Boston Bruins: Why Rick Middleton should be a Hall-of-Famer

NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 12: Former NHL players Glenn Anderson
NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 12: Former NHL players Glenn Anderson /

Not so “nifty” that Rick Middleton, one of the greatest Boston Bruins right wingers of all time, is still not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

There are many mysteries in life that I will most likely not be around to discover the answers to.  Is Big foot real?  Do aliens exist?  Where does that missing sock go from the wash?  I’m OK without the answers to these questions.  I am not however, able to comprehend how one of the greatest clutch performers and most skilled right wingers in the history of the Boston Bruins and the NHL is still not getting the recognition he so justly deserves.

Rick Middleton was a 1st round pick (14th overall) in the 1973 NHL draft by the NY Rangers and retired after the 1988 season with 448 goals and 540 assists for 988 points in 1005 NHL games.  Pretty impressive right?

Middleton was traded to the Boston Bruins on May 26,1976 for Ken Hodge.  Some very big shoes to fill.  But Middleton went on to be one of the most entertaining players of his time.  His slick one-on-one moves and ability to undress defenders gained him the nickname “Nifty”.

UNIONDALE, NY – APRIL 16: Patrick Flatley
UNIONDALE, NY – APRIL 16: Patrick Flatley /

As for filling those shoes, Middleton would score 105 points in the 1983-84 season to tie Ken Hodge (the player he was traded for) for the Boston Bruins team record for most points in a season by a right winger.

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Coming through in the clutch

Rick Middleton holds the No. 2 all time career shooting percentage (19.7%) among players with 400+ goals.  Still not enough of a reason for Middleton to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?  How about a 51 goal season and a Lady Byng Trophy in the 1981-82 season.

Oh and did you know that Middleton still holds the NHL record for most points (33) for a player not advancing to the finals in the playoffs as well as most points (19) in a playoff series in the 1981-82 quarterfinals versus the Buffalo Sabres.

In fact, Middleton finished his career with 45 goals and 55 assists for 100 points in 114 playoff games.  So yeah, he could deliver in the clutch.


Rick Middleton was named Co-Captain of the Boston Bruins with Ray Bourque in 1985.  The Boston Bruins prolific right winger was a 3 time NHL All-Star in 1981, 1982 and 1984.  Middleton also represented Team Canada in two Canada Cup series in 1981 and 1984 recording 4 goals and 4 assists.

Next: Boston Bruins Top 5 Wingers Of All Time

While he never won a Stanley Cup, Rick Middleton was one of the most entertaining Boston Bruins players of all time and for him not to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame will continue to be one of the great mysteries of my life.