The Boston Bruins have had numerous prolific goal-scorers in the team’s storied history, which dates back to 1924. Here are the best of the best: the top 20 Bruins’ scorers of all-time.
1. Johnny Bucyk, 545 Goals
Nicknamed “Chief,” Johnny Bucyk scored a single-season high 51 goals in the 1970-71 campaign, the only year he’d hit the 50-goal plateau. After playing his first two National Hockey League seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, he was traded to Boston, where he played 21 seasons, from 1957 through 1978, suiting up on left wing alongside Vic Stasiuk and Bronco Horvath.
In his time with the Bruins, Bucyk helped lead the team to Stanley Cup victories in the 1969-70 and 1971-72 seasons. He won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, for “sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct” in 1971 and 1974 and the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1977, recognizing him for his commitment to hockey in the United States.
Following his retirement in 1978, Bucyk worked in various roles with the Bruins, included broadcaster and front office positions. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.
2. Phil Esposito, 459 Goals
Phil Esposito played just nine of his 19 NHL seasons with the Bruins, making his claim to number two on the team’s all-time goal-scorers list that much more remarkable. His highest single-season goal total while donning the Spoked-B was an amazing 76 in the 1970-71 season.
Esposito played four seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks before being traded to Boston in 1967 where he centered a line that featured two others on the list, Ken Hodge and Wayne Cashman. He was dealt by the Bruins to the New York Rangers in November 1975, where he played the better part of six seasons, ending with the 1980-81 campaign.
Esposito’s laundry list of awards all came when he was a member of the Bruins. He won the Art Ross Trophy in 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974; the Ted Lindsay Award in 1971 and 1973; the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1978; the Hart Memorial Trophy in 1969 and 1974; and the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972. He retired in 1981 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.
3. Rick Middleton, 402 Goals
“Nifty” began his NHL career with the Rangers, where he played for two seasons before being traded to the Bruins. He remained in Boston from the 1976-77 season through to 1987-88, the final season of his career. Middleton frequently lined up on the right wing of Barry Pederson.
Related: Rick Middleton, Hall of Fame Worthy
Middleton finished the 1981-82 season with a career-high 51 goals. He won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 1982. Following his retirement, Middleton has worked with the New England Sports Network as a studio analyst and became a partner in Orlando Energy Systems.
4. Ray Bourque, 395 Goals
One of just two defensemen on the list, Ray Bourque was drafted by Boston in the first round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He played with the Bruins from the 1979-80 season until 1999-2000 when he was traded, at his request, to the Colorado Avalanche. He scored a career-high 31 goals in the 1983-84 season.
Bourque won the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league’s top defenseman, in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1994. He was recognized as the NHL’s rookie of the year with the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1980 and received the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1992. He was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy in 2003 after his playing days were over.
Bourque’s goal in requesting a trade was met when he won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. He retired following that championship season and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. Post-retirement, he has been active in charitable endeavors in the Boston area and owns an Italian restaurant.
5. Patrice Bergeron, 375 Goals
The first of three active NHLers on the list, Patrice Bergeron was drafted by the Bruins in 2003 and has played his entire career in Boston to date. In recent years, he has centered the “Perfection Line,” which also includes David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand (more on those two later).
The Bruins’ captain recorded a career-high 32 goals in the 2018-19 season and was just one away from matching that number when the 2019-20 season was put on hold on March 12. He has continued his goal-scoring success from the high slot in 2020-21, notching 23 goals in 54 games.
Although he has been a consistent goal-scorer in his career, Bergeron is likely best known for his abilities as one of the NHL’s top defensive forwards. He has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy, given to the league’s best defensive forward, in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017. Bergeron also received the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2013. He was also a key member of the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup championship team.
6. Cam Neely, 344 Goals
In his 10-year stint with the Bruins, which was ultimately cut short by injury issues, Neely achieved three 50-plus goal seasons, including 55 goals in the 1989-90 season, 51 in 1990-91 and 50 in 1993-94. He was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 1983 and was traded to Boston by the Canucks in June 1986.
While in Boston, Neely played on a wing with center Adam Oates. Joe Juneau was also a regular part of the Neely-Oates line.
Neely won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 1991, a nod to his perseverance in recovery from injury. He retired in 1996 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. He currently serves as the president of the Bruins.
7. Brad Marchand, 319 Goals
Like linemate Bergeron, Brad Marchand was drafted by Boston and has played for the Bruins for his entire career, which began with 20 games played in the 2009-10 season. He was drafted in the third round in 2006. He has yet to crack the 40-goal plateau in a season but did record a single-season high 39 goals in 2016-17, as well as three other 30-plus goal seasons.
He just missed the 30-goal mark in 2020-21 when he scored a team-high 29 goals, putting him among the elite goal-scorers in the NHL. Perhaps the most admirable aspect of Marchand’s scoring ability is his knack for creating short-handed opportunities. The Bruins can score in any situation when he is on the ice.
