By: Gayle Troiani | Follow me on Twitter @LadyBruinsFan
The Bruins have been fortunate with the talent on the blue line throughout the years.
There is no denying that Bobby Orr is not only the best defenseman in Bruins history but in the history of the National Hockey League as well. You can even argue that Orr remains the greatest of all time, given how he changed the way defensemen played the game.
Orr, known for his two-way play, could beat you to a loose puck with his speed and then turn up ice and score at the other end. His offensive skills influenced more defensemen in their style of play.
He remains the only defenseman to have won the Art Ross Trophy twice for leading the league in scoring. Orr has won a record eight straight Norris Trophies as the NHL’s best defenseman and holds the record for the most points and assists in a single season by a defenseman.
Orr also won two Stanley Cups with Boston in 1970 and 1972, recording the cinching goals in both series. The goal against St. Louis from Derek Sanderson in 1970 remains one of the most iconic moments in Boston Bruins history.
Orr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 and had his No. 4 raised to the rafters in Boston the same year.
Many defensemen put on the black and gold jersey, including Stanley Cup-winning Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference, and Johnny Boychuck.
Others made it to the final but couldn’t capture the ultimate goal, like Torey Krug, Don Sweeney, and Brad Park.
Some defensemen made an impact without being successful in the playoffs, like Dougie Hamilton, Nick Boynton, and Kyle McLaren. There were fan favorites that were solid defensemen but never considered elite.
Having it be established who Number One is, which Bruins defensemen round out the remaining top five?
2. Raymond Bourque
Bourque was a staple on the blue line for the Bruins for 21 seasons and still holds the record for assists (1111), points (1506), and power-play goals (164).
Bourque has won the Norris Trophy five times and holds the NHL records for goals, assists, and points by a defenseman with 410, 1169, and 1579 respectively.
Another iconic moment in Bruins history involves Bourque.
In 1987, the Bruins retired Phil Esposito’s No.7 to the rafters. Bourque had been wearing the number since the 1979-80 season. Just as Esposito was to going to begin his speech to the crowd, Bourque skated over to Esposito and removed his jersey bearing No.7; underneath, Bourque was wearing his new number 77.
Bourque never won a Stanley Cup with Boston despite making it to the Final in 1988 and 1990. Bourque did have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup after defeating the defending champion New Jersey Devils in 2001 with Colorado after being traded to the Avalanche in 2000.
Joe Sakic is only the second captain in NHL history not to hoist the cup first when he handed it immediately to Bourque.
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, Bourque is one of nine players in NHL history to have his number retired by more than one club, Boston and Colorado.
3. Eddie Shore
Most fans today never got to see Shore play for the Bruins, but the defenseman won two Stanley Cups with the black and gold in 1929 and 1939 and won the Hart Trophy four times which is the most by any defenseman in the NHL.
He was known for his grit on the blue line, which earned him 165 penalty minutes in his second season with Boston.
The Bruins retired his jersey number in 1947, the same year he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
4. Zdeno Chara
The 6-foot-9 Chara signed with Boston in 2006 and remained with the club for 14 seasons playing in 1023 games and serving as captain his entire tenure.
Chara’s intimidating size could shut the opposing teams down at the blue line simply with the reach of his stick.
Chara holds the record for the hardest shot at 108.8 mph. He won the event at the All-Star Game Skills Competition five times in a row (2007 to 2012).
He won the Norris Trophy in 2009 and had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup when he helped lead the Bruins to their first championship in 39 years in 2011.
It should only be a matter of time before Chara’s No. 33 is raised to the rafters at the Garden.
5. Brad Park
Park was traded to the Bruins from the New York Rangers in 1975 along with Jean Ratelle and Joe Zanussi for Esposito and Carol Vadnais.
Playing eight seasons for Boston, Park scored 95 goals and 283 assists in 465 games.
Although the Bruins did not win a Stanley Cup during Park’s time with the club, they did appear in back-to-back Finals against the Montreal Canadiens. Park played for the Rangers when the Bruins won the 1972 Stanley Cup.
Park’s career in Boston book-ended the Orr and Bourque eras with the club. Park was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.
How would you rank your top 5?