January 8, 2013

100 Greatest Players from New England: 100-76

By Jesse Connolly

No matter how popular advanced metrics might get someday, the fact remains that no complex formula condensed into a cleverly acronymic stat — WHIP? Nice one, baseball — will ever be capable of measuring greatness in the game of hockey.

Like the chain of command in a beehive, there are numerous moving parts all tasked with different objectives. You have your gifted goal scorers and your star setup men who stand out for obvious reasons. But who’s better: an extraordinary fighter or an exceptional penalty killer? How about a 50-goal scorer versus an Olympic legend, or a Hobey Baker winner versus a Calder Cup champion? How does one even begin to compare a player born in 1990 with one born in 1890, or those from the dreaded dead-puck era with the high-flying ’80s?

No easy feat, right? Well we’re giving it a shot. At some points along the way, you’ll be nodding in agreement, but there will be others when you think we’re flat-out nuts. That’s what makes things like this so fun.

Without further adieu, here’s New England Hockey Journal’s ranking of the 100 Greatest Players from New England.

100. Ryan Shannon
Undersized playmaker
Center | Darien, Conn. | March 2, 1983

A point-per-game player in three of his four seasons at BC, the 2007 Cup champ (pictured right) has been a solid NHL third-liner.

NHL career: 2006-present
NHL totals: 305 games, 99 points

99. Scott Fusco 
Hobey winner
Center | Burlington, Mass. | Jan. 21, 1963

Fusco was voted college hockey’s top player in 1986. The Hobey Baker winner remains Harvard’s all-time leading scorer.

College career: 1981-86
College totals: 123 games, 240 points

98. Peter Taglianetti
Gritty rearguard
Defense | Framingham, Mass. | Aug. 15, 1963

A product of Providence College, Taglianetti was a physical blueliner and a member of two Cup-winning squads in Pittsburgh.

NHL career: 1984-95
NHL totals: 451 games, 92 points

97. Jay Miller
Feared fighter
Left Wing | Wellesley, Mass. | July 16, 1960

Never afraid to drop the gloves, Miller racked up 1,723 penalty minutes in just 446 games with the Bruins and Kings.

NHL career: 1985-92
NHL totals: 446 games, 84 points

96. Kevin Regan
Winningest Wildcat
Goalie | South Boston, Mass. | July 25, 1984

Regan ranks first all-time in save percentage (.932) and fifth in winning percentage (.727) in the history of Hockey East league games.

College career: 2004-08
College totals: 112 games, 70-29-10 record

95. Cory Schneider 
Canucks keeper
Goalie | Marblehead, Mass. | March 18, 1986

The former BC star (pictured right) won the Jennings Trophy with Roberto Luongo in 2010-11 and is poised for a long, successful career in Vancouver.

NHL career: 2008-present
NHL totals: 68 games, 38-17-4 record

94. John Carter
The pride of RPI
Left Wing | Winchester, Mass. | May 3, 1963

Undrafted, Carter had a solid run as a secondary scorer. His nine points in 21 playoff games helped the Boston Bruins reach the Cup finals in 1990.

NHL career: 1986-93
NHL totals: 244 games, 90 points

93. Ian Moran
Steady defender
Defense | Acton, Mass. | Aug. 24, 1972

Never one to put up big numbers, Moran quietly played a solid role in the Penguins’ success in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

NHL career: 1994-2007
NHL totals: 489 games, 71 points

92. Ted Drury
A true grinder
Center | Trumbull, Conn. | Sept. 13, 1971

A high scorer at Harvard, Drury was a dependable bottom-six forward always capable of chipping in the odd goal.

NHL career: 1993-2000
NHL totals: 414 games, 93 points

91. Brian Pothier
Puck mover
Defense | New Bedford, Mass. | April 15, 1977

The former RPI rearguard topped the 25-assist mark twice and finished fifth among d-men at plus-29 in 2005-06.

NHL career: 2000-10
NHL totals: 362 games, 118 points

90. Tim Sweeney
Depth forward
Left Wing | Weymouth, Mass. | April 12, 1967

After winning IHL Rookie of the Year for 1989-90, Sweeney had a more than respectable run in the NHL that included two stints in Boston.

NHL career: 1990-98
NHL totals: 291 games, 138 points

89. Norm Dussault
American Canadien
Left Wing | Springfield, Mass. | Sept. 26, 1925

Dussault, who led the Montreal Canadiens in playoff scoring in 1950, was the only American-born player on the roster during his four-year tenure.

NHL career: 1947-51
NHL totals: 206 games, 93 points

88. Mark Kumpel
Energy guy
Forward | Wakefield, Mass. | March 7, 1961

After four years at the University of Lowell, Kumpel was a high-flying forward for the Nordiques, Red Wings and Jets.

NHL career: 1984-91
NHL totals: 288 games, 84 points

87. Jim Campbell
St. Louis sniper
Right Wing | Worcester, Mass. | April 3, 1973

A Lawrence Academy standout, Campbell (pictured right) was a two-time 20-goal scorer with the Blues and a member of the NHL All-Rookie Team in 1996-97.

NHL career: 1995-2006
NHL totals: 285 games, 136 points

86. Mark Fusco
Potent point man
Defense | Burlington, Mass. | March 12, 1961

Fusco’s 46 points in 33 games for Harvard in 1982-83 made him the first defenseman to win the Hobey Baker Award. He spent two seasons with the Whalers.

NHL career: 1983-85
NHL totals: 80 games, 15 points

85. Bob Brooke
1984 Olympian
Center | Acton, Mass. | Dec. 18, 1960

Brooke represented the U.S. internationally numerous times in the ’80s and had a solid seven-season NHL run before retiring at 30.

NHL career: 1984-90
NHL totals: 447 games, 166 points

84. Deron Quint
Responsible rearguard
Defense | Durham, N.H. | March 12, 1976

Quint was picked 30th overall out of the WHL by Winnipeg. In 10 NHL seasons, he never topped 30 penalty minutes.

NHL career: 1995-2007
NHL totals: 463 games, 143 points

83. Leland Harrington
Winning winger
Left Wing | Melrose, Mass. | Aug. 13, 1904

Following a Bruins stint, “Hago” won three CAHL championships in five years with the Providence Reds.

NHL career: 1925-33
NHL totals: 66 games, 12 points

82. John Cunniff
Beanpot hero
Left Wing | South Boston, Mass. | July 9, 1944

Cunniff, who played pro in the AHL and WHA, was a two-time All-American at BC and the first player named Beanpot MVP twice (1964, 1965).

College career: 1963-66
College totals: 75 games, 153 points

81. Mike Fidler
20-goal man

Left Wing | Everett, Mass. | Aug. 19, 1956

The BU product scored 63 goals in his first 183 NHL games but had his pro career shortened by injuries.

NHL career: 1976-83
NHL totals: 271 games, 181 points

80. Mike Sullivan
Savvy center
Center | Marshfield, Mass. | Feb. 27, 1968

A two-time Beanpot winner at BU, Sullivan parlayed a high hockey IQ into a 12-year career in the pros.

NHL career: 1991-2002
NHL totals: 709 games, 136 points

79. Ron Hainsey
Rich River Hawk
Defense | Bolton, Conn. | March 24, 1981

Drafted 13th by Montreal in 2000, Hainsey (pictured right) broke out with the Blue Jackets and nabbed a $22.5 million deal with the Atlanta Thrashers (now Winnipeg Jets).

NHL career: 2002-present
NHL totals: 544 games, 179 points

78. Richie Dunn
Buffalo blueliner
Defense | Boston, Mass. | May 12, 1957

In a career spent primarily with the Sabres, Dunn’s best work came from 1979 to 1981 when he had 87 points and was plus-46 in 159 games.

NHL career: 1977-89
NHL totals: 483 games, 176 points

77. Bill Riley
Big Green’s greatest
Forward | Medford, Mass. | Oct. 6, 1921

Dartmouth’s all-time leading scorer led the team to a 68-11-2 record during his stint there, which was interrupted by World War II military service. Riley’s career college totals are amazing — he averaged nearly three points per game.

College career: 1943-49
College totals: 71 games, 218 points

76. Bill Moe
Hockey pioneer
Defense | Danvers, Mass. | Oct. 2, 1916

Moe led Rangers defensemen in scoring twice during his five seasons with the team. He was one of just three Americans in the NHL at the time.

NHL career: 1944-49
NHL totals: 261 games, 53 points

Check back tomorrow for Nos. 75-51. In case you missed it, here were the 50 runners-up.

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.

This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of New England Hockey Journal.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com