By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn
The Bruins have impacted the National Hockey League over the past 15 years by being a well-rounded team. While they have had some big names, typically, they have not had guys who lead the league in points. Recently, David Pastrnak has provided a spark offensively, but before his arrival, the Bruins relied on a balanced scoring attack in front of an elite defense. That has led to players on the Bruins being underrated or undervalued by fans outside our fanbase.
There’s an extremely long list of players that could make this article, so I’m going to pick some of my favorites from recent years. I’ve always liked the guys who flew under the radar because they were typically guys who got the little things right but didn’t always make the highlight reels. I’m sure if the Bruins are successful this season, it will be in no small part, thanks to some underrated players once again.
I’ll be completely honest; Michael Ryder is my inspiration for this entire article. The other day I randomly thought of Michael Ryder, and while he wasn’t exactly disrespected while he was on the team, I don’t think we appreciated how good he was for the role he was playing.
If the Bruins had a guy like Michael Ryder on the team right now, he would be a huge addition. Despite playing almost entirely on the third line, Ryder nearly scored 20 goals in each of his three seasons with the Bruins, including one season in which he broke through that barrier and scored 27.
Known for his curl-and-drag snapshot, Ryder was always a threat to find a goal out of nothing. He contributed defensively as well, though, and his most notable highlight as a member of the Bruins came between the pipes when he made a sweet glove save against the Canadiens in the 2011 playoffs.
Now, at first glance, you might think, “how has Johnny Boychuk made this list? He wasn’t underrated.” I can understand that, but to me, he certainly deserves to be here. Not only was Boychuk very reliable throughout his tenure with the Bruins, but he seemed to have a knack for making big plays in close games. I’ll never be able to think of Boychuk without hearing Jack Edwards’s “JOHNNY ROCKET” goal call in my head.
He played six seasons with the Bruins before finishing his career with the New York Islanders. He never scored a lot, but he was the type of defenseman you want to see on a Bruins roster. He was tough, willing to scrap with anyone on the ice, and could chip in with a monster slapshot in big moments.
The final player on our list for this article is a man who I think could have played a line above where he spent most of his time. Daniel Paille was a great fourth liner for the Bruins in the early 2010s, especially in the 2011 championship season. His dynamic speed and ability to finish, though, make him someone who I would not have minded seeing on the third line. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t scoring a ton of goals down on the fourth line, but after earning chances with his speed, he often was able to make the most of them on breakaways.
Paille came so close to scoring 100 points with the Bruins, totaling 95 in six seasons here in Boston. He was someone I always loved watching because of his ability to change a game in a matter of seconds, which is something most fourth-line players couldn’t do. He also came up with some electric goals for the Bruins, sending the crowd into a frenzy on more than one occasion.
I know, as far as Bruins fans are concerned, these guys probably all received plenty of praise during their time, but I think it is easy to forget how solid they each were. I didn’t set out to pick three guys from the 2011 team, but I think with the season coming up shortly, it’s nice to remind ourselves of how valuable depth players can be.