Last week, when the current Boston Bruins players were just beginning to embark on a nine-day bye week and All-Star break, former Bruins forward Milan Lucic delighted fans with a blast from the team’s past by tweeting a photo of himself and former linemate Nathan Horton. Later, David Krejci, the pivot for one of the best lines in Bruins history, joined the reunion.
Bruins fans will certainly well remember that Lucic, Krejci and Horton made up a line that dominated the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, during which Boston defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. The team has returned to the final round twice since that incredible season, but have fallen short both times.
Krejci, of course, is still a Bruins center. Lucic was traded by Boston in 2015 to the Los Angeles Kings. He has also played for the Edmonton Oilers and is now a member of the Calgary Flames. Horton is still under contract in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, although he has not stepped on the ice for several years. Unfortunately, after he opted to leave Boston and sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent, a debilitating back injury essentially ended his playing days.
Other members of the iconic 2011 Stanley Cup champion team who are still on the Bruins roster today include Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask. Steven Kampfer, who was recently assigned to the team’s AHL affiliate in Providence, played 38 games for the Bruins in the 2010-11 season before suffering a season-ending injury. As a result, his name was not etched on the Cup.
So, where are the other members of the 2011 team today? Let’s take a bit of a walk down memory lane and find out.
Only nine seasons removed from 2010-11, just a handful of other members of the team are still playing in the NHL for teams other than the Bruins. That, of course, includes Tyler Seguin, who is in his seventh season with the Dallas Stars.
Seguin was a rookie when the Bruins won it all in 2011. He played two more seasons in Boston before being dealt in one of the more controversial trades in the team’s relatively recent history. He will turn just 28 on Jan. 31, meaning Seguin likely has quite a few years left in a storied career that started out with a Stanley Cup victory.
Like with Seguin, many Bruins fans were none-too-happy when Johnny Boychuk was traded by Boston to the New York Islanders before the 2014-15 season. The popular defenseman played for the Bruins for six seasons before that and hoisted the Cup along with his teammates in 2011. Now 36, Boychuk still plays for the Islanders today.
Blake Wheeler was in his third season as a Bruin in 2011. However, he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers after playing 58 games in the Spoked B that season. He has been a Thrasher and Jet ever since, and today he wears the captain’s “C” in Winnipeg.
German-born defenseman Dennis Seidenberg announced his retirement from the NHL on Oct. 23, 2019. In Feb. 2019, he signed a contract with the Islanders after having gone unsigned since the end of the 2017-18 season.
However, he never played for New York in the time between his re-signing and his retirement. He played seven seasons with the Bruins, with his time in Boston ending after the 2015-16 season.
Adam McQuaid’s nine-season stint with the Bruins began in 2009-10, his rookie year. He was traded to the New York Rangers ahead of the 2018-19 season, another move that shocked the Bruins’ fanbase, and also played 14 games for the Blue Jackets last season. McQuaid is officially classified as an unrestricted free agent, although he announced earlier this season that he and his family were taking some time to decide whether he should hang up his skates for health reasons.
Chris Kelly is back in the Bruins organization, this time as a player development coach for the team’s AHL affiliate in Providence. Before that, he was an assistant coach for the Ottawa Senators. Kelly played just part of the 2010-11 championship year with the Bruins after he was traded to Boston by the Senators. However, he made an immediate impact on the team and was in the Spoked B through the 2015-16 season.
The man affectionately known as “Soupy” not only won a Cup with the Bruins in 2011, but cemented his place in Boston hockey lore when he toughed out a shift in the 2013 Playoffs with what turned out to be a broken leg. Gregory Campbell also was a member of the famed “Merlot Line,” one of the most revered fourth lines in Bruins’ history.
In July 2017, the Blue Jackets announced that Campbell had been named a development coach. Campbell played six seasons with the Florida Panthers before coming to Boston for the 2010-11 season. His final season as a player, 2015-16, was spent in Columbus.
Also a member of the Merlot Line, Daniel Paille spent four full seasons as a Buffalo Sabre before splitting time between the Sabres and the Bruins during the 2009-10 season. He remained in Boston through 2015 and finished his NHL career with the Rangers. He went on to continue his professional hockey career in Sweden.
Rich Peverly played five-and-a-half seasons in Nashville and Atlanta before finishing the 2010-11 championship year with the Bruins. He was dealt to Dallas as part of the trade that also sent Seguin to the Stars. After collapsing on the bench in a game in March 2014 as a result of a “cardiac event,” Peverly never returned to action.
Now an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that drafted him and for which he played on and off over seven seasons, Mark Recchi ended his career as a Bruin.
His last season in the NHL was the 2010-11 Cup year. In addition to Boston and Pittsburgh, he played in Philadelphia, Montreal, Carolina, Atlanta and Tampa Bay in a career that began in 1988.
Michael Ryder played three seasons for the Bruins in the middle part of his 11-year, 806-game NHL career. His final season in the Spoked B was 2010-11, when he became one of the few natives of Newfoundland and Labrador to win a Stanley Cup. Ryder has stayed out of the spotlight following his last season with the New Jersey Devils in 2016.
Marc Savard played just 25 games of the 2010-11 season for the Bruins. Unfortunately, those turned out to be his last games played in the NHL.
Savard suffered post-concussion syndrome after a hit from the Penguins’ Matt Cooke. Savard officially retired in 2017 and is now in his first season as an assistant coach for the St. Louis Blues.
The so-called enforcer of the Merlot Line, Shawn Thornton was hired as the executive vice president of business operations by the Panthers in June 2017. He began his career playing a combined 41 games over three seasons for the Chicago Blackhawks before moving on to the Anaheim Ducks for one season and then the Bruins for seven seasons beginning in 2007. He finished his playing career with the Panthers.
A journeyman blueliner, Ference played for the Penguins, Flames, Bruins and Oilers during a career that began in 1999 and ended with six games played for the Oilers in the 2015-16 season. In 2018, Ference was named by the NHL as its director of social impact, growth and fan development in March 2018.
Hailed as the hero of the 2011 Bruins championship team, and securing the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff most valuable player, Thomas played eight seasons for the Bruins. He elected to take a year off following the 2011-12 season, and, when he returned to the NHL, played for the Panthers and the Stars.
Thomas disappeared from the public view for several years. He re-emerged in December for induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and broke his media silence. Thomas said he had suffered severe effects from a concussion he sustained near the end of his playing career and had been unable to even keep up with the game on television for a while as a result of his condition. Most recently, Thomas was one of several former teammates who offered congratulations in a video honoring current Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
I am a 46-year-old journalist living in the greater Pittsburgh area with my husband and two cats. I am a proud Penn State University alum. Hockey is life. Not much else needs to be said.