By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn
I’m back again for part three of this series, where I explore who could possibly have their uniform number raised to the rafters in the future. Will this be the final article in the series? I’m not sure, but in this article, I will cover the last of what I consider to be the “sure-fire” candidates for number retirement. We already have talked about Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara, so I’m sure you can guess who that final player is. Without further ado, let’s discuss one of the NHL’s most controversial players.
#63 Brad Marchand
The man, at this point, needs no introduction. Fans across the league and probably across the world know his name and antics. Aside from his mischief on the ice, though, Brad Marchand has also been consistently one of the Bruins’ best players since he broke onto the scene in 2010. He has scored 20 or more goals in every season apart from the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season, and even then, he still scored 18.
Among his accolades are four selections to the end-of-season NHL All-Star teams, two as a First Team member and two as a Second Team member. He has already scored the most overtime goals and shorthanded goals in team history and also has led the team in scoring six times. He is a Stanley Cup Champion, a World Cup Winner, and a two-time IIHF World Champion with Canada.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Marchand is the third player I consider an absolute lock to get his number retired. He’s been Bergeron’s right-hand man almost as long as he’s been an NHL player and the overall best player on some of the Bruins’ best-ever teams. He will likely be the next captain when Bergeron hangs up his skates. This has been arguably the Bruins’ second-best era behind the Bobby Orr years, and a guy who was consistently one of the best players on those teams certainly deserves to have his number retired.
#73 Charlie McAvoy
This is obviously a discussion entirely based upon speculation. Similar to my discussion about David Pastrnak, I think that if things go his way, “Chubby Charlie” could find his way to the rafters someday. Right out of Boston University, McAvoy was put on the top pairing with Big Z and has never slipped below the top two since. Many people think he will be, if he isn’t already, considered in the Norris Trophy discussions year in and year out. I’m still not entirely convinced that he’ll quite get to that level, but there is still plenty of time.
A factor that McAvoy has going against him is that if and when this discussion actually comes around, he’ll be going up against some of the best players in NHL history. His name will be compared with the likes of Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, and Zdeno Chara. If I had to place a bet right now on whether McAvoy will have his number retired at the end of his career, I’d, unfortunately, have to guess that it won’t happen. I think he’ll have a very good career, and maybe he’ll even win a Stanley Cup, but I think he’ll fall just short of having his number retired.
#17 Milan Lucic
Now I’ll admit this one may be reaching a bit. While Looch had some great years in the black and gold, he certainly is a long way away from greats like Cam Neely and Phil Esposito. However, during the peak of the Bruins run in the early 2010s, Lucic was consistently one of the Bruins’ best players. He even was the team’s leading scorer in the 2010-2011 season.
Nobody embodied what those teams wanted to be better than Milan Lucic. He was a really good player for the Bruins and continues to love the team even after being traded out west. I could certainly see him coming back in an administrative role if that’s something he wants, which would further endear himself to Bruins fans. He’ll always be a fan favorite in Boston. I have no doubt about that. I just don’t think he quite put up the numbers to have his number retired.
Well, there you have it. Marchand is an easy yes, McAvoy someday could see his number in the rafters, but in my opinion, he’ll come up just short, and Lucic, while a fan favorite, just didn’t quite do enough. Of course, this is all entirely speculatory, especially in McAvoy’s case, but I think it’s fun to speculate sometimes. Let me know if there’s anybody you’d like me to evaluate that I haven’t already! Feel free to comment on this article or reach out on Twitter; my handle is at the top of this article.