Topic: Tom Barrasso

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Thomas Patrick Barrasso (born March 31, 1965 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a retired American professional ice hockey goaltender who played 18 seasons for the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League, and the only goalie to ever play in the NHL directly from high school, without having played major junior or college hockey first. He is considered the best goaltender in Penguins franchise history due to the length of his career and his critical role in backstopping the team to successive Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992. He currently serves as the goaltending coach and director of goaltending development for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Tom Barrasso grew up in the town of Stow, Massachusetts, playing ice hockey on an outdoor rink. He started playing goalie when he was only 5 years old and by the time he was a teenager, playing in net for Acton-Boxborough high school 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, the highest goaltender to be selected in the NHL Entry Draft until 1997, when Roberto Luongo was taken 4th overall. Skipping a college career, he went straight from high school to the NHL where he exceeded all expectations. 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 Trophy and Vezina Trophy in his first season, becoming the third player to win both awards in the same year.

In 1988, the Sabres traded Barrasso to the Pittsburgh Penguins where he won two Stanley Cups, in 1991 and 1992. It was his outstanding play in these Cup runs that established him as a "money goalie", someone who could deliver wins when it counted the most. 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 whom he felt were disrespectful of him and his family.

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