It’s the dawn of a new decade, and everyone is writing their “team of the decade” and such. We still aren’t over how this one ended, nor will we ever be, but we can at least struggle to enjoy a new decade and watch the Bs try and get back to where they were last year. It’s also the first season of the 2020 decade, meaning we are two decades into the 2000s. In honor, let’s take a look at the Bruins team of the century. I got this idea from the Red Sox SB Nation site Over the Monster, so credit to them.
But we have rules. You can’t just pick all the best players and put them at every position. There have been 19 NHL seasons this century (there was no 2005 season as you may have heard), conveniently, the same number of players who play in an NHL lineup in a game, not including the back-up goalie for the sake of the exercise (sorry Alex Auld and Niklas Svedberg). We pick one Bruins player’s specific season, one from each year 2000-2019, and you can’t duplicate the year or player. For example, If I pick Brad Marchand’s 2019 season as a left winger, I can’t reuse anybody from 2019 or another Marchand season.
Let’s see how things shaped out:
2019 Marchand – 2003 Thornton – 2018 Pastrnak
36 goals, 100 points, and Brad being Brad. This was a no brainer. What a season he had. We could have taken either of his linemates, or maybe Torey Krug from 2019, but neither compare to the season Marchand had last year. Marchand’s 100 points were the second most by a Bruin in a season this century, second to Joe Thornton’s 2003 season, when he put up 36 goals and 101 points, so he is the #1 center almost by default. Glen Murray scored 44 goals and 92 points in ‘03, but it would be a travesty to leave the future hall of famer’s true breakout season off the team. David Pastrnak was going to find a way on here one way or another, it was just a matter of finding what season fit best. His 2019 was better, but 35 goals and 80 points in 2018 is pretty good too, second on the team. When we do this again in 5 or 10 years, I have a feeling we’ll be using a season more recent than 2018.
2001 Samsonov – 2007 Savard – 2002 Guiren
75 points was a career high for the only Russian ever to have success in a Bruins uniform, and 2nd on the team in 2001 only Jason Allison’s 95 points, but it would have been tough to bump one of Bergeron, Savard, or David Krejci from the team and replace them with a better left winger. 2007 was Savard’s first in a Bruins uniform, finishing with 74 assists and 96 points, 49 of those points being on the powerplay. Though the Bruins were terrible, the first season of Savard, Zdeno Chara, and Tim Thomas, setting the stage for the Bruins modern dominance. Savard was really the only option from the ‘07 team, with Patrice Bergeron’s 70 points being second on the team, then a big drop off to Murray’s 45 points at third. With Samsonov and Thornton already used, Bill Guerin’s 41 goals in ‘02 is a perfect second line sniper next to Savard and Samsonov. Murray again would have been an option, but I’ll take Guerin’s 41 goals over Murray’s 35.
2008 Sturm – 2014 Bergeron – 2006 Boyes
There’s been a lack of star power on the left side since the turn of the century, and we see that here in the bottom 6, but Marco Sturm’s 27 goals and 56 points came second on the Bruins’ surprise 2008 playoff team. Savard was first, and Chara and Chuck Kobasew followed Sturm, a rather unspectacular offensive group. Bergeron was obviously going to find his way onto this team, but again it was just about finding which year fit best. 2014 was Bergeron’s 7th highest point total for his career at 62, but he scored 30 goals, won the Selke trophy, finished 5th in Hart voting, and lead the Bruins to the president’s trophy. Not too shabby. Brad Boyes looked like a breakout star, putting up 69 points in 82 games and finished top 5 for the Calder. The 2006 team was not good, with only Bergeron out scoring Boyes and Murray again as a close second.
