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Tom Barrasso
Hockey Hall of Fame, 2023
Tom Barrasso.jpg
Barrasso (right) in 2008
Born (1965-03-31) March 31, 1965 (age 58)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Right
Played for Buffalo Sabres
Pittsburgh Penguins
Ottawa Senators
Carolina Hurricanes
Toronto Maple Leafs
St. Louis Blues
National team Flag of the United States.svg United States
NHL Draft 5th overall, 1983
Buffalo Sabres
Playing career 1983–2002

Thomas Patrick Barrasso (born March 31, 1965) is an American professional ice hockey coach and former professional ice hockey goaltender. He played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 18 seasons. He began his time in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, who selected him fifth overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft out of high school. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1988, where he would best be remembered and spend the majority of his career. He spent parts of 12 seasons with the Penguins, and was a Stanley Cup champion in 1991 and 1992. After being traded to the Ottawa Senators in March 2000 and sitting out the 2000–01 season, his final two seasons were split playing for the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and St. Louis Blues. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009 and has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2023.

After retiring as a player, Barrasso served on the coaching staff of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. In 2012, Barrasso was hired by Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) as a member of its coaching staff. In 2016 he joined Asiago Hockey of the Alps Hockey League as their head coach, winning the 2017–18 league championship. In October 2018, Barrasso was hired as head coach of the EIHL's Sheffield Steelers.

Playing career

Early career

Barrasso grew up in the town of Stow, Massachusetts, playing ice hockey on an outdoor rink. He started playing goaltender at the age of five years and by the time he was a teenager, was playing in net for Acton-Boxborough with fellow NHL players Bob Sweeney and Jeff Norton. Barrasso was considered one of the most promising American goaltending prospects of all time. He was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres with the 5th overall pick in 1983. Skipping a college career, he went straight from high school to the NHL. At the time of his debut with the Sabres on October 5, 1983, less than six months after graduating from high school, Barrasso was the youngest goaltender to play and win a game in the NHL since Harry Lumley nearly forty years prior. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy and Vezina Trophy in his first season, becoming the third player to win both awards in the same year.

Pittsburgh Penguins

On November 12, 1988, the Sabres traded Barrasso, with a third round draft pick in the 1990 draft (Joe Dziedzic) to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Doug Bodger and Darrin Shannon.

Barrasso won the Stanley Cup twice, in 1991 and 1992. It was his play in these Cup runs that established him as a "money goalie". In the following years, Barrasso almost entirely missed two seasons, the 1994–95 NHL season and the 1996–97 NHL season with injuries but came back with good performances in the next years. In 1997, he became the first American goaltender to record 300 NHL wins. A fiercely proud competitor, in his later seasons in Pittsburgh he developed a strained relationship with the local media, who he felt were disrespectful of him and his family. This probably factors into why his #35 was not retired by the Penguins (current starting goaltender Tristan Jarry currently wears #35), as only Mario Lemieux's and Michel Brière's jerseys are retired, while Jaromír Jágr's number has been removed from circulation with the intent to retire it in the future. On November 11, 2023, it was announced that Jagr's number is being retired.

Last years

In March 2000, Barrasso was traded to the Ottawa Senators for Ron Tugnutt and Janne Laukkanen in a deal that was seen as a risk for both teams. He was uneven in Ottawa, going 3–4 in seven starts and losing the first two games of Ottawa's first round series with rivals Toronto before bouncing back and winning the next two games to even the series. ..... Barrasso would apologize the next day for using vulgar language, although he stood by his sentiments in the interview, stating the year had been very stressful for him. The Senators would go on to lose the next two games and the series to the Maple Leafs in six games.

After his playoff run with Ottawa, Barrasso's contract expired and he did not to re-sign with the Senators. He then spent the entire 2000–01 season out of hockey to be with his family, following the cancer diagnosis of his daughter and death of his father from cancer. Following a favourable prognosis of his daughter's condition and regaining mental clarity following what Barasso described as a difficult year in his personal life, Barasso returned to hockey signing a one-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on July 17, 2001, for the 2001–02 season. Barasso also enjoyed some international success this season, winning a Silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics playign for Team USA. Barasso expressed interest in playing with the Hurricanes following a June 2001 dinner with former Pittsburgh teammate Ron Francis, who had since joined Carolina.

