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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One Star, One Sheet - Tom Barrasso

Tom Barrasso

369 Career Wins
2 Stanley Cups
1984 Calder and Vezina Winner

  Tom Barrasso, the 5th overall pick in the 1983 draft, made the jump straight from high school hockey to the NHL.  As a Buffalo Sabre, he won the Calder, Vezina and was selected as a First-Team All-Star in rookie season.  Barrasso could have been a Los Angeles King.  The Kings traded the 5th overall pick in the 1983 draft to the Sabres for Rick Martin in March of 1981.  Oddly enough, it was almost a year after the LA King traded their 1982 first round choice to the Buffalo Sabres for Jerry Korab.  The Sabres turned that pick into Phil Housley.  You would have the Kings would have learned not to trade away picks after trading away a first round pick in the 1979 draft to the Boston Bruins for goalie Ron Grahame.  The Bruins selected Raymond Bourque.
  Barrasso followed up his rookie season by leading the league in GAA and winning the William Jennings trophy.  He would be the Sabres main man in net until 1988.  After getting off to a horrendous start, 2-7-0 with a 4.95 GAA, the moody Barrasso was upset over losing his starting job to Daren Puppa.  As tensions between the netminding duo mounted, Buffalo was forced to make a choice.  On November 12th, 1988, Barrasso was shipped to Pittsburgh.
  Barrasso played a key role in helping the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.  He still holds the Penguins single season record with 43 wins in 1992-93.  Barrasso could have really padded his starts, except he missed almost two complete season with injuries, 1994-95 and 1996-97.  During the 1997-98 season, Barrasso became the first American goalie to win 300 career games.  Barrasso's time in Pittsburgh was tarnished by his feuds with teammates and the media.  He infamously refused all interviews for an entire season.
  At the 2000 trade deadline, Barrasso was traded to the Ottawa Senators for another goalie, Ron Tugnutt.  Once again Barrasso had another run-in with the media, this letting a swear word slip during a post-game interview with CBC.  "I really couldn't give a shit what you people (the media) have to say,"
  That brief bit of controvesy and a first round play-off exit helped end Barrasso's time in Ottawa.  Over the next two seasons, he would have stops in Carolina, Toronto and St. Louis before retiring.  Before officially retiring, he signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, so he could retire as a Penguin.
  Barrasso finished his career with a nice haul of hardware; two Stanley Cups, an Olympic silver medal (he was a back-up in 2002), a Vezina, a Calder, a William Jennings, and was a 1st or 2nd team All-Star three times.  Unfortunately, Barrasso rubbed a number of people the wrong way and his feuds with teammates and the media tarnished his reputation. 
  Is Barrasso HHOF worthy?  I think he's borderline at best and his interactions with the media made it even harder for him to get the votes.  I put Barrasso on par with another HHOF outsider, Curtis Joseph, but ahead of 2014 eligible, Chris Osgood

1 comment:

  1. I put him ahead of Joseph - though their stats are similar, the hardware speaks for itself.

    As for the Hall, I don't mind either way. His GAA was average, and he didn't take sub-par teams to a level they wouldn't have reached without him (think of Roy or Theodore with the Habs, Vokoun or Vanbiesbrouck with the Panthers).

    He was the best American goalie of his era, right before Mike Richter's time to shine - though the level of elite American goalies wasn't the same then as it is now.