Tom Barrasso was drafted as the fifth overall choice in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. At the time, Barrasso was the highest drafted goalie in history, and he didn’t disappoint. Immediately, the 18-year-old Barrasso made an impact for Buffalo, becoming the third player in history to win the Calder Trophy for the league’s top rookie and the Vezina Trophy for the league’s top goaltender in the same year.
By age 19, Barrasso was in the net for Team USA at the 1984 Canada Cup. He remained the national team’s goalie for the 1986 World Championships and the 1987 Canada Cup before returning to the squad in 2002, earning a silver medal in the Salt Lake City Olympics.
In 1988, Barrasso was sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins where he’d end up having his most productive seasons, leading the club to Stanley Cup wins in 1991 and ’92. Barrasso would miss most of the ’95-96 season and the ’96-97 season with injuries but managed to come back stronger each time, stopping a career-high 90 percent of the shots in goal in the ’95-96 season and an amazing 92 percent in the ’97-98 campaign.
Barrasso left the Penguins in 2000 and went on to play for four more teams: Ottawa, Carolina, Toronto, and St. Louis. In his illustrious career, Barrasso earned 369 victories, the second-most by an American-born netminder.
Off the ice, Barrasso founded the Ashley Barrasso Cancer Research Fund in the name of his daughter who is a survivor of neuroblastoma cancer.
In his last few seasons he played briefly for several teams until retiring from ice hockey in 2003. He signed a pro forma contract with Pittsburgh on the day he declared retirement so he could leave hockey as a Penguin.
He was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.