How The Chicago Blackhawks Helped Shape The Boston Bruins Organization
BY JOSHUA NOVEMBER 8, 2023 (0:10)
In 1967, one trade defined the Boston Bruins and the year as the team received one NHL superstar who would define their identity.
Due to expansion, many NHL teams know they will lose their superstars, so they re-tool their rosters to compensate if they cannot get the value they want for the players lost.
Since the Boston Bruins were bottom-dwellers prior to 1967, they would benefit from the expansion. A playoff appearance for the Bruins had not been achieved since 1958-1959. Eddie Shack would be acquired from Toronto on May 15th for Murray Oliver, and he would be traded for him before the roster freeze. To replace Red Kelly, this would be necessary.
With a huge trade, the Bruins would surrender young defenseman Giles Marrotte to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Chicago Blackhawks will also receive Pit Martin and Jack Norris, a minor league goalkeeper.
Philadelphia Blackhawks were eager to rid themselves of Phil Esposito, the seventh-highest scorer in the NHL during the 1966-1967 season. The Blackhawks management blamed Esposito for their loss to Toronto, losing the Stanley Cup to the Maple Leafs.
Esposito, according to the team, was too soft and was not a good fit. The tall center was joined by Fred Stanfield and Ken Hodge, former linemates of the Hawks junior A team in St. Catherines. His last few seasons were split between the CPHL and NHL, and he was rumored to be headed to the Blues, but instead was sent to Boston by the Hawks.
The Hawks felt they had finessed the Bruins by prying Marotte from the team, and had the benefit of being paired with Bobby Orr, but he would never live up to expectations afterward. Pit Martin was thought to be the opposite of Phil Esposito, a tough playmaker, but it would take him years to produce as they expected.
After only ten games in the NHL, Norris became a career minor leaguer and ended his career in the WHA.
Esposito would end up being the 1C the Bruins had hoped for paired up with Ken Hodge, and he would finish in second place in scoring in the NHL behind his former teammate Stan Mikita. Six times, he would lead the league in goals, and he would also win two Stanley Cups.
In 1980-1981, Esposito would end his career with the New York Rangers following a blockbuster trade. As a result of Esposito's playmaking skills, Ken Hodge scored 25 goals for the Bruins in his first season. In time, the line would become one of the most feared in the NHL when Wayne Cashman was added.
As part of his trade for Rick Middleton, Hodge would end his career with the New York Yankees, spending part of his last year in the AHL before retiring.
During his six years with the Bruins, Stanfield had the pleasure of playing alongside Johnny Buyck and John McKenzie. During his time in Boston, he never scored fewer than 20 goals, and he was a versatile player who played both on the penalty kill and on the power play.
In 1973-1974, he was traded to the Minnesota North Stars for goalie Giles Gilbert, and halfway through his second season in Minnesota, he was traded to Buffalo. He would finish his career in AHL Hershey.
Thanks to GM Milt Schmidt, these three Blackhawks were traded to make the Boston Bruins a legend, a powerhouse team that made the playoffs for 29 consecutive seasons.
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