Having played their first National Hockey League game in 1924, the Boston Bruins are the NHL’s oldest American team. With their status, it’s no surprise the team has boasted many American-born talents throughout the years. The following are some of the top players in Bruins’ history.
Ranking third among the Bruins’ goaltenders in both wins and shoutouts, Minnesota-born Frank Brimsek made a name for himself when the NHL almost exclusively featured Canadian-born players. Nicknamed Mr. Zero, Brimsek lasted two 200-second streaks and won two Stanley Cups during his time with the Bruins. In addition being an eight-time NHL All-Star, Brimsek was also the first American goalie to become inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.
After growing up in Massachusetts, Mike Milbury had spent his entire NHL career with the Bruins and currently sits 16th on the club’s all-time games played list. After his time spent as a defenseman, Milbury went on to coach in the NHL and in two months, took the B’s to the Stanley Cup and East Finals. Milbury has proven controversial both on and off of the ice as the player with the second-most penalty minutes in the club, and as the voice of hockey coverage on NBC.
Recording over 70 goals and 269 points in 424 games over a six-year stretch with Boston, Massachusetts native Mike O’Connell was a fixture defenseman for the Bruins. O’Connell’s 31 power-play strikes have earned a place as sixth-most strikes performed by a defenseman in Bruins history.
Forward Craig Janney ranks first in career assists per game among American-born NHL players. The Connecticut native led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup finals in 1988 and again in 1990. During his five-year run with the Bruins, he amassed 85 goals and 283 points in 262 games.
Massachusetts native Steve Heinze started playing hockey at Boston College before moving on to his professional career as a forward with the Bruins. With 131 goals in Boston, Heinze has earned the status of the club’s all-time leading goal scorer among talents born in America.
At 6-foot-7, Massachusetts-born Hal Gill was once the Bruin’s go-to defender. During his time with the Bruins, he never tallied more than four goals or 22 points in a year.
Despite spending only two seasons with the Bruins, Massachusetts native Bill Guerin created a lasting reputation for himself as a forward among Bruins fans. In 142 games, Guerin had recorded 69 goals and 129 points.
Michigan-born forward Brian Rolston recorded a career-high 64 points during his 2001-02 season with the Bruins. While Rolston left Boston to play for Minnesota, he returned to the Boston in 2012 to finish out his career with the Bruins. During his career’s closing, Rolston scored three goals and 15 points in 21 games.
Having played at four different leagues prior to starting with the NHL, Michigan native Tim Thomas had a late start in his career. Though the goalie sometimes struggled with the net, Thomas got into the swing of things and played his best season in 2010-11. During that season, he had 2.0 goals against average and a .938 save percentage and helped his Bruins teammates bring home the Stanley Cup.
Yet another player from Michigan, Torey Krug ranks 12th among defensemen on the franchise’s all time scoring list. After playing for Michigan State, Krug went on to have multiple 50-point seasons with the Bruins, making him among only six other Boston defensemen who can boast such reputations.