Who are the best right wings in Bruins history? Ranking the Top 10
Arguably the best of the bunch when considering the Bruins forward group, when you look at the best right wings in franchise history, you'll find Hall of Famers, game-breakers and some of the players that gave the Big, Bad Bruins their reputation in the first place.
It starts with the ultimate Bruins power forward in Cam Neely, includes a couple of old time hockey greats and also the future of the Black and Gold in 23 year-old David Pastrnak.
There are a lot of good right wings who spent short stints in Boston like Nathan Horton and Mark Recchi, and some old-time favorites like Johnny Peirson, but this Top 10 list of all-time Bruins right wingers is chock full of great players.
10. Johnny McKenzie
Johnny “Pie” McKenzie didn’t spend his whole career in Boston, but his best seasons were with the Bruins while he was winning a pair of Stanley Cups and earning the only All-Star honors of his career. McKenzie finished with 169 goals and 396 points in 454 games for the B’s over the course of his seven years in Boston.
McKenzie had 31 goals and 77 points in 65 games during his best individual season in 1970-71 and stepped up for 10 goals and 34 points in 29 playoff games during the two Stanley Cup-winning years with the Bruins. Pie ended up leaving the Bruins for the WHA at the end his pro hockey career, but he made his mark during a special time with the Black and Gold and ended up settling in Boston after his hockey-playing career was over.
9. Glen Murray
The big power forward with the cannon shot, Murray had two stints with the Bruins where he posted 209 goals and 389 points in 570 games in 10 years with the Black and Gold. In his younger days, Murray was an up-and-coming first-round pick who hadn’t established himself before he was dealt to the L.A. Kings for Kevin Stevens and Shawn McEachern.
It certainly wasn’t one of Boston’s best trades over the years and it was addressed in 2001 when he returned to Boston and teamed with Joe Thornton for some killer offensive seasons. In his best season in 2002-03, Murray scored 44 goals and 92 points playing alongside Jumbo Joe and Mike Knuble on a line that overpowered teams with size, strength and offensive ability.
8. Keith Crowder
An underrated Bruins player throughout the 1980’s, Keith Crowder was a staple on some fun B’s teams in the early 1980s and finished with 219 goals and 477 points in 607 games over nine years with the Bruins.
Crowder’s best season saw him hit 38 goals and 84 points in 1985-86 and the right winger was a member of the Boston team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 1988. Crowder left the Bruins in free agency to sign with the Los Angeles Kings just prior to the Bruins getting back to the Stanley Cup Final in 1990, but his career was over at that point at just 31 years old.
7. Bobby Bauer
The right wing member of the Kraut Line, Bobby Bauer (pictured, right) was a Hall of Famer, a two-time Cup winner, a four-time All-Star and a three-time Lady Byng winner over the course of his dynamic career. Bauer finished with 123 goals and 259 points in 327 games over nine years with the Bruins.
Like Milt Schmidt, Bauer missed several seasons in the prime of his NHL career while serving in World War II and then essentially retired from the league at 31 years old after his best season, when he scored 30 goals and 54 points in 58 games in 1946-47. Interestingly, Bauer returned for one game 1951-52 as a 36-year-old where he reunited with Milt Schmidt and Woody Dumart for Schmidt’s 200th NHL goal and finished with a goal and an assist in that game.
6. Dit Clapper
A Hall of Famer, six-time All-Star and three-time Stanley Cup winner, Dit Clapper was perhaps the best of the best of the old-time Bruins legends. Clapper played 20 years for the Bruins and finished with 229 goals and 477 points in 835 games while earning NHL All-Star honors six different times and twice finishing as a Hart Trophy finalist from 1939-41.
His best season was one where he posted 41 goals and 61 points in 1929-30 in the truly old days. Interestingly enough, Clapper switched from right wing to defenseman during his lengthy NHL career — all with the Bruins — and mastered both of them during his time in Black and Gold.
5. Terry O'Reilly
The Tazmanian Devil was a force of toughness and sheer will for the Bruins through the 1970s and 1980s and finished with over 200 goals, 600 points and 2,000 penalty minutes. Another of the classic prototypical Bruins players, O’Reilly would beat you with his size and strength around the net and he would pummel you if you messed with him or one of his teammates. He was part of what made the B’s teams of the late 1970’s such a tough crew to deal with.
O’Reilly had 29 goals and 90 points with 211 penalty minutes in his best NHL season in 1977-78, but topped 20 goals four different times in his bruising 14 seasons, all of which came for the Bruins.
4. David Pastrnak
Obviously things are just getting started for a 23-year-old kid just entering the best years of his NHL career, but he sits as a threat to score 50 goals every single season and a threat to be the best ever at this position for the B’s before it’s all said and done.
Pastrnak has 180 goals and 379 points in 390 games for the Bruins and was in the middle of his best NHL season with 48 goals and 95 points when the 2019-20 season was suspended. Pastrnak would have been the first Bruins player to score 50 goals for the team since Cam Neely, and is a threat to break just about every scoring record for the B's before he’s done in Boston. He’s just getting started and he’s already one of the best.
3. Ken Hodge
One of the key cornerstones of the two Bruins Cup teams in the early 1970’s, Ken Hodge was the third cog in the machine behind Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. Hodge finished with 289 goals and 674 points 652 games over nine years in Black and Gold and nabbed a couple of NHL All-Star Team appearances over that time as the league’s top right winger.
Hodge topped 40 goals three different times in his career, surpassed 100 points twice and ended his B’s career by bringing Rick Middleton to Boston in a trade with the New York Rangers. Hodge’s son ended up playing for the Bruins as well in a pretty cool family tradition.
2. Rick Middleton
The man they called Nifty is the most skilled forward in Bruins history and turned the speed, shot and hands into 402 goals and 898 points in 881 games for the B’s over a 12-year career in Boston. Middleton topped 40 goals five different times in his career and surpassed 100 points twice while earning All-Star and Lady Byng honors in 1981-82 as he racked up 51 goals and 94 points in 75 games.
Nifty was also one of the best penalty killers in the NHL during his career and ranks with Derek Sanderson and Brad Marchand as the most dangerous PK guys in B’s history. He was finally recognized last season by having his No. 16 raised to the TD Garden rafters and it’s a crime that Middleton isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame given the kind of excellent player he was for years in Boston. But Nifty will get plenty of love on this list.
1. Cam Neely
A four-time All-Star, Hall of Famer and the meanest, baddest and best power forward of his generation, it’s tough to judge Neely solely on his numbers as lower body injuries cut short his career. In his prime and healthy, he was awesome and the prototypical Bruins player while topping out at 55 goals and 92 points in 1989-90.
In all, he finished as a point-per-game player for the Bruins with 344 goals and 590 points in 525 career games over 10 years in Boston. Neely was also a physical, fearsome force who brought attitude and toughness to the Black and Gold while helping lead them to a pair of Stanley Cup Final appearances in 1988 and 1990. The 55 goals and 87 points in 86 career playoff games are ridiculously good numbers and show that No. 8 always played his best when it mattered most to the B’s.