NHL.com's John Kreiser recently ranked
the Top 10 playmakers of all-time and two Bruins appeared on the list, with Adam Oates and Bobby Orr coming in at numbers three and two, respectively...
--- 3. Adam Oates
If you were a goal-scorer, Oates was the guy you wanted on your line. Though he was never drafted and didn't begin his NHL career until age 23, Oates became one of the most prolific passers in NHL history - his assist total in the 1990s was second only to Wayne Gretzky. He led the League in assists three times and was in the top 10 on 12 occasions.
Oates is also the only player in NHL history to center for three 50-goal scorers. He was the principal setup man for Brett Hull in St. Louis, Cam Neely in Boston and Peter Bondra in Washington. Oates had 79 or more assists in five consecutive seasons from 1989-90 to '93-94, then let the NHL in assists in 2000-01 and repeated in '01-02 -- at the age of 39.
His prolific passing skills (1,079 career assists) earned Oates a berth in the Hockey Hall of Fame - he will be inducted this fall. 2. Bobby Orr
Orr's career offensive totals have been eclipsed by several defensemen in the three-plus decades since his knees forced him to retire at age 31. But it's hard to picture any defenseman putting up the kind of offensive numbers Orr produced before his knees went out.
Orr was the fastest skater of his day -- maybe the fastest player ever -- and was the first defenseman to rush the puck on a regular basis. But he was most dangerous when he led the rush and was able to dish to a teammate for a wide-open shot. Orr didn't want his teammates standing around watching him skate around opponents -- he wanted them involved, ready to receive a pass when the defense tried to stop him.
Orr is still the only defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring - he did it in 1970-71 with 139 points, 102 of which were assists. He had at least 72 assists and 101 points in each of his last six full seasons.
While Oates and Orr spent considerably different amounts of time in Boston, they both left their marks as prolific passers.
Oates played in five-plus seasons for the Black & Gold, collecting 357 assists in 368 games. In the 1992-’93 season, he led all players with 97 assists. He was a part of five Bruins playoff teams, and was a vital part of the team’s success. In the 1992-’93, he led the entire NHL in game-winning goals with 11, helping the Bruins to win the Adams Division.
Obviously, Orr is a player who needs no introduction. Number Four won eight consecutive Norris Trophies, but left his impact on the game from his two-way play, and playmaking abilities. Five times Orr led the entire NHL in assists, and recorded 645 assists in his 657-game career.
In the 1970-’71 season, Orr shattered the plus-minus record—which he still holds—posting a plus-124 season, a testament to not only his tremendous offensive abilities, but also his clinical defensive aptitude.
For more on NHL.com's take on the NHL's most prolific passers, click here