Carolina Hurricanes: Ghosts of Goaltenders Past

27 Nov 2001: Goaltender Tom Barrasso #35 of the Carolina Huricanes guards the net during the NHL game against the Toronto Malple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Hurricanes defeated the Maple Leafs 5-2. Mandatory Copyright Notice: 2001 NHLI Mandatory Credit: Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI
27 Nov 2001: Goaltender Tom Barrasso #35 of the Carolina Huricanes guards the net during the NHL game against the Toronto Malple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Hurricanes defeated the Maple Leafs 5-2. Mandatory Copyright Notice: 2001 NHLI Mandatory Credit: Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI /
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27 Nov 2001: Goaltender Tom Barrasso #35 of the Carolina Huricanes guards the net during the NHL game against the Toronto Malple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Hurricanes defeated the Maple Leafs 5-2. Mandatory Copyright Notice: 2001 NHLI Mandatory Credit: Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI
27 Nov 2001: Goaltender Tom Barrasso #35 of the Carolina Huricanes guards the net during the NHL game against the Toronto Malple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Hurricanes defeated the Maple Leafs 5-2. Mandatory Copyright Notice: 2001 NHLI Mandatory Credit: Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI /

Tom Barrasso

Tom Barrasso is unquestionably the most decorated goalie on this list.  The Massachusetts native was a can’t-miss prospect when he was drafted 5th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1983 draft.  Barrasso came into the NHL straight out of high school and promptly won the Calder and Vezina trophies.

After that auspicious start, Barrasso found his way to Pittsburgh where he led the Penguins to consecutive Stanley Cup victories in 1991 and 1992 (though Frank Pietrangelo played strong in relief of an injured Barrasso in 91).  Wrist and shoulder injuries derailed Barrasso’s career and he was dealt to the Ottawa Senators in 2000, playing in all of 7 games.

The injury bug reappeared, costing Barrasso all of the 2000-2001 season.  In July of 2001, the 36-year-old Barrasso signed a one-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes to bolster their depth in net.

"“We are excited to get an elite goalie like Tom.  This will strengthen our goaltending. He is a proven veteran with a wealth of experience that will certainly benefit our organization.” -Jim Rutherford"

While no longer an elite goalie, Barrasso did post the best stats of his career since being traded out of Pittsburgh:

Four days before the 2002 trade deadline, Barrasso was moved to Toronto for a 4th round pick (Kevin Nastiuk, 126th overall).  After finishing the season with the Maple Leafs, Barrasso played in six games for the St. Louis Blues during the 2002-03 season before signing an honorary contract that allowed him to retire as a Pittsburgh Penguin.

After retiring, Barrasso joined the Carolina Hurricanes as a goaltending coach for 2 seasons and then as an assistant coach for 2 more.  Barrasso has also served in various coaching roles in the KHL and in Europe.

Reflections: Barrasso was near the end of his storied career when he arrived in Raleigh.  While his season with the Hurricanes wasn’t bad, Rutherford made the right call in moving him to Toronto as the duo of Irbe and Weekes carried the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Final.

Then again, Barrasso made a name for himself as a clutch playoff performer.  Maybe he could have helped the Hurricanes overcome a stacked Red Wings team.  Nah, probably not.  Barrasso didn’t see any playoff action in Toronto, who the Hurricanes knocked out in the Eastern Conference Final.