Marchand is also well-known around the league as one of the NHL’s top “pests,” and frequently draws the ire of on-ice officials as well as Bruins opponents (though he has eased up on his antics in recent years). He was also a key member of the 2011 Stanley Cup team, scoring two goals in the Cup-clinching Game 7 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
8. Ken Hodge, 289 Goals
Hodge’s career path mirrored linemate Esposito’s in many ways. He was drafted by the Blackhawks, the same team that selected Esposito and was traded to the Bruins by Chicago in 1967. Hodge played nine seasons in Boston before being traded and finishing out the final two years of his career, 1976-77 and 1977-78, with the Rangers.
Related: The Evolution of Brad Marchand
Hodge potted a career-high 50 goals during the 1973-74 season. He was a part of the Bruins’ 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup victories. He briefly came out of retirement to play for the Binghamton Dusters of the American Hockey League for the 1979-80 season. Hodge has worked as a broadcaster in the Boston area.
9. Wayne Cashman, 277 Goals
Also a linemate of Esposito and Hodge, winger Cashman played all 17 of his NHL seasons as a Bruin, with a career ranging from the 1964-65 season and ending after the 1982-83 campaign. His place in the top 10 of the team’s all-time leading goal-scorers was a product more of longevity and consistency than astronomical goal totals. His career-high was 30 goals scored in the 1973-74 season.
Along with Esposito and Hodge, Cashman hoisted the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 1970 and 1972. Since his playing days, he has worked as a coach in the Bruins, Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers organizations, as well as with Canada’s 1998 Olympic team.
10. Bobby Orr, 265 Goals
Believed by many to be the greatest Bruin and one of the greatest NHL players of all time, Bobby Orr needs little introduction. He is the second of the two defensemen on the list. He played for 10 seasons in Boston, from 1966 through 1976, and finished his career with two seasons as a member of the Blackhawks. His most notable defensive partner in Boston was Dallas Smith.
Orr scored a career-high 46 goals in the 1974-75 season. After playing 80 games in that campaign, injuries would limit him to a total of 36 games played over the next three seasons, the last of his storied career.
Orr won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs leading up to the Bruins 1970 and 1972 Cup victories. He also received the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1967; the Hart Memorial Trophy in 1970, 1971 and 1972; the Art Ross Trophy in 1970 and 1975, the Ted Lindsay Award in 1975; the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1979; and the James Norris Memorial Trophy in each of 1968 through 1975.
Orr was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979. He has served as a scout for a variety of teams.
11. Peter McNab, 263 Goals
McNab played 8 of his 14 NHL seasons with the Bruins. He was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 1972 and played three seasons there before being traded to Boston for the 1976-77 campaign. He was traded to Vancouver during the 1983-84 season, playing for the Canucks for one additional season and joining the New Jersey Devils for the last two seasons of his career.
McNab scored 41 goals in the 1977-78 season, his career high. Although the center rarely fought on the ice, he joined linemate Stan Jonathan and most of his other Bruins teammates in a bizarre fight that took place in the stands at a game against the Rangers. He retired in 1987 and worked as a broadcaster, including as a color commentator for the Avalanche.
12. Don Marcotte, 230 Goals
Marcotte’s entire 15-year NHL career, spanning from the 1965-66 season to 1981-82, was spent with the Bruins. He lit the lamp a career-high 31 times in the 1974-75 season and was on the roster for the team’s Stanley Cup victories in 1970 and 1972.
Marcotte was a left wing and penalty kill master with superior defensive skills. He and linemate Steve Kasper also manned one of the league’s best penalty kill units. He retired in 1982 after being released by the club. Following his retirement, he spent some time as the manager of the Boston Garden Club.
13. Aubrey “Dit” Clapper, 229 Goals
Clapper began his 20-season, 835-game NHL career in the early days of the Bruins, playing in Boston from the 1927-28 season through 1946-47, in which he appeared in six games. He contributed 41 goals in the 1929-30 campaign, nearly double his second-best of 22, which he accomplished twice.
Clapper played both defenseman and forward in his professional hockey career. In his time in Boston, he helped the Bruins to Stanley Cup championships in 1929, 1939 and 1941. He was the right wing on the “Dynamite Line” with Cooney Weiland and Dutch Gainor.
Clapper was inducted into the Hall of Fame the same year he retired, 1947. He coached the Bruins following his retirement.
14. Milt Schmidt, 229 Goals
Like Clapper, Schmidt played all 16 years of his NHL career, from the 1936-37 season to 1954-55, in the early years of the Original Six franchise’s history. Also like Clapper, Schmidt spread out his scoring over his tenure in Boston, potting a single-season high of 27 in the 1946-47 season.
Schmidt was the pivot man for the trio known as the “Kraut Line,” which also included wingers Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer. As a player, Schmidt hoisted the Cup in 1939 and 1941. During his legendary career, he was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1996 and the Hart Memorial Trophy in 1951.
Related: Boston Bruins’ Coaching History
In another similarity to Clapper’s career path, Schmidt also coached the Bruins in his post-playing days. He was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.
