Which former, current Bruins have a Hockey Hall of Fame chance

Matt Kalman
November 18, 2019 - 6:17 pm

The 2019 Hockey Hall of Fame induction class that was honored in Toronto on Monday decidedly lacked for ties to the Bruins.

Guy Carbonneau, Vaclav Nedomansky, Hayley Wickenheiser, Sergei Zubov and Jim Rutherford have no ties to the Bruins unless you want to count all the times Carboneau’s Montreal Canadiens teams got the better of the Bruins. Boston College coach Jerry York’s only ties to the Bruins are the players he coached that have worn black and gold, guys like Andrew Alberts, Mike Mottau and Jimmy Hayes.

Future HHOF classes should have more of a Bruins taste, starting as soon as 2020. Here’s a look at players with Bruins ties, and some that are still playing for Boston, that could someday wind up enshrined in Toronto:

Bruins ties

Jarome Iginla

The pre-eminent power forward of his era, Iginla is eligible for the first time in 2020. He scored 30 of his 625 career regular season goals (tied for 16th in NHL history) in his one season with the Bruins, the President’s Trophy-winning season of 2013-14. He famously played for Boston for a cap-friendly $1.8 million with $4.2 million later paid out in performance bonuses that cost the Bruins an overage penalty the next season and helped usher the end of general manager Peter Chiarelli’s reign. Then he left as a free agent for Colorado when the Bruins didn’t have cap space to keep him.

Chances he’ll get inducted: 100%

Sergei Gonchar

Like Iginla, Gonchar can go in next season if the committee deems his 811 points in 1,301 regular season games worthy. Unlike Iginla, Gonchar has a Stanley Cup championship (2009) on his resume. He played just 15 games for the 2003-04 Bruins and had nine points (four goals, five assists). He added one goal and four assists in Boston’s first-round, seven-game playoff loss to Montreal. The Bruins’ lockout strategy to not re-sign their unrestricted free agents broke up that team and Gonchar was on to Pittsburgh.

Chance of induction: 60%

Joe Thornton

Sorry if this one hurts, but the San Jose Sharks center played 532 of his 1,500 and counting NHL games in Boston before one of the worst trades in NHL history shipped him to the West Coast. He’s 14th in all-time points and has an Art Ross Trophy, a Hart Trophy and four postseason All-Star selections. The only question now is if they’ll be celebrating him in 2023 or later, and if Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau will attend the festivities.

Chance of induction: 100%

Jaromir Jagr

The Czech forward has scored everywhere he’s gone … well except Boston. Acquired for the stretch run of the 2013 lockout-shortened season, Jagr, who’s second on the NHL points list with 1,921, had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 11 regular season games and then no goals and 10 assists in 22 games during Boston’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. After playing 1,733 regular season games, Jagr is still playing the KHL at age 47. So there’s no telling when he’ll be eligible for induction.

Chance of induction: 100% if he retires before the end of the world

Bill Guerin

The current Minnesota Wild GM won the Stanley Cup twice, but his 429 goals (69 of which were scored in two seasons with the Bruins) probably won’t ever wow the committee.

Chance of induction: 30%

Dennis Wideman

Ha, ha, just making sure you’re still reading. But you’ve got to give the puck-moving defenseman credit for making it through a 815-game career with 387 points, 119 of which came with Boston in 256 games. And the Bruins traded him for Nathan Horton, and that has to count for something.

Chance of induction: 1%

Bruins through and through – already-eligible division

Rick Middleton

This will never make any sense, how the center with 988 points in 1,005 career games who retired in 1988 continually gets overlooked. He had one fewer point that Paul Kariya, who was inducted, two more points that Dave Keon, 15 points more than Andy Bathgate. In addition to putting up the numbers of a star, his stickhandling and passing were breathtaking even an era of some of the greatest playmakers and scorers ever.

Chance of induction: 75% (some day the committee will come to its senses)

Tim Thomas

The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame is inducting the two-time Vezina Trophy winner, but it’s unlikely that the backbone of the 2011 Stanley Cup champions will get his day in Toronto. He finished with a career save percentage of .920, although he was only in the NHL for nine seasons. His fairy tale career (he didn’t become a NHL regular until 32) should at least get his name brought up in front of the committee.

Chance of induction: 20%

Bruins through and through – current edition

Patrice Bergeron

He’s already surpassed 1,000 games and 800 points, in addition to winning the Selke Trophy four times. Bergeron is in the rare class of current players that you can say “if he retired today, he’d already be in.” And he’s got several years left to go.

Chance of induction: 100%

Zdeno Chara

You can say the same thing about the Bruins’ captain that was just said about Bergeron. He’s played more than 1,500 games, has more than 600 points (as a shutdown defenseman) and the best scorers of at least two eras will all vote him the player they most hated to face. Captaining a Stanley Cup champion and winning even one Norris in the era of Nicklas Lidstrom should put Chara over the top.

Chance of induction: 100%

Tuukka Rask

He’s been near the top of the all-time charts in save percentage throughout his career, right there with Dominik Hasek and Ken Dryden. He’s won the Vezina Trophy, will win more than 300 games by the time he’s done and has taken Boston to the Stanley Cup Final twice. He might be unappreciated in Boston, but even a committee that’s sometimes unimpressed by goalie numbers might look at his career with clearer eyes.

Chance of induction: 75%

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