This Bruins team has lacked a franchise forward, well since, the days of Cam Neely and Adam Oates.
This organization, for one reason or another, has lacked a franchise forward, or failed to keep one since the early-mid 90s.
Adam Oates was on pace for another spectacular season during the 1996-97 season, but was traded to Washington along with Bill Ranford and Rick Tocchet for Anson Carter, Jim Carey, Jason Allison and a 3rd round pick (Lee Goren). This deal was understandable, as Carey was supposed to be the next Hasek and be a staple behind this franchise for the next decade. He didn’t pan out. Carter became a solid top six forward, until he was dealt because of contract issues and his return netted Bill Guerin. Allison became a force during his time here, eventually becoming captain.
Jason Allison was becoming a dominant force in the NHL, coming off of 83, 76, and 95 point seasons. The Bruins refused to meet his contract demands, and traded the captain to Los Angeles along with Mikko Eloranta for Glen Murray and Jozef Stumpel. Muzz went on to be a great sniper for a few seasons before injuries cost him his career. Stumpel had a solid season in Boston before being dealt back to LA for a 4th and 2nd round pick (Martins Karsums).
Bill Guerin came in from the Anson Carter trade. Him along with Joe Thornton had great chemistry, and Guerin potted 69 goals in 142 games with the Bruins. Like Allison, the Bruins refused to meet him contract demands, and let him walk to Dallas for a lucrative deal. Luckily Glen Murray replaced Guerin as the new sniper.
In 1997, the Bruins had the 1st overall pick and selected Joe Thornton. Thornton had shown the talent he had, and had come off of a 1oo point season, and a 73 point season before the lockout. He was heading into his prime at the age of 26 and was clearly on pace for a 100 plus points. He was the franchise. For some reason, the Bruins traded him just 23 games into the season in one of the worst trades in NHL history, to San Jose for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau. Thornton went on to win MVP that season finishing with 96 assists and 125 points. This trade somehow “led” to the signings of Marc Savard and Zdeno Chara. Although Thornton struggled in the playoffs, he is still a guy who is a top 5 or 10 player in this league. The return for the deal was awful and set this franchise back three years.
Phil Kessel was the 5th overall pick in in the 2005 NHL draft, and was once considered to be better than Sidney Crosby. His first few years were nothing great, but he showed glimpses of talent. In his third year, at only 21, he scored 36 goals. As an RFA, Kessel was upset with the organization and refused to sign. He was traded to Toronto for 2 1st round picks and a 2nd. These picks were projected to be middle 1st rounders. Kessel then signed a 4 year deal worth 5.4 million per season. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli went on to say he wasn’t a Bruins type of player.
Everyone but Kessel was not under the current regime, but as you can see, the Bruins have traded away all of their potential franchise forwards, and have failed to get a fair return. So when you look at this team struggling and wonder where is are sniper, well he was traded, just like our former all-star forwards.