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Blackhawks Top 100- #7 Tony Esposito

By Josh Brink
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Chicago Blackhawks Goaltender Tony Esposito (Photo courtesy of blackhawks.nhl.com)

We’re counting the days until the Chicago Blackhawks 2014 Season kicks off. We’re doing a Top 100 list of all time Chicago Blackhawks. It’s a fun way to pass the time and take a stroll down Memory Lane as we head towards opening night on October 9th in Dallas; it’s only a week away! Ranked at #7 we take a look at the Hall of Fame goaltender, Tony Esposito.

Tony Esposito #35

Games – 873

Wins – 418

Losses – 302

T/O – 147

Goals Against Average – 2.93

Shutouts – 74

Playoffs

Games – 99

Wins – 45

Losses – 53

Goals Against Average – 3.07

Shutouts – 6

The Chicago Blackhawks could not have found much more of a better goalie during the 1969-70 intra-league draft when claiming Tony Esposito off of waivers from the Montreol Canadiens. Glenn Hall had left the team for St. Louis via the expansion draft a few years earlier in 1967 so Esposito had a big glove to fill. He did so in his very first season when he recorded the current Blackhawks and NHL record for shutouts with a total of 15 in his rookie campaign. This feat earned him the nickname Tony “O” due to his shutout performances. His career high 38 wins and 15 shutouts were good enough to earn him the Calder Trophy, Vezina Trophy, and 2nd in the voting for Hart Trophy.

Tony Esposito didn’t skip a beat the next several seasons either. He posted his career best Goals Against Average with 1.77 during the 1971-72 season which earned him his second Vezina Trophy. His third and final Vizina Trophy was awarded to him after the 1973-74 season recording a 2.04 Goals Against Average with 10 Shutouts. For seven straight seasons Esposito accumulated 30 or more wins for the Chicago Blackhawks. He made it to the Stanley Cup twice with the Chicago Blackhawks but couldn’t snag the cup from his former team the Montreol Canadiens both times.

Esposito’s numbers were fairly consistent on a declining Blackhawks team over the next decade but in 1985 Tony Esposito called it quits and retired from hockey. In 1988 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Chicago Blackhawks also raised his #35 jersey into the rafters for retirement.

Where do you rank Tony Esposito? Too low or too high for your rankings?

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