When a player is so well known in one particular jersey, it’s hard sometimes to remember each and every team he’s played for. In this series, we’re taking a look at some former NHLers who suited up for the Toronto Maple Leafs – even if for a brief time – during their careers.
While they may not be forgotten by the full definition of the word, their time in Toronto flies under the radar when talking about their NHL careers. With that, we’ll be looking to delve in to their careers, how they became Maple Leafs and how their days went in a blue and white jersey.
He’s probably best remembered for his time with the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins, but nearing the end of his career goaltender Tom Barrasso had short stints with four other clubs – including the Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, St. Louis Blues and the Maple Leafs. Even if it was short-lived, Barrasso did don the Maple Leafs jersey for a short period of time.
Barrasso Becoming a Maple Leaf
After signing with the Hurricanes as a free agent on July 17, 2001, Barrasso suited up for 34 games with Carolina. His numbers were – we’ll say average – and the Hurricanes decided to move the 36-year-old midway through March.
On Mar. 15, 2002, the Hurricanes shipped Barrasso out to the Maple Leafs for Toronto’s fourth-round pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft – a pick that was eventually used to select goaltender Kevin Nastiuk 126th overall.
Barrasso suited up for four games with the Maple Leafs before he joined the Blues as a free agent in Nov. 2002.
Donning the Blue Maple Leaf
Barrasso’s Maple Leafs’ career was beyond short-lived. After coming over from the Hurricanes, the 36-year-old suited up in just four games for the Maple Leafs. He finished with two wins and two losses giving up 10 goals over that span.
His Maple Leafs’ career ended with a .909 save percentage and a 2.74 goals against average – both well above his career averages in each of the respective categories.
The Maple Leafs went on to run with their original starter in Curtis Joseph who carried them through the playoffs right up until a run-in with Barrasso’s former club – the Hurricanes – in the Eastern Conference Final.
Barrasso moved on to the Blues the following year, where his playing career came to an end.
The Rest of Barrasso’s Career
While his playing days ended in St. Louis, Barrasso signed a contract with the Penguins on June 18, 2003, before retiring on the same day as a member of the Penguins.
Barrasso was drafted fifth overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. He debuted the following season in 1983-84 as an 18-year-old and had a year that made a name for him in the NHL. That season he played in 42 games for the Sabres with a 26-12-3 record. While his save percentage was sub-par at .893, he had a 2.85 goals against average and two shutouts.
Barrasso won the Vezina trophy that year as a rookie along with the Calder trophy as the league’s top rookie. He played parts of five more seasons with the Sabres before the traded him to Pittsburgh along with a third-round pick in 1990 for Doug Bodger and Darrin Shannon.
Over 19 seasons, Barrasso accumulated a 369-277-86 record in 777 regular season games. He finished his career with a .892 save percentage and 3.24 goals against average along with 38 shutouts.
Along with his Calder and Vezina trophies during his rookie season, Barrasso also collected the Jennings Trophy in 1984-85 – his second season in the NHL – as a 19-year-old. He was part of two Stanley Cup winning teams with the 1991 and 1992 Penguins and finished second in Vezina Trophy voting on three other occasions.
He also finished his career 21st on the NHL’s all-time games played list for goaltenders (777), 19th in wins (369), 1st all-time in goalie points with 48 assists and third all-time in goalie penalty minutes (437) behind Ron Hextall (584) and Billy Smith (490).
While he will always be remembered for his time with the Sabres and Penguins, Barrasso’s name will forever be attached to the Maple Leafs – even if it was only for four games.
All-Time Maple Leafs’ Goalie Ranks
Games Played: 4 GP (T76th)
Goals Against Average: 2.74 (27th)
Save Percentage: .909 (22nd)
Wins: 2 (71st)
Shutouts: 0 (T54th)
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Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.