Although Barasso had strong play in Carolina splitting the net with Artūrs Irbe, on March 14, 2002, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Toronto's fourth round pick in the 2003 NHL draft. He made his Toronto debut on March 21, in a 4–3 loss to the Washington Capitals. Ultimately, Barrasso would only appear in four games with Toronto, and not make a single post-season appearance, before Toronto was eliminated in the third round of the playoffs to the Hurricanes. Barrasso was not signed to a new contract following the Maple Leafs' elimination, becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Unsigned to a new deal in the NHL offseason, Barrasso began the season a free agent before later signing a contract with the St. Louis Blues on November 4, 2002. Barrasso would only appear in 6 contests with the Blues between November 12 and 29, recording 1 win, before mutually agreeing with the team to release him from his contract on December 28. Unsigned for the rest of the season, Barrasso announced his retirement on June 19, 2003. He signed a pro forma contract with Pittsburgh on the day he declared retirement so he could leave hockey as a Penguin.

In 2023, Barrasso was named as an inductee to that year's Hockey Hall of Fame class, to be formally inducted in November, after first being eligible for inclusion to the Hall in 2006. In the years following Barrasso's retirement, he had frequently been cited as a worthy candidate given his play and statistical accomplishments; however, Barrasso's confrontational and rude personality (particularity with members of the media) had been noted as explanations for why Barrasso was not named to the Hall of Fame for 17 years. Barrasso's public perception of having a difficult personality had existed since his playing days. When traded from Pittsburgh to Ottawa, Senators management received backlash from fans for acquiring Barrasso, with criticism directed to his personality and conflicts with teammates prior to the trade.

International play

Tom Barrasso
Medal record
Representing  United States
Men's ice hockey
Winter Olympics
Silver 2002 Salt Lake City Ice hockey

Barrasso won an Olympic silver medal as part of the U.S. national men's ice hockey team at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He played in one game, an 8–1 victory over Belarus on February 18.

Barrasso had originally intended to play for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team in Sarajevo, but chose to begin his professional career instead and left the team in September 1983 to sign with the Sabres. He made his debut for Team USA at the 1984 Canada Cup, at the age of 19. He also played in the 1983 World Junior Championships, the 1986 World Ice Hockey Championships and the 1987 Canada Cup.

Coaching career

Barrasso was goaltending coach (2007–09) and later assistant coach (2009–11) of the Carolina Hurricanes. In the 2012–13 season he moved to KHL's Metallurg Magnitogorsk as assistant coach. During the Summer of 2015 Slovan Bratislava hired Barrasso as goaltending coach, but on October 31 he left the team and moved to Italy's Valpellice as head coach. The team won the Coppa Italia, but refused to join the newly founded Alps Hockey League. Barrasso, however, did not leave Italy: he moved to Asiago as head coach. Barrasso was named as head coach of the Sheffield Steelers in the EIHL in October 2018.

On 26 June 2021, Barrasso was named as head coach of HC Varese in the IHL

Personal life

Barrasso and his wife Megan have three daughters, Ashley, Kelsey and Mallory. Barrasso founded the Ashley Barrasso Cancer Research Fund during the early 1990s after his oldest daughter survived a bout with neuroblastoma cancer. Ashley was originally diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2, beating it through a bone marrow transplant at 4 before the cancer returned in June 2000. At the time of its reappearance, the adolescent survival rate for her cancer was 20%. In April 2000, doctors determined that Ashley would make a recovery. Barrasso's father, Tom Barrasso Sr., was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor in April 1999 and died in January 2000. This combination of events caused Barrasso to lose interest in ice hockey and choose to not play in the 2000–01 season. Barrasso has since appeared in charity events to raise money for cancer research.

Records

  • Most NHL assists by a goaltender (career) – 48
  • Most NHL points by a goaltender (career) – 48
  • Shares record for most consecutive wins in one NHL regular season – 14 (March 9, 1993, to April 9, 1993)
  • Most consecutive NHL playoff wins – 14 (May 9, 1992, to April 22, 1993)
  • Shares record for most consecutive wins in one NHL playoff season – 11 in 1992
  • Shares record for most wins in one NHL playoff season – 16 (1992)
  • Most playoff wins by an American goaltender – 61

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV% GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1981–82 Acton-Boxborough Colonials High-MA 23 1035 32 7 1.86
1982–83 Acton-Boxborough Colonials High-MA 23 22 0 1 1035 17 10 0.99
1983–84 Buffalo Sabres NHL 42 26 12 3 2475 117 2 2.84 .893 3 0 2 139 8 0 3.45 .864
1984–85 Buffalo Sabres NHL 54 25 18 10 3248 144 5 2.66 .887 5 2 3 300 22 0 4.40 .854
1984–85 Rochester Americans AHL 5 3 1 1 267 6 1 1.35 .936
1985–86 Buffalo Sabres NHL 60 29 24 5 3561 214 2 3.61 .880
1986–87 Buffalo Sabres NHL 46 17 23 2 2501 152 2 3.65 .874
1987–88 Buffalo Sabres NHL 54 25 18 8 3133 173 2 3.31 .896 4 1 3 224 16 0 4.29 .867
1988–89 Buffalo Sabres NHL 10 2 7 0 545 45 0 4.95 .842
1988–89 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 44 18 15 7 2406 162 0 4.04 .888 11 7 4 641 40 0 3.80 .897
1989–90 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 24 7 12 3 1294 101 0 4.68 .865
1990–91 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 48 27 16 3 2754 165 1 3.59 .896 20 12 7 1175 51 1 2.60 .919
1991–92 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 57 25 22 9 3329 196 1 3.53 .885 21 16 5 1233 58 1 2.82 .907
1992–93 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 67 43 14 5 3702 186 4 3.01 .901 12 7 5 722 35 2 2.91 .905
1993–94 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 44 22 15 5 2482 139 2 3.36 .893 6 2 4 356 17 0 2.87 .895
1994–95 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 2 0 1 1 125 8 0 3.84 .893 2 0 1 80 8 0 6.00 .805
1995–96 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 49 29 16 2 2799 160 2 3.43 .902 10 4 5 558 26 1 2.80 .923
1996–97 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 5 0 5 0 270 26 0 5.78 .860
1997–98 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 63 31 14 13 3542 122 7 2.07 .922 6 2 4 376 17 0 2.71 .901
1998–99 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 43 19 16 3 2306 98 4 2.55 .901 13 6 7 787 35 1 2.67 .900
1999–2000 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 18 5 7 2 870 46 1 3.17 .881
1999–2000 Ottawa Senators NHL 7 3 4 0 418 22 0 3.16 .879 6 2 4 372 16 0 2.58 .905
2001–02 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 34 13 12 5 1908 83 2 2.61 .906
2001–02 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 4 2 2 0 219 10 0 2.50 .909
2002–03 St. Louis Blues NHL 6 1 4 0 293 16 1 3.28 .879
NHL totals 777 369 277 86 44,180 2,385 38 3.24 .892 119 61 54 6,953 349 6 3.01 .902

International

Year Team Event GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1983 United States WJC 3 140 12 0 5.14
1984 United States CC 5 2 2 1 252 13 0 3.10
1986 United States WC 5 260 18 0 4.15
1987 United States CC 1 0 1 0 60 5 0 5.00
2002 United States OG 1 1 0 0 60 1 0 1.00
Junior totals 3 140 12 0 5.14
Senior totals 12 632 37 0 3.51

Awards and achievements

Awards

Career Achievements

  • #3 in career NHL wins by a left-handed goaltender
  • #4 in career NHL wins by a US-born Goaltender (369)
  • #15 in career playoff wins (61, tied with Henrik Lundqvist).
  • #20 all time in career regular season saves (19695).
  • #21 career regular season wins (369).
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