2016 Eriksson – 2013 Krejci – 2004 Murray
Eriksson spent a lot of time on the right side as a Bruin, but he found his way to Krejci’s left side in 2016 and had his best season as a Bruin, scoring 30 goals, 10 on the powerplay, and second on the team in points with 63. He was the best option for 2016 by far, or would you have liked to see Matt Beleskey make this team? Krejci’s playoff dominance is what made 2013 the best option for him, with 26 points in 22 games, leading all players in the 2013 playoffs. Finally, Glen Murray gets his spot on the squad after being a close second for much of the early 2000s. His 32 goals and 60 points was a drop off 44 goals and 92 points in 2003, but still good enough for the second best scoring output on the team behind Thornton. Brian Rolston or Mike Knuble were the only other ones to be considered here, or maybe PJ Axelsson would have been a nice 4th line winger, but Murray deserves a spot.
2012 Chara – 2015 Hamilton
Again, this wasn’t about choosing Chara’s best season, it was about choosing which season of his Hall of Fame career fit the puzzle, but 2012 may have been his best season anyway. Not that Chara is known for his points, but he set a career high with 52, finished third in Norris voting, 12th in Hart voting, and was a second team all star. Yep, we’ll take that as our top pairing defenseman. Tyler Seguin’s 67 point breakout was tough to ignore, but a season of Chara’s prime could not be left off the team. 2015 was a rough season, but we’ll keep the real-life pairing of Chara and Hamilton together in Hamilton’s breakout campaign. Ah, the future that could have been. There wasn’t much else from the 2015 team, unless we wanted to take Simon Gagne’s 23 games as a Bruin to assure he didn’t come back to bite us in the playoffs.
2000 Bourque – 2010 Boychuk
We’re cheating a bit here considering Ray Bourque only played 27 games for the Bruins this century, but we gotta take every chance possible to get one of the greatest defensemen of all time on the team. Besides, our next best option was Anson Carter’s 47 points in 59 games, or if we’re sticking with defensemen, Darren Van Impe or Don Sweeney. Yeah, we’ll stick with Bourque. 2010 was a rough year on offense for the Bruins, so we’ll take Johnny Boychuk’s break-in season to the NHL. There wasn’t anything particularly special about Boychuk’s 2010 season, but it was the blooming of a fan favorite, he had solid possession numbers, and even got a calder vote. It’s Ray Bourque, I’m pretty sure he could carry anyone anyway.
2009 Wideman – 2017 Carlo
Dennis Wideman was a polarizing and frustrating figure for the Bruins, but his 2009 season saw him put up 50 points, 25 of them being on the powerplay. We’ll take that as a power play QB on our all century team. He even got a handful of votes for the Norris that season and averaged almost 25 minutes of ice time per game. Phil Kessel’s 36 goals or Michael Ryder’s 27 were considered for 2009, but the Bruins right side is pretty solid already this century, ironic considering they still haven’t replaced Nathan Horton on the right side in the 6 years since his departure. Brandon Carlo’s 19 year old rookie season in 2017 was a standout. Averaging 20 minutes per game as a teenager while more than holding own defensively and even putting up a career high 6 goals. Keeping the future as bright as our century team ages. The other options for 2017 were taking less than career seasons from one of the team’s top forwards, or Torey Krug’s offensive specialties, but Wideman already took care of that need.
Before even putting any thought or effort into this, you already knew Tim Thomas’ 2011 season was going to be our goaltender. It was the greatest season by a goalie of all time. His 2.00 GAA is the lowest of all time. His .938 sv% is highest all time of goalies to play in more than 40 games. He put up an astounding .940 sv% enroute to the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup Championship. Simply put, it was the greatest season by a goaltender of all time, just ridiculous numbers across the board. Zdeno Chara beasted, Milan Lucic scored 30, but no other Bruin made close to the impact that Tim Thomas had on the 2011 Stanley Cup.
So what should we change? Should Iginla or Lucic make the team? Krug? Allison? Maybe a bottom 6 roll player who did his job well like Axelsson or Daniel Paille? There’s infinite combinations. Here to a new decade and continued century of success.
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