Welcome to Last Word on Hockey’s One-Hit Wonder series. Each day, we will take a look at a new team’s three biggest one-hit wonders. These are players that had one great season or playoff run but never did anything like that again. Join us every day for a new team! Today we take a look at the Boston Bruins One-Hit Wonders.
Boston Bruins Top Three One-Hit Wonders
Andrew Raycroft stands as one of the most interesting, and maybe even most important, names in the Bruins’ history. More than anything, the 5th round draft choice from 1998 is known as the guy who brought Tuukka Rask to Boston in 2006. This would pretty much explain the story of why would the Toronto Maple Leafs eventually trade Rask and why the Bruins didn’t like Raycroft after all.
In his first three seasons in Boston, Raycroft managed to play in only 21 games with average stats. The best of him was to come in the 2003-04 season, shortly before the lockout. The Canadian goaltender could never repeat his one-hit season.
Raycroft ended the 2003-04 season with a massive success breakout. At the end of the campaign, Raycroft claimed a Calder Trophy for the best rookie player in the NHL that season. He recorded 2.05 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage, and a 29-18-9 record in 57 regular-season tilts with the Bruins. In the playoffs, Boston lost in seven games versus the Montreal Canadiens. Raycroft was able to repeat his stats from the regular season.
In that season, the Bruins won the Northeast Division and ended second in the Eastern Conference. Raycroft was backed up by Felix Potvin. Back then, Joe Thornton was the Bruins’ captain, while Patrice Bergeron was a rookie. However, the better rookie that season was goaltender Raycroft.
After the Wonder
In the following season, Raycroft went on to play in only 11 games in Finland. He was never able to maintain the pulse from the humongous 2003-04 season. In the 2005-06 NHL season, he played in 30 games posting a save percentage of only .879 and a goals-against average of 3.72. That was not something that the Bruins’ management would expect. Boston ended up well-below the playoff line.
However, Tim Thomas managed to play in 38 games and emerged as the number-one goaltender in Boston. Thomas later delivered the Stanley Cup with a Conn Smythe Trophy icing on the cake. The Bruins traded Raycroft, who hoped to reestablish his stride somewhere else. The Maple Leafs justified picking up Raycroft playing him in 72 games in the 2006-07 season. Nevertheless, Raycroft posted the GAA of 2.99 and SV% of .894. He ended up playing only 19 more games for Toronto.
Raycroft, a part of the Boston Bruins’ one-hit wonders, went from the Colorado Avalanche to the Vancouver Canucks and finished his NHL career with the Dallas Stars. His promising Calder Trophy season was really just a one-hit-wonder. After his retirement in 2014, Raycroft moved back to Boston and spent his time as a goaltending coach.
Another great example of how a rookie season might be tremendously tough to repeat. For Joe Juneau, it was Raycroft-type of career. Juneau was drafted from the fourth round in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, and the Bruins had not expected him to be a star player one day. In the 1991-92 season, the Canadian left-winger got a taste of the NHL action playing in 14 games. In those 14 tilts, Juneau recorded 19 points. Moreover, Juneau was an Olympic hero for Team Canada.
In the 1992 Winter Olympics, Juneau scored six goals and nine assists for 15 points. Canada could not win the Final, but Juneau returned to Boston with a lot of hype. The hype was justified with 19 points in 14 regular-season meetings, followed by another 12 points in 15 playoff games. The best was yet to come, though.
Playing on the line with legendary names as Adam Oates and Cam Neely, Juneau was a perfect fit for that Bruins’ line. In the season, when Oates had 142 points, Juneau managed to gather 102 points. For a rookie, that a remarkable feat. His 70 assists are still an NHL record for a rookie left wing.
The Bruins benefited from a great team of players as the captain Ray Bourque, Oates, Neely or Don Sweeney, all ended up on the second team in the Eastern Conference. Despite Juneau’s six points in four games in the 1993 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Bruins were swept by the Buffalo Sabres in that first round.
After the Wonder
Juneau benefited from playing with Neely and Oates. However, there was much hope and hype for the young forward to keep up his skyrocketing production. In his sophomore season, Juneau added 72 points for the Bruins, and 13 points for the Washington Capitals after a trade. However, Juneau only passed a 60-point plateau once more for the rest of his career.
After playing for the Capitals, the Sabres, the Ottawa Senators, and the Phoenix Coyotes, Juneau retired as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. Such a fitting end for once a rookie, who scored more than 100 points for the Bruins. From a 102-point player, Juneau went on to average only 41 points in his following 11 NHL seasons.
Ken Hodge Jr.
Ken Hodge was a star player for the Boston Bruins era of Bobby Orr when the Bruins claimed two Stanley Cups in 1970 and 1972. Twice during his career, Hodge reached 105 points, while ending up fundamental for the Bruins’ Stanley Cup runs. His son, Ken Hodge, played for the Boston College after being selected in the third round of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota North Stars.
There wasn’t much noise around for the son of a Bruins’ legendary player. His NHL debut ended up in despair, as he posted only two points in Minnesota. However, all changed when Hodge Jr. found himself in Boston ahead of the 1990-91 season following a trade. The hope for paralleled greatness as his father obtained was an instinctive desire among all prospects in the league.
Improbably, Hodge Jr. truly lived up to the expectations. In the 1990-91 season, he was the fourth most productive player on the quality Bruins’ roster. Despite starting the season in the AHL, Hodge Jr. turned out to be a substantial presence for Boston. The Bruins coached by Mike Milbury won the Eastern Conference. Hodge had 30 goals and 29 assists for 59 points in 70 games. Hodge Jr. made his presence felt a lot in Boston.
In 15 playoff games, Hodge Jr. posted 10 points to continue his impressive breakout season. Unfortunately for him and his team, the Bruins blew a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After the Wonder
Who would have thought it, that Ken Hodge Jr. would never even play 70 NHL games again? After a disappointing stint with the Bruins in the upcoming 1991-92 season, where he recorded 17 points in 42 games, Boston traded him to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He only played in 25 games in Tampa Bay, collecting nine points.
Hodge Jr. retired in 1998 after a rather insignificant NHL career. His only real season came with Boston in 1990-91. Many of the Bruins’ fans dreamed this could have had a better outing, maybe with the Cup in that season, or with him continuing the momentum. However, his passion for the game continues to live on. He has worked with several youth camps and organizations as a coach. Notwithstanding, Hodge Jr. probably stands for the biggest Boston Bruins’ one-hit wonders ever.