This year the Bruins looked to be having their best 82-game season in Boston’s history before the season was halted. In our final addition to this series (as we’ve excluded the Celtics due to them pretty much retiring everybody’s numbers), we take a look at some past and present players that could get their numbers retired.
The Goalie Wait is Over
The Bruins have had some truly great goalies in their history, yet none have their jersey numbers retired. But there seem to be three great options if or when the organization finally lets a goalie in. Let’s start with the least likely option, Frank Brimsek. Now he was certainly a great player, winning two Vezina Trophies (league’s best goalie), getting eight All Star selections, and two Stanley Cups in only nine years with the B’s.
Brimsek even was in the Hart Trophy (the NHL’s equivalent of the MVP award) conversation three times! The biggest issue with a number retirement, which we will see with the next player as well, is that they played during a time where there weren’t any jersey numbers. This means that they would have to just retire their initials or something like that, which would certainly be worth it for Brimsek.
Tiny Thompson is another goalie that deserves this honor. He has the most Vezina Trophies won by a Bruins player with four, which is also tied for 5th most in NHL history. Thompson also has four All Star selections, and won the Stanley Cup in his rookie season. He is second in Bruins history in wins (behind the final goalie we will talk about), and first in goals against average. Saves were not a statistic back then, so he is not on the leaderboards in that regard. Tiny left a huge impact over his 11 years in Boston, and him not having a number should stop them from retiring him.
Finally, a player who actually has a number. Tuukka Rask has certainly seen plenty of ups and downs in his 13 years in the black and gold. Number 40 has won one Vezina Trophy, while being in the top 10 three other times. He’s only been an All Star once, but as we know by now NHL All Star selections doesn’t really mean much. Rask holds most Bruins career records, from save percentage to wins to goalie point shares, while being in the top five in many others. This season might have been his best, meaning we should see even more of his greatness before he begins to regress.
After Borque and Orr, usually the next Bruins defenseman mentioned is Zdeno Chara. And with good reason too, as he is sixth in franchise history in games played, fifth in expected plus minus, second in defensive points shares (behind Borque and AHEAD of Orr), and fifth in total point shares.
With the Bruins Chara has been selected to five All Star games (while also getting close in three other occasions), won one Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman (was in the top 20 for voting nine other times), won one Messier Trophy as best leader and was in the Hart conversation five times.
That is an impressive list in of itself, but also add that to the fact that he won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and has still been important to the team’s last few Cup runs even as he slips further into his forties. The 14-year Bruins vet inarguably deserves his number 33 retired one day when he eventually retires.
Another very likely pick is Patrice Bergeron, the second best center in Bruins history. What makes him so compelling is his two way ability. He is tied first all time in Selke wins as the best defensive forward. But unlike Bob Gainey, the person he is tied with, Bergeron is also extremely deadly on offense. Gainey had only three 40+ point seasons, while Bergeron has 12 in the same number of seasons.
Bergy has seemingly always also been in the conversation for the Lady Byng and Hart trophies, as he is in both conversations more often than not. Despite being one of the most complete players in the entire game he has only made two All Star appearances. But his impact on Bruins history is obvious, and he should get his number 37 retired when it’s all said and done.
The final player on this list also seems to be the least likely candidate at this point for getting their number retired. Brad Marchand is a fan favorite to many in Boston, and is also considered the devil to every other team’s fanbase. He’s been one of the best offensive threats in the league, first as primarily a goalscorer and more recently as a deadly distributor.
Marchand’s biggest accolades have been the 2011 Stanley Cup victory, and two All Star appearances. But he has also annually been in Hart and Selke discussions, though has yet to get close to winning either. Brad has accomplished a lot in his 11 year career, but the best still might be yet to come.