15. Keith Crowder, 219 Goals
Forward Crowder was drafted by the Bruins and spent the first 9 of his 10 career NHL seasons in Boston, beginning in the 1980-81 campaign. He played his final season with the Los Angeles Kings in 1989-90, signing with Los Angeles as a free agent. He finished the 1985-86 schedule with a career-high 38 goals.
While in Boston, Crowder played on a line with Cashman and Kasper. He is in the Windsor/Essex County (Ont.) Sports Hall of Fame.
16. David Krejci, 215 Goals
David Krejci was drafted by the Bruins in 2004 and has been there for all 15 of his NHL seasons. He decided to take his hockey career in a different direction after the 2020-21 season, choosing to play closer to his family in the Czech Republic. This was heartbreaking news for Bruins fans, but he left the door open for a potential return.
He recorded a career-high 23 goals in the 2011-12 and 2016-17 seasons, then his scoring totals slowly declined afterward. He scored 17, 20, 13, and eight goals in the last four seasons respectively, becoming more of a facilitator than a scorer. Still, Krejci’s durability and consistency puts him among the Bruins’ all-time leaders in goals.
Krejci’s line, which also included wingers Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic, was a major factor in the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup victory. He unfortunately never got a chance to play alongside some equally talented players for most of his career, until Taylor Hall and Craig Smith stepped in in 2020-21. That line was almost on par with the Perfection Line to close out the season. It’s a shame that their time together ended so soon.
17. Woody Dumart, 211 Goals
Left wing Dumart began his NHL career with the Bruins in the 1935-36 season and stayed throughout his career, which ended following the 1953-54 campaign. He scored 24 goals in 1946-47, besting his previous career-high of 22.
The second member of Kraut Line to make the top-20 goals list, Dumart was part of Stanley Cup-winning Bruins teams in 1939 and 1941. He retired in 1954 and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992. Following his retirement, he was active in charitable endeavors in the Boston area.
18. Glen Murray, 209 Goals
Murray played two separate stints with the Bruins, the team that drafted him in the first round in 1991, during a career that spanned from 1991 through 2008. He also played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Kings from the 1995-96 season to 2001-02, from which he was traded back to Boston after just seven games.
Murray’s best goal-scoring season came after his return to the Bruins when he lit the lamp 44 times in the 2002-03 campaign. He worked after retirement in the Kings’ player development program and was named director of player development for the team in June 2018.
19. Terry O’Reilly, 204 Goals
O’Reilly was selected by the Bruins in the first round of the 1971 draft and played each of his 14 NHL seasons in Boston, retiring after the 1994-95 season. He scored a career-high 29 goals during the 1977-78 season.
He had a reputation for a tough style of play. He was also involved in the in-stands incident stemming from a fan’s altercation with Stan Jonathan. In retirement, he coached the Bruins and the Rangers. He enjoyed immense success on a line with McNab and Al Secord.
O’Reilly’s number 24 was retired by the Bruins in 2002. He was inducted into the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
20. David Pastrnak, 200 Goals
The Bruins drafted David Pastrnak 25th overall in 2014 with the hopes that his offensive skillset would translate to the NHL level, and did it ever. Once he became a permanent starter in 2016-17, the Czech forward has been on an absolute tear, scoring 30-plus goals for four straight years, including a 48-goal season in just 70 games in 2019-20. This performance made him the co-winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy along with Alex Ovechkin.
His dominance finally subsided a little in 2020-21, as he scored just 20 goals in 48 games. This is considered a down year for Pastrnak (which should tell you how talented he is), but it was still enough to put his career total at an even 200, bumping Don McKenney (195 goals) out of the final spot.
The Bruins have him under contract until 2023, and they should do everything in their power to hold onto him when the time comes to negotiate a new contract. Pastrnak is a generational scoring talent, and if he stays in Boston for his entire career, he figures to be one of the best goal-scorers to ever wear the spoked B.
Top 20 Should See Big Changes Soon
The three active Bruins on this list can really shake up the order in the next few years. Bergeron is just 28 goals away from moving into the top three. Marchand can leapfrog fellow pest Cam Neely as early as next season, and may eventually overtake Bergeron. Phil Esposito’s 479 goals are still a good distance away, but both Bergeron and Marchand can reach that number if they keep up their current scoring paces for another few years.
Pastrnak can move from 20th all the way up to 12th if he scores 30-plus goals again in 2021-22, which is well within the realm of possibility. He could reach the top seven in just a few years time. At just 25 years old, Pastrnak’s ceiling is right up there with Middleton and Esposito. He’ll have a hard time catching Bucyk, though.
Krejci can also move up in the rankings if he decides to return to Boston (though this is admittedly unlikely). On the off chance that he does come back, he could reach as high as 12th place, which sits just 15 goals away.
In any event, each player on this list – active or not – has earned the proper recognition as one the Bruins’ all-time greats. To rank among the best goal-scorers on an Original Six team with almost 100 years of storied history is an amazing accomplishment.
I cover the Boston Bruins for The Hockey Writers. Fan of all things New England sports.