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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.