Chicago Blackhawks’ Best At Each Sweater, Nos. 31-40

By Colin Likas
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chicago blackhawks
Oct 1, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks former goaltender Tony Esposito is greeted by fans as he walks the red carpet before the game against the Washington Capitals at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 35: G Tony Esposito (1970-84)

This one is pretty easy, as Esposito is the only man to ever wear 35 in Chicago. That would be because he was such a good player in the number that the Blackhawks retired it. He was actually the first goaltender in NHL history to ever wear the digits.

Opposite of the Hasek situation above, Esposito was given up on far too soon by Montreal. After his first half-season in the NHL saw him post a 5-4-4 record, Tony O was claimed off waives by the Blackhawks prior to the 1970-71 season.

What followed was one of the best careers for an NHL goaltender. Esposito started it by winning the Calder and Vezina trophies in his true rookie year, collecting 38 wins in 63 games. He would win the Vezina two more times, make the All-Star team six times and get elected to the Hall of Fame after his retirement.

Esposito was a pioneer of the butterfly goaltending style that is seen across the NHL today, when a goaltender drops to his knees and juts his legs outward to stop shots. He is also one of just eight right-handed catchers to win the Vezina, and his 423 career wins ranks eighth all time across the NHL and World Hockey Association.

Next: No. 36