With the Hockey Hall of Fame announcing its new class on Wednesday, June 21st, one should have noticed that there was a theme that really had not been present before.
That theme was goaltenders. This year, the selection committee announced that three goaltenders would be going into its Hall of Fame.
One of them was an obvious choice in former New York Rangers great Henrik Lundqvist. He had well over 400 wins, had great numbers, performed well internationally, and the only thing that was missing from his unbelievable hockey resume was a Stanley Cup.
Related Story: Lundqvist Inducted Into Hall of Fame
Mike Vernon (Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, and Florida Panthers) was another goaltender that was chosen this year. He won two Stanley Cups (1989 with the Calgary Flames and 1997 with the Detroit Red Wings), was a Conn Smythe Trophy winner (1997), won 385 games, played in the NHL All-Star Game five times (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1993), and was a second-team All-Star in the 1988-89 season.
The other goaltender that got selected this year was one that did not get the positive attention that he deserved throughout his 18 seasons in the NHL. I am talking about Tom Barrasso (Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and St. Louis Blues).
As can be seen below, Barasso accomplished a lot in his NHL career:
- Won back-to-back Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992
- Won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 1984
- Won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender in 1984
- Was a first-team NHL All-Star in 1984
- Was a second-team NHL All-Star in 1985
- Played in the 1985 NHL All-Star Game
- Was a second-team NHL All-Star in 1993
- Has the most consecutive wins in one NHL playoff season – 11 in 1992
- Has most consecutive NHL playoff wins – 14 (May 9, 1992, to April 22, 1993)
- Has the most playoff wins by an American goaltender – 61.
In looking at the above, a lot of people will point out that the likes of Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Kevin Stevens, and Mark Recchi (1991) were the main reasons why the Penguins won back-to-back Cups. While part of that is certainly true, Barrasso certainly was not a slouch in those postseasons.
In 1991, Barrasso went 12-7 with a 2.60 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage, and one shutout. The next year, he went 16-5 with a 2.82 goals-against average, a .907 save percentage, and one shutout.
Those are respectable numbers for a goaltender that was playing on a team that liked to take chances offensively. More often than not, Barrasso was there to clean up any mistakes that the Penguins made.
Barrasso was also a phenomenal puck handler. He currently has the most assists and points by a goaltender with 48. While that number was easy to achieve playing with the great offensive players that he had around him, he was still able to get the puck to them in order to go down and score a goal.
He may not have been talked about a lot throughout his playing career or even after it, but there is no doubt that Barrasso earned his spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame with a wonderful career.