Bruins’ 10 Best Players of the 2010s

There was no shortage of highs and lows in the last decade for the Boston Bruins. After becoming only the third team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston bounced back in 2011 to win the franchise’s sixth Stanley Cup championship with an epic seven-game series win over the Vancouver Canucks.

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Two more trips to the Final in 2013 and 2019 resulted in losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, respectively, but the Bruins had no shortage of players who played big roles and had career-year contributions in the organization’s success during the last 10 years.

10. Milan Lucic

One of the toughest players in league in his prime, Milan Lucic’s presence on the ice was enough to keep opponents on their toes and keep them from doing something cheap to any of the Bruins skilled players. He scored 30 goals in the 2010-11 season and worked his up to the first line the following season with David Krejci and Nathan Horton.

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He scored 105 goals and dished out 148 assists in a Bruins uniform in the regular season in the decade, while adding 21 goals and 29 assists in the playoffs. Though he left in 2015, he will go down as the biggest tone-setter in the last 10 years for the Black and Gold.

9. Nathan Horton

Acquired on June 22, 2010 in a trade with the Florida Panthers, Nathan Horton quickly became one of the most productive Bruins. He finished second on the team in scoring in 2010-11 with 26 goals and 27 assists and carried over the scoring touch to the playoffs.

Nathan Horton (Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE)

Horton scored eight goals in the 2011 Playoffs, including the game-winning overtime goals in Games 5 and 7 against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. In the Eastern Conference Final, he sent the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final by scoring the only goal in a 1-0 Game 7 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. In Game 3 of the Final, Horton was knocked out by a hit from Vancouver Canuck Aaron Rome and suffered a severe concussion. The concussion did not stop him from being on the ice at Rogers Arena following the Game 7 win to lift the Stanley Cup with his teammates.

8. David Pastrnak

The youngest player, at 23 years old on the Bruins top line, David “Pasta” Pastrnak has been nothing short of productive by averaging nearly a point-per-game since coming on the scene during the 2014-15 season at right wing. A gifted goal scorer, he has 161 goals since 2014 and currently leads the league in scoring this year with 29 goals.

David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While his regular-season numbers speak for themselves, Pastrnak has been even more productive in the postseason. In 42 playoff games, he has averaged over a point-per-game with 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points. If he continues this pace, he will be in the conversation as one of the best Bruins ever.

7. David Krejci

One of the better playmaking centers, David Krejci has 361 assists the last 10 years, which included two season with 50 or more assists and one with 49. He scored a playoff career-high 12 goals in 2011 and had a career-high 17 assists in the 2019 playoffs.

David Krejci Boston Bruins
David Krejci, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Another key piece to the 2011 championship team, his biggest asset to the Bruins’ has been his ability to fill in as a first-line center in the absence of Patrice Bergeron with Brad Marchand and Pastrnak to keep the top line one of most dangerous and productive in the league. Despite never being selected to an All-Star Game, without his contributions, there are not three trips to the Final in the last 10 years.

6. Torey Krug

One of the best offensive defensemen in the game, Torey Krug has established himself as a top-four defenseman and has been one of the quiet leaders. Bursting onto the scene during the 2014 season, he quickly became one of the key members of the power play and penalty kills.

Torey Krug
Boston Bruins Torey Krug (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

One question scouts had was if his 5-foot-9 frame would be too small for the speed and physicality of the NHL, but Krug has played over 450 games and has the fifth-most points on the team with 314 in the last decade. He has scored some of his biggest goals in the 3-on-3 overtimes when the extra space on the ice allows him to showcase his skills and smooth skating.

5. Tuukka Rask

Taking over in 2013 for Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask has arguably been one of the best goalies in the league this decade. Winner of the 2014 Vezina Trophy, he has 241 regular-season wins in 446 games played and 43 playoff wins.

Tuukka Rask Boston Bruins
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Following a Stanley Cup-winning goalie is never an easy job, but Rask has checked off just about every box despite never being able in two tries to get over the hump and win that elusive championship. Regardless, there are no Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2013 and 2019 without his play in net.

4. Tim Thomas

Despite spending only three years in a Bruins’ uniform in the decade, Tim Thomas finds himself in this spot for the career-season he had in 2011. After posting a 35-11-9 regular-season with a 2.00 goal against average (GAA) and save percentage (SV%) of .939 (highest regular-season mark by any goalie in the decade), he won the Vezina Trophy.

Thomas celebrated with his family and his hardware after finishing the series having allowed 8 goals in 7 games (Photo by Andrew Knoll).

In the playoffs, he continued his impressive numbers with a 1.08 GAA and a .940 SV% in 25 games, which included a 37-save effort for a shutout in Game 7 of the Final, which helped to earn him the Conn Smythe Trophy. Without Thomas, there is no 2011 Stanley Cup Championship.

3. Brad Marchand

If Brad Marchand plays for you, you love him. If he doesn’t play for you, you hate him. Fortunately for the Bruins, he has spent the decade with the team who drafted him. A left wing who has the ability to get under his opponent’s skin and be the games biggest agitator, Marchand put his mark on the 2011 Stanley Cup with two goals in the clinching Game 7.

Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Marchand has been durable in the decade averaging 69 games a year while averaging 28 goals and 33 assists a year. He was the only Bruin to eclipse the 100-point plateau in the last 10 years when he did it during the 2018-19 season with 36 goals and 64 assists. In 2011, he scored a career-high 11 playoff goals and had nine postseason goals in the 2019 run to the Stanley Cup Final.

2. Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara has been one of the biggest forces on the ice as a defenseman and a bruising physical player in his prime. Despite battling through some injuries, the captain began the decade averaging nearly 50 points a season through 2015 with the most feared slap shot in the game.

Zdeno Chara
Zdeno Chara (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In 2011, he won the Mark Messier Leadership Award and has been one of the games best defensive stoppers at 6-foot-9 with his long reach. Though he did not win a Norris Trophy this decade, Chara has been the most important player for the Bruins with his leadership and presence on the ice.

1. Patrice Bergeron

The best center to suit up in a Bruins uniform in the decade, Patrice Bergeron also scored two goals in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 against Vancouver. A first-line center with Marchand and Pastrnak, he won the Selke Trophy four times (2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017).

Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Aside from his two-goal performance in Game 7 against the Canucks, Bergeron two years later had more Game 7 magic against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the first of three Game 7 wins in the decade over the Leafs. Down 4-1 in the third period, Boston rallied to tie the game at the end of regulation, before Bergeron scored 6:05 into overtime from the slot for the win. The Bruins’ success during the decade can be attributed to his calming presence.

Just Missing the Cut

In no particular order, more players who could have a case to be included are Mark Recchi, Dennis Seidenberg, Shawn Thornton and Adam McQuaid.

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