 solid but unspectacular seasons. Other voters didn’t, and that’s totally fine. We were left to define “legendary” however we saw fit, so I have no issue with anyone placing different values on certain criteria than I did.

Lastly, for the sake of full transparency, here was my ranking of the 100 most legendary Bruins players in order from 1-100:

1. Bobby Orr
2. Ray Bourque
3. Phil Esposito
4. Eddie Shore
5. Patrice Bergeron
6. Johnny Bucyk
7. Cam Neely
8. Milt Schmidt
9. Zdeno Chara
10. Dit Clapper
11. Brad Marchand
12. Rick Middleton
13. Bill Cowley
14. David Krejci
15. Frank Brimsek
16. Tim Thomas
17. Tiny Thompson
18. Lionel Hitchman
19. Wayne Cashman
20. David Pastrnak
21. Terry O’Reilly
22. Tuukka Rask
23. Gerry Cheevers
24. Brad Park
25. Woody Dumart
26. Ken Hodge
27. Dallas Smith
28. Adam Oates
29. Jean Ratelle
30. Bobby Bauer
31. Cooney Weiland
32. Fernie Flaman
33. Don Sweeney
34. Peter McNab
35. Barry Pederson
36. Willie O’Ree
37. Joe Thornton
38. Charlie McAvoy
39. Don Marcotte
40. Keith Crowder
41. John McKenzie
42. Fred Stanfield
43. Milan Lucic
44. Derek Sanderson
45. Roy Conacher
46. Ted Green
47. Mike Milbury
48. Flash Hollett
49. Leo Boivin
50. Jack Crawford
51. Ed Westfall
52. Eddie Johnston
53. Rick Smith
54. Don Awrey
55. Harry Oliver
56. Marc Savard
57. Nathan Horton
58. Dennis Seidenberg
59. Torey Krug
60. Sergei Samsonov
61. Glen Murray
62. Craig Janney
63. Don McKenney
64. Gregg Sheppard
65. Ken Linseman
66. Steve Kasper
67. Jason Allison
68. Herb Cain
69. Dutch Gainor
70. Fleming Mackell
71. Bronco Horvath
72. Andrew Ference
73. Johnny Boychuk
74. Carol Vadnais
75. Andy Moog
76. Pete Peeters
77. Byron Dafoe
78. Gilles Gilbert
79. Johnny Peirson
80. Bill Quackenbush
81. Doug Mohns
82. Vic Stasiuk
83. Mel Hill
84. Stan Jonathan
85. Shawn Thornton
86. Mark Recchi
87. Michael Ryder
88. Bobby Schmautz
89. Glen Wesley
90. Mike O’Connell
91. PJ Axelsson
92. Gord Kluzak
93. Gary Doak
94. Reggie Lemelin
95. Linus Ullmark
96. Joe Juneau
97. Tyler Seguin
98. Ed Sandford
99. Charlie Simmer
100. Sprague Cleghorn

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images