Here are five Bruins who had a great rookie season in no particular order. Before you start yelling at your screen and saying how crazy I am, remember that these are rookie seasons!
Sergei Samsonov was drafted eighth overall in the 1997 NHL entry draft. He had legs like tree trunks and the ability to change directions in the blink of an eye. When the Boston Bruins traded Glen Wesley to the Hartford Whalers in August of 1994, they received three first round draft picks. These were first overall picks for 1995, 1996 and 1997. The latter pick turned out to be for Samsonov.
In his rookie season with the Bruins he racked up twenty-two goals and forty-seven points in eighty-one games. Bruins fans thought the duo of Samsonov and Jumbo Joe would be a saving grace. He went on to play six and a half more seasons with the black and gold. His best point total came in the 2000-2001 season, scoring seventy-five points in eighty-two games. He was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in March of 2006 for a few rolls of tape and a second round pick, which was used to acquire Milan Lucic.
I have to be careful with what I say about this legend to avoid upsetting the hockey purists out there.
Mr. Orr signed with the Boston Bruins for the 1966-1967 season. This was his first year as a professional. There are many debates pertaining to his salary that year, but he was the highest paid player in league history.
For his first preseason the Bruins tried Orr out at center and he wore the number 27. When the regular season rolled around the team offered him number 5, but he chose the famous number 4 and was placed in his natural spot on the blue line. Orr played his first regular season game in October of 1966 against the Detroit Red Wings, finishing with one assist.
Orr had one of the best seasons by a defenseman in his first year, scoring thirteen goals and forty-one points in sixty-one games. That year he won the Calder Memorial trophy as the league’s top rookie and was named NHL’s second all-star team.
There is not enough room to list all of the achievements that Bobby Orr accumulated over his career, but here are a few of the highlights. He won the Art Ross trophy twice and the James Norris trophy a whopping eight times. He went to the NHL All-Star game eight times and was named the MVP of the game in 1972. Orr hoisted the Stanley Cup twice in 1970 and 1972, along with the Conn Smythe in both of those years.
Many argue that he is the greatest player ever to dawn an NHL sweater, and with numbers like these you can see why. 657 games played. 270 goals. 645 assists. 915 points. 953 penalty mins and an astonishing +597!
The best rocket scientist to play in the NHL. Joe Juneau received a degree in aeronautical engineering in three years, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
The Bruins drafted Juneau in the fourth round in the 1988 NHL entry draft. However, he did not suit up for the big club until 1992. Ask Harry Sinden and he’ll tell you all about it!
His best season in the NHL was his rookie season, where he racked up one hundred and two points in eighty-four games. He gathered seventy assists that season, setting a NHL record by a rookie. A mark which still stands. Juneau won the Calder Memorial trophy that year for the best overall rookie. Some will say his linemates that year should have accepted the award with him. The powerful line consisted of Adam Oates centering Cam Neely and Joe Juneau.
During his fifteen year NHL career Juneau never played a game in the minors and retired as a member of the Montreal Canadiens in 2004. He finished his career with 572 points in 828 games.
After being drafted in the fifth round 135th overall in 1998, Andrew Raycroft was a real long shot to make a name for himself in the NHL. Let alone win Rookie of the Year.
Raycroft played his first full NHL season with the Bruins in 2003-2004 with a stingy record of twenty-nine wins in fifty-seven games. He had a GAA of 2.05 and .926 SV% and three shut-outs.
Never finding his groove again after that, Andrew was traded to the Leafs during the offseason of 2006 for some no-name Finnish prospect Tuukka Rask. Even if the trade never materialized, it was later revealed that Raycroft would have been released from his contract and made him available to the Leafs without any compensation whatsoever! Sorry Leafs fans.
Andrew Raycroft announced his retirement from professional hockey in April 2014 after spending a few years around the European leagues. He now volunteers as an assistant coach for Connecticut Huskies.
Now this piece might sound biased, but Ray Bourque is my all-time favorite hockey player. But that does not take away from the fact that he had an amazing rookie season.
With the eighth pick in the 1979 NHL entry draft the Boston Bruins selected Raymond Bourque. The club received that pick in a trade with the LA Kings. Boston sent goaltender Ron Grahame to LA in exchange for the eighth pick. Ironically enough, Ron’s son John became teammates with Bourque.
Bourque played his first game against the Winnipeg Jets in 1979, where he also scored his first NHL goal. From his first game Bourque showed that he would be one of the best NHL defenseman ever! During his rookie campaign he tallied sixty-five points which was a record by an NHL rookie d-man at that time. The sixty-five points and his steady play was more than enough to win the Calder Memorial trophy.
When Rick Middleton retired in 1988, Bourque was named the sole captain of the Boston Bruins, and kept that title for his entire Bruins career. With that distinction he surpassed Alex Delvecchio as the longest-serving NHL team captain, a mark which has been broken by Steve Yzerman.
Bourque went on to play twenty-one solid and steady years for the Bruins. Ray won the Norris trophy five times and became the sixth defenseman in history to score thirty goals in a season. He won the King Clancy Memorial and Lester Patrick trophy once and was named an NHL first team all-star thirteen times. Bourque is eighth all-time (fourth among defenseman) in games played with 1612. Bourque also holds the record for shots on goal in one game with nineteen! Also he is first in career points and goals by a defenseman. I could go on and on.
Here are a few guys that could have also been in the top five:
- Frank Brimsek
- Dereck Sanderson
- Brad Marchand
- Tiny Thompson
- Brad Boyes
The New Wave
Will this year see another Bruin name etched on the Calder trophy? With rookies like Danton Heinen, Charlie McAvoy, and Jake DeBrusk it is a distinct possibility. So far this all-star trio are really helping the Bruins to a great season. A great playoff run is looking better each game.
Until next time….
Keep Your